Leaders of the APA Asssembly's minority and underrepresented (MUR) caucuses
and allied organizations shared the history and work of their respective
groups during APA's 2009 annual meeting in San Francisco and expressed
concerns about their groups' future representation in and collaboration with
APA. The roundtable meeting was hosted by outgoing APA President Nada
Stotland, M.D., M.P.H.
Among the attendees at the meeting were Brian Benton, M.D., of the Caucus
of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Psychiatrists; Rahn
Bailey, M.D., and Stephen McLeod-Bryant, M.D., of the Caucus of Black
Psychiatrists; Gail Robinson, M.D., of the Caucus on Women; Mark Townsend,
M.D., of the Caucus on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues; and Paul Yeung,
M.D., of the Caucus of Asian-American Psychiatrists.
"[APA leaders] have to pay attention to why we need these other
organizations," said Stotland.
According to AMA data, women make up 34 percent of U.S. psychiatrists.
Blacks make up 3 percent of the specialty, Asians 13 percent, Native-Americans
0.1 percent, and Hispanics/Latinos 5 percent. The latest APA data available in
May showed that the membership was 13.6 percent Asian, 3.6 percent black, 5.2
percent Hispanic, and 0.3 percent American-Indian psychiatrists, according to
APA's Office of Minority and National Affairs. Women account for 35.2 percent
of APA members.
At the roundtable, most caucus representatives expressed concerns about the
sunsetting of the committees under the APA Council on Minority Mental Health
and Health Disparities at the end of the annual meeting and questioned whether
it would result in diminished representation of MUR psychiatrists and
priorities within APA.
Outgoing APA President Nada Stotland, M.D., hosts an annual meeting
discussion with psychiatrists representing APA's minority and underrepresented
group caucuses and allied organizations whose members are minority
psychiatrists. She emphasized that APA's commitment to including minorities in
policy discussions will not wane.
Credit: David Hathcox
Stotland pointed out that committees were appointed by APA presidents-elect
and did not always represent their constituency's interests. Caucus leaders,
however, can directly voice the concerns of the members they represent. Going
forward, identity caucuses should take a much larger role in governance than
before and focus on two types of activities, according to Stotland. The first
would be "to produce something ... to do tasks, which can be done without
having committees." With a defined goal, a group of task-force members,
and a deadline, things can be done more efficiently. The other function would
be "to think of things we need to do," to help APA identify
priorities for the benefit of each caucus's
Attending the roundtable were representatives from allied organizations,
including the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, Association of
Women Psychiatrists (AWP), Indo-American Psychiatric Association, Black
Psychiatrists of America, Association of Korean-American Psychiatrists,
American Society of Hispanic Psychiatrists, and Association of
Chinese-American Psychiatrists. Each group's representatives recounted the
rich history of their organization and the services provided to their members,
many of whom are also APA members but often feel their interests and issues
are not well represented by APA. All of the organizations work closely with
APA's MUR caucuses and committees to advance the interests of their members
and MUR psychiatrists in general.
"Having been part of the allied organization has focused me on
Hispanic issues," said Theresa Miskimen, M.D., who represented the
American Society of Hispanic Psychiatrists. In 1986, the society was formed
because a group of Hispanic psychiatrists felt that "APA was big ... [It]
did not, and could not, address the issues of all the specific
Many allied organizations have a robust international membership, which
brings together minority psychiatrists in the United States and practicing
psychiatrists around the globe.
At the roundtable all representatives reiterated their organizations' plan
to continue to collaborate with APA on matters ranging from advocacy for
underrepresented populations to recruiting and retaining members. Some voiced
frustration in recruiting young practitioners to join their organizations as
well as APA.
"We [women psychiatrists] need as much representation as
possible," said Tana Grady-Welicky, M.D., president of the AWP, which
has a long tradition of working with APA caucuses and committees and strives
to "enhance and promote women psychiatrists' leadership skills,"
Despite financial challenges, APA will continue to support the staff and
services devoted to MUR groups and issues, Stotland assured the participants.
She emphasized that many of APA's priorities, such as parity, equitable
Medicare reimbursement, and psychologist-prescribing legislation, are in line
with the needs and concerns of MUR psychiatrists.