Association News
Board Holds Dues Steady, Keeps Paper-Ballot Option
Psychiatric News
Volume 46 Number 16 page 11-11

Addressing several fiscal issues at its July meeting in Arlington, Va., the APA Board of Trustees voted to maintain the current level of member dues for 2012. (There has only been one increase in national membership dues over the last 15 years.) The Board voted as well to increase by $500 the dues amount for members who elect to use the one-time lump-sum payment option in 2012. Finally, those who renew their APA membership for next year will be entitled to a one-time 50 percent discount on the purchase of a book published by American Psychiatric Publishing, with the maximum discount set at $50. The offers expires on December 12.

Also on the membership front, Joseph Rubin, M.D., chair of the Membership Committee, said the committee is focusing on increasing the number of international members of APA and is planning several initiatives to accomplish that, including creating an ambassadors program for existing members who travel to international meetings, contacting groups that represent international medical graduates to see if their members want to engage in outreach to psychiatrists in their homelands, and advertising in international psychiatric publications.

In other actions, the Board voted to

  • inform the Board of Directors of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology of concern among APA members about the maintenance-of-certification process and requirements.

  • reject, as it has in the past, a proposal to add Las Vegas to the roster of cities in which APA holds its annual meeting. Among the reasons stated was that the city's large hotels would block out rooms for APA only on weekdays, which would necessitate a major shift in the meeting's schedule. The Las Vegas hotels reserve large blocks of rooms for customers who gamble on weekends. Some Board members also objected to the message that would be conveyed to the public if the nation's psychiatrists met in the nation's largest gambling mecca.

  • create a Caucus on Spirituality, Religion, and Psychiatry, which will be under the Council on Minority Mental Health and Health Disparities.

  • reaffirm APA's position statement on homosexuality and to send a letter to the Ugandan government explaining who APA represents, referencing its position statement. Adopted originally in 1992, the statement says: "Whereas homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) calls on all international health organizations, psychiatric organizations, and individual psychiatrists in other countries to urge the repeal in their own countries of legislation that penalizes homosexual acts by consenting adults in private. Further, APA calls on these organizations and individuals to do all that is possible to decrease the stigma related to homosexuality wherever and whenever it may occur."

  • The action was taken in response to legislation in Uganda to criminalize homosexuality and to mandate the death penalty for HIV-positive gay people who engage in same-sex relations.

  • approve a position statement opposing proposed legislation to allow guns on college and university campuses. Such legislation is on the dockets in about a dozen states. The statement reads: "The American Psychiatric Association views the prohibition of guns on campus as a major health initiative that is necessary to ensure the welfare and well-being of students at institutions of higher education and opposes legislation that would increase the risk to these students by allowing guns to be carried on campus."

  • ask the APA Elections Committee to simplify the election guidelines by considering the removal of restrictions on candidate publications, presentations, and campaign communications. Much discussion centered on whether the rapid spread of social media such as Facebook might affect—€”and complicate—€”how candidates and their supporters communicate with APA members about election issues. The committee is to look into whether rules regarding social media are needed to "ensure a level playing field."

  • retain the system used in the most recent election in which members for whom APA does not have a valid e-mail address will continue to receive a paper ballot automatically. This rescinds a previous vote that would have made APA's elections all electronic, thus ending the practice of mailing paper ballots to some or all members.

  • endorse a eating-disorders treatment brochure produced by the Academy of Eating Disorders. The brochure notes that "eating disorders are serious mental illness with significant, life-threatening psychiatric morbidity and mortality" and emphasizes the importance of "early intervention and timely recognition." It also discusses signs and symptoms, treatment goals, and management of eating disorders. More information is posted on the academy's Web site at <www.aedweb.org>.11/inline-graphic-1.gif

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