Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie came to the meeting of the APA Assembly in Honolulu last month to give the assembled delegates
a talk that was upbeat at times, but also acknowledged some unpleasant realities he is facing.
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs a proclamation declaring May "American Psychiatric Association Month," as one of his constituents,
former Assembly Speaker Jeffrey Akaka, M.D., looks on.
A dynamic speaker, Abercrombie spent much of his presentation discussing diversity, noting that he governs the most diverse
state in the nation and emphasizing that "our diversity defines rather than divides us."
"We need to see things holistically," he said, "as we are part of the spectrum of life. We are stewards of the Earth, and
we live on islands, so we have to get along and cooperate. We have found ways to do so."
He went on to encourage psychiatrists to embrace their status as "a special interest" rather than assume that special interests
must be selfish forces in the public discourse. Special interests can, as psychiatry has shown on several issues, change things
for the better in this country. Publicly supported health care for all is a goal for which special interests should fight.
"It's a sin that we don't have public health care," he stated. "We need to have more of a public conscience."
He expressed his frustration, however, at how harsh economic realities in Hawaii are forcing him to consider reining in instead
of expanding Medicaid benefits in the state.
He concluded by surprising his friend, Honolulu psychiatrist and former Assembly Speaker Jeffrey Akaka, M.D., with a proclamation
declaring May "American Psychiatric Association Month" in Hawaii.
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