Every psychiatry resident knows about APA’s annual meeting, the psychiatry extravaganza of the year. But in my experience, most residents don’t know about APA’s smaller, more intimate, and in my opinion, more interesting meeting, the Institute on Psychiatric Services (IPS). So, I am here to let residents in on APA’s “secret gem,” which this year has the theme “Integrating Science and Care in a New Era of Population Health” and will be held in San Francisco October 30 to November 2.
Two years ago, I had the opportunity to attend my first IPS, which was held in New York City, and I was sold. My experience was of a welcoming community of committed psychiatrists working in the public sector, in community organizations, and in academic settings, with a wide range of interests and focused on improving care for some of our most vulnerable and difficult-to-serve patients.
At that meeting, author, attorney, and mental health advocate Elyn Saks spoke movingly about her own experience of schizophrenia. I had the privilege to hear Richard Wilkinson, author of The Spirit Level, speak on the societal effects of income inequality. I attended my first meeting of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists (AACP) and met many really thoughtful, inspiring psychiatrists.
In addition, as part of the IPS, I was able to visit the well-known and historic Fountain House. I was introduced to the concept of recovery, which is not something I had learned about in my residency. I left the institute feeling full of excitement about both my own future career and about the future of the field of psychiatry.
The IPS strives to engage psychiatry residents. Residents are encouraged to submit proposals for workshops, symposia, and research posters. One of the most memorable presentations I went to at the 2013 IPS in Philadelphia was given by NYU resident Wil Berry on his experience of being on call at NYU and Bellevue during Hurricane Sandy.
As at APA’s annual meeting, there are workshops geared toward residents’ interests and a designated resident track of sessions. There are also ample socializing and networking opportunities.
The meeting itself has a real sense of community, and I have had the experience that senior psychiatrists want to mentor residents and those of us early in our careers. Several residents I know went to visit psychiatrist Mark Ragins, M.D., a pioneer in community-based recovery services, at the Village in Long Beach, Calif., as a result of meeting and being inspired by him at the IPS. All residents are invited to the AACP meeting held in conjunction with the IPS, which is a special opportunity for residents to meet leaders in the field of public and community psychiatry.
Ana Turner, a recent graduate of the University of Florida’s psychiatry residency program, attended the IPS the last two years and commented that “IPS is a much less intimidating meeting than the APA annual meeting; everyone is friendly and inviting, and the topics seem to be much more clinically focused than simply research-based. It’s definitely a great environment for networking!”
This year’s IPS will focus on changes in service delivery and everyday practice, the scientific advancements of our field, and how society itself has shaped our work. I have no doubt that it will continue in the tradition of being an engaging, inspiring, and progressive learning experience. I am very much looking forward to a presentation by APA President-elect Renȳe Binder, M.D., on violence and mental health as well as a focused session by Jill Williams, M.D., on smoking and mental illness. In addition, the keynote address will be presented by former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., author of a landmark 1999 report on mental health—the first ever by a surgeon general—that continues to guide policy and research today. I hope to see you in San Francisco this fall! ■