‘We will make any practical changes we need to’
ACLP president Michael Sharpe, MD, FACLP, and president-elect Maria Tiamson-Kassab, MD, FACLP, have set up a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force to consider how the Academy can ensure the diversity of, and equity and inclusion for, all ACLP members.
Kewchang Lee, MD, FACLP, director of psychiatry consultation at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and program director of the UCSF C-L Psychiatry Fellowship, has been appointed by the ACLP Board to lead the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force.
It will “ensure we make any practical changes we need to,” says ACLP president Michael Sharpe, MD, FACLP. “Whilst the APA [American Psychiatric Association] has established its own, very wide-ranging task force that we will learn from and link with, ours will focus on those issues that are specific to our Academy.”
The ACLP task force aims to report within six months. Its brief is to identify areas for improvement and make a recommendation to the ACLP Board regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion in:
“The approach will be positive and will seek to enhance the Academy,” says Dr. Sharpe. “The task force will be mindful that all ACLP members, whatever their personal characteristics, are ‘customers’ of the organization who need to feel valued and treated fairly. We will recognize ACLP’s existing achievements in this area.”
ACLP News asked Dr. Lee:
What is the ACLP task force aiming to achieve?
“Recent events have emphasized that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) must be a core value and a priority goal in all aspects of health care, including C-L Psychiatry. To this end, our hope is that the task force will enhance DEI within our organization.”
How will you sensitively identify any diversity, equity or inclusion shortfalls in the potential areas for improvement you are considering?
“We have a diverse task force membership with the expertise to address these areas. I also plan to ask all committee and subcommittee chairs to discuss DEI issues with their members and report back to our task force about their thoughts and concerns.”
The APA says its own history has been ‘scarred with structural racism.’ Is there evidence suggesting racism in today’s C-L Psychiatry profession?
“There are little to no data about racism within C-L Psychiatry. Clearly, more research is needed regarding this issue.”
The ACLP task force appointees include Mary Jo Fitz-Gerald, MD, FACLP, who is a member of the APA task force on this issue. Further appointees to the ACLP task force are: Kenneth Ashley, MD, FACLP; Kristin Beizai, MD, FACLP; Mark Bradley, MD, FACLP; Brian Bronson, MD, FACLP; Andrew Halls, MD, C-L Psychiatry Fellow; Leena Mittal, MD, FACLP; Cristina Montalvo, MD, FACLP; Sejal Shal, MD, FACLP; and Raymond Young, MD, FACLP.