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Professional News
APA Program Works to Reduce MH Disparities
Psychiatric News
Volume 44 Number 22 page 10-10

OMNA on Tour, hosted by APA's Office of Minority and National Affairs (OMNA), is in its fourth year. This on-the-move, community-education program reaches out to diverse, underserved communities around the United States to help them wage a more effective war against mental illness—from stigma and lack of information to the languishing racial, ethnic, and economic disparities in its prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment.

To help eliminate such disparities, the tour facilitates multidisciplinary collaboration among a community's stakeholders with the goal that they will develop or enhance local action plans and implement them.

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At a reception preceding the OMNA on Tour—Seattle meeting, OMNA Director Annelle Primm, M.D., M.P.H., chats with (center) James Peacey, M.D., president of the Washington State Psychiatric Association, and William Womack, M.D., an associate professor emeritus at the University of Washington and a member of APA's Board of Trustees.

Credit: Alison Bondurant

Annelle Primm, M.D., M.P.H., director of OMNA and creator of the tour program, launched it in 2005; the first stop was Washington, D.C. (Psychiatric News, March 4, 2005). Since then, she and her staff have crisscrossed the country making stops in Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Seattle (see APA Seeks Ideas to Sever Mental Illness, Delinquency Link). The cosponsors of the Seattle tour were the Washington State Psychiatric Association (WSPA), a district branch of APA, and the King County Mental Health, Chemical Abuse, and Dependency Services. WSPA President James Peacey, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist and medical director of the Seattle Children's Home, opened the meeting.

The meeting's local planning committee was led by Charles Huffine, M.D., a Seattle child and adolescent psychiatrist who serves as medical director of the child and adolescent programs at the King County Mental Health, Chemical Abuse, and Dependency Division. He helped found Youth'N Action, a King County youth and family support and self-advocacy initiative funded in part by a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Other members of the planning committee, who along with Huffine also served as chairs of various panel discussions, were Ray Hsiao, M.D., who teaches psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine and is codirector of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Children's Hospital in Seattle; William Womack, M.D., an associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of WashingtonSchool of Medicine and a member of APA's Board of Trustees; and Sandra Walker, M.D., a Seattle-based psychiatrist and psychiatric consultant and chair of APA's Council on Minority Mental Health and Health Disparities.

"They have been an extremely active planning group, making this OMNA on Tour possible and customized to the specific needs of the community," Primm told Psychiatric News.

At the same time, the state psychiatric association, overall, is "doing a lot of outreach to the broader mental health community," said Marlis Korber, executive director of WSPA. "They are not just psychiatrists talking to other psychiatrists. They are talking to adjudicators, educators, social workers, and the like." blacksquare

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At a reception preceding the OMNA on Tour—Seattle meeting, OMNA Director Annelle Primm, M.D., M.P.H., chats with (center) James Peacey, M.D., president of the Washington State Psychiatric Association, and William Womack, M.D., an associate professor emeritus at the University of Washington and a member of APA's Board of Trustees.

Credit: Alison Bondurant

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