Why vote for me?
(Any APA member nationwide can vote for this office)
Though the APA needs to champion good care for our patients, we need to also pay serious attention to the professional practice needs of psychiatrists
• I will use my media experience to build more collaborations between the APA and the media – to educate the public about who psychiatrists are, what we do, and how we differ from other mental-health practitioners who are not physicians
As a psychiatrist who is highly experienced with the mainstream media (formerly host of a radio talkshow about psychiatry that broadcast to 43 million listeners) and social media, I want to cultivate working relationships between the APA and media for educating the public about what is special about psychiatrists, our education, and our experience. This kind of public education can help to establish more appropriate and collaborative roles between mid-level practitioners and psychiatrists. I also want to bring to the Board my prior efforts in the Assembly opposing prescription privileges for psychologists.
• I will challenge MOC as a method for ensuring competence
As a board certified psychiatrist, I see how Maintenance of Certification (MOC) has been challenged both within the APA and other medical organizations as profoundly burdensome, yet without evidence that it improves patient care or lifelong learning. I am committed to continuing to challenge MOC as a method for ensuring competence, and to develop appropriate effective alternatives, through the forum of the APA leadership.
• I will draw on my experience as an ethicist for the moral compass of the APA on several issues
As a medical ethicist and clinician, I want to bring to the Board my skills focusing on the core ethos of psychiatry and deep interest in what it means to be a psychiatrist. On the Board, I can help the APA to be a grounding force in these times of highly variable social changes that are sweeping psychiatry in turbulent currents. I can participate in defining the APA’s core values and use its members’ expertise to inform national policies on social issues affecting mental health, like climate change, gun violence, racial and gender discrimination, handling of immigrants and refugees, and assisted suicide. I want to join the leadership in tending the moral compasses that guide the APA as it works to discern those core values that we wish to “profess” as a profession.
• I will advocate for insurance and employers to allow more time and finances to enable psychiatrists to provide psychotherapy when needed
As a psychiatrist who uses psychotherapy in treating patients, I will work for the APA to champion more financial resources and time for psychiatrists who wish to deploy psychotherapies along with pharmacotherapies, in order to provide state-of-the-art psychiatry for our patients. I am aware that many psychiatrists are constrained in their clinical situations from practicing in this comprehensive way.
The Background I Bring to The APA Board
I have had the pleasures and challenges of serving the APA in several ways over the last decade, and I am now seeking a new chapter of service for the organization as a candidate for Trustee-at-Large.
• I have served two consecutive terms on the APA Ethics Committee, and I am now in my 5th year of representing the Southern Psychiatric Association to the APA Assembly.
• I have worked very hard in these roles on several ethical issues, such as concerns that some countries are providing suicide, not preventing it, for certain psychiatric patients, through voluntary euthanasia. I was instrumental in crafting and passing the current APA position against providing assisted-suicide or euthanasia to non-terminal patients, which is now happening in places like Belgium and the Netherlands, where some psychiatric patients are being voluntarily euthanized. Read about the APA position statement I helped develop and pass in the Assembly here.
• In the Assembly, I have also vigorously engaged concerns about mid-level practitioners' scope-of-practice and prescription privileges for psychologists.
• I have lectured most years at the annual meeting and at numerous annual CME meetings of APA District Branches and departments of psychiatry throughout the country. I typically teach and speak on issues of Ethics. So I am widely known in many DB’s, and I have heard from many members about ways that the APA could better deploy its potential for our profession and patients.
• The APA has twice awarded my writing on ethics with the Carol Davis Ethics Award.
• I am an ambassador for the APA Foundation. I also serve on the board of its sister organization, the Maryland Foundation of Psychiatry, for which I write and perform 1-minute educational public service announcements regarding psychiatry that broadcast via radio to over 200,000 listeners. Listen to them here.
• I am very active in the media and have had my own radio talkshow about psychiatry that broadcast to over 40 million listeners nationwide in the 1990’s. I continue to appear frequently on radio, TV, and podcasts throughout the U.S., often in talk-show formats. From this experience, I have heard from hundreds of listeners and callers around the country about what they want from our profession. My special interest in helping families convince a loved-one to get psychiatric evaluation and treatment emerged from this talkshow experience, and ultimately resulted in my book-- You Need Help: A Step By Step Plan to Convince A Loved-One to Get Counseling (Hazelden, 2012). See more about the book here.
• I travel nationally to speak and educate state branches of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). I speak at their national conference almost every year, providing their open “Ask the Doctor” forum. I have had extensive interactions with families and patients nationwide, giving me a very broad perspective of what patients and their families want from our profession. For these efforts they awarded me their “Exemplary Psychiatrist” award, and named me “Mental Health Professional of the Year.” For similar work, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), they placed me in their ‘Target Zero-to-Thrive Hall of Fame.” Find videos and audios of my public lectures here.
• I have advised on several Hollywood films (e.g. “Silent Fall”), working with actors and directors to shape more ethical portrayals of psychiatrists in movies.
• I am a robust participant in the Psychiatry Network, a Facebook group of 10,000 psychiatrists, with whom there have been lively discussions regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the APA. Through this forum I am deeply acquainted with the many reasons why psychiatrists are reluctant to join the APA, and the specific reasons that discourage them.
• I have teaching appointments on the faculties of Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, and Tulane. I also chaired the Ethics Committee and Ethics Consultation Service at Sheppard Pratt for several decades. In these roles I have encountered wide ranging ethical issues in our field.
• I was elected to the American College of Psychiatry and serve on their Ethics Committee developing the ethics procedures for the College and ethics programing for their conferences.
* I supervise residents in psychotherapy at Sheppard Pratt, where I have acquired a strong sense of the directions early career psychiatrists want to see our profession develop.
• I provide psychotherapy as well as medical psychiatric evaluation and treatment. This practice gives me perspective on the importance of insurance companies and employers providing support for psychotherapy as part of comprehensive treatment by psychiatrists.