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Professional News
Lazarus, Kraus Elected to Key AMA Positions
Psychiatric News
Volume 43 Number 14 page 1-4

For the second year in a row, psychiatry has gained an important seat on one of the AMA's influential policy-making councils.FIG2

Child and adolescent psychiatrist Louis Kraus, M.D., won election by a wide margin to the AMA's Council on Science and Public Health (CSPH). Kraus, a member of the Section Council on Psychiatry representing the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, is chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

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Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., was reelected speaker of the AMA House of Delegates. 

Credit: Mark Moran

In addition, psychiatrist Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., was reelected speaker of the House of Delegates in an uncontested election. In that role, he presides over the meetings of the house.

The CSPH provides information and recommendations on medical, scientific, and public-health issues. For instance, at this year's meeting the CSPH issued reports on substance use and substance use disorders, portable listening devices and noise-induced hearing loss, in-school care for children with diabetes, the health effects of high-fructose syrup, and the clinical utility of measuring body mass index and waist circumference in the management of adult obesity.

In an upcoming house meeting, the CSPH has promised to produce a report on the use of Tasers by law-enforcement officials and others and the potential risks associated with these devices, especially when used on people with mental illness (see Psychiatry-Related Issues Prominent on AMA Agenda).

Election to one of the AMA's councils—of which there are only seven, with 11 or 12 members each, chosen from a House of Delegates comprising some 550 physicians—requires the candidate to run a gauntlet of interviews with state and specialty delegations and caucuses and depends on a network of support throughout those delegations.

John McIntyre, M.D., chair of the Section Council on Psychiatry, noted that candidates typically have to run more than once before they have enough name recognition; Kraus won in his first effort. "This is a major victory for psychiatry and child psychiatry," he said.

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Child psychiatrist Louis Kraus, M.D. (second from left), was elected last month to the AMA's Council on Science and Public Health. From left are Saul Levin, M.D., who helped lead Kraus's election campaign; Kraus; David Fassler, M.D., vice chair of the Section Council on Psychiatry; Nada Stotland, M.D., president of APA; and psychiatrist Shastri Swaminathan, M.D., president of the Illinois State Medical Society. In addition to Kraus's election, psychiatrist Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., was reelected as speaker of the House of Delegates in an uncontested election. Not pictured is section council member Jeffrey Akaka, M.D., who also helped with Kraus's campaign. 

Credit: Mark Moran

McIntyre and other APA leaders active in the AMA say Kraus' election is evidence of psychiatry's growing influence within mainstream organized medicine. In addition to Kraus, there is now at least one psychiatrist serving on six of the AMA's seven governing councils. They are McIntyre, who serves on the Council on Medical Service; Stuart Gitlow, M.D., Council on Science and Public Health; Carolyn Robinowitz, M.D., Council on Science and Public Health (of which she became chair this year); Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., Council on Constitution and Bylaws; Patrice Harris, M.D., Council on Legislation; Saul Levin, M.D., Council on Long-Range Planning and Development; and Dudley Stewart Jr., M.D., Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.

In an interview with Psychiatric News, Kraus expressed his thanks to the entire psychiatric delegation for a "team effort" in his election. "What is most important is that we are getting to express a voice for psychiatry and child psychiatry and for our patients," he told Psychiatric News. "To add an understanding of child and adolescent health and mental health is going to be a core component of my work on the council."

APA President Nada Stotland, M.D., an alternate delegate to the Section Council on Psychiatry, acknowledged the extraordinarily competitive nature of AMA House of Delegates elections and the prominent role the AMA plays in national politics.

"APA members have many different feelings about the AMA and its policies," she said. "The fact remains that the AMA represents the voice of medicine to Congress, the administration, and government bureaucracies. So the steadily increasing representation of psychiatrists in AMA leadership positions is important. The AMA has only seven councils, and elected places on those councils are coveted and highly competitive. Dr. Kraus's election demonstrates the trust the members of the AMA House of Delegates place in him and their recognition of the importance of psychiatry in deliberations about science and public health. We look forward to hearing from Dr. Kraus about the issues and discussions within the council and to bringing him APA issues and perspectives for inclusion in those discussions."

David Fassler, M.D., vice chair of the Section Council on Psychiatry, said," Louis's election to the AMA Council on Science and Public Health is a real accomplishment. It underscores the growing influence of and respect for psychiatry within the House of Delegates. As a member of the council, he will be able to influence AMA reports and policies that are directly relevant to our members and their patients." ▪

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., was reelected speaker of the AMA House of Delegates. 

Credit: Mark Moran

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Child psychiatrist Louis Kraus, M.D. (second from left), was elected last month to the AMA's Council on Science and Public Health. From left are Saul Levin, M.D., who helped lead Kraus's election campaign; Kraus; David Fassler, M.D., vice chair of the Section Council on Psychiatry; Nada Stotland, M.D., president of APA; and psychiatrist Shastri Swaminathan, M.D., president of the Illinois State Medical Society. In addition to Kraus's election, psychiatrist Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., was reelected as speaker of the House of Delegates in an uncontested election. Not pictured is section council member Jeffrey Akaka, M.D., who also helped with Kraus's campaign. 

Credit: Mark Moran

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