Jun 19, 2019
Update on the American Psychiatric Association – Part
By Jacqueline Posada, MD, 4th-year resident in the department of
psychiatry & behavioral sciences at George Washington
Norris, MD, interview with
Saul Levin, MD, MPA, CEO and medical director of the American
Psychiatric Association (APA). Dr. Levin also is clinical professor
at George Washington University.
In 2019, the American Psychiatric Association celebrated its
- The APA was the first medical association formed in the United
- The 2019 APA annual meeting in San Francisco attracted 13,000
psychiatrists and mental health professionals, and hosted 650
sessions covering all topics in psychiatry, including subjects
related to private, community, and academic psychiatry.
- Highlights of the 2019 meeting included:
- A Gala at San Francisco City Hall, which allowed generations of
psychiatrists to celebrate the progress of the APA.
- Sessions at the meeting, which focused on the latest basic,
clinical, service, and psychopharmacology research.
- Additional sessions focused on minority and underrepresented
populations, both within APA membership and patient
- Major networking opportunities at the APA were available,
allowing peers and experts in the field to create lifelong
- A burgeoning networking opportunity is the
Psychiatry Innovation Lab, which is “an incubator at the
American Psychiatric Association that aims to catalyze the
formation of innovative ventures to transform mental health
The APA’s role in advocacy:
The organization is not just a guild that seeks to support
- Part of the APA’s mission is to advocate for patients with
mental health illness with a focus on improving treatment and
- For members, the APA sponsors a National Advocacy Day on
Capitol Hill and state advocacy days, in which the APA helps fund
people to come talk to their elected representatives.
Major areas of advocacy by the APA as a medical association are
health parity: Advocating for equal pay to psychiatrists for
treating mental health diagnoses as well as the provision of equal
coverage of psychiatric diagnoses by insurance companies.
- Augmentation of the workforce: Supporting measures aimed at
making sure that there are enough psychiatrists to treat patients
with mental illness in the United States.
Examples of advocacy initiatives by the APA are numerous. The
group is active in the following areas:
The APA recommends several research initiatives.
- “Moonshots” should be a goal in in psychiatry, much like those
taken with illnesses such as HIV and breast cancer.
- Stigma must be reduced, and money must be appropriated to
mental illness research in the same way it is for other medical
APA Innovation Lab
Mental health parity advocacy
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