From Maryland Pao, MD, FACLP
I often hear early- and mid-career C-L psychiatrists ask how they can be more involved in ACLP. For me, it started with joining a SIG. I attended my first meeting in 1994 when John Hayes, MD, FACLP, was president. It was then, as it is today, an energizing meeting of like-minded colleagues who felt understood when they congregated in a convivial, always warm, setting.
However, I was a newly-minted child psychiatrist running a pediatric C-L Psychiatry service and, to be very honest, I did not see a lot of folks there who did what I did. It was my mother-in-law, Jimmie Holland, MD, FACLP, (president, 1996-97) who, in her prescient and persistent way, insisted that I continue to attend the annual meeting because she believed pediatric C-L Psychiatry was an important underserved area, particularly in her field of psycho-oncology.
For a few years, I attended the annual meeting but sat on the periphery and observed, too timid to get involved. Along the way, I was fortunate enough to meet Susan Turkel, MD, FACLP, an experienced pediatric C-L Psychiatry chief from Los Angeles; I was less experienced and from the East Coast (diversity comes in many forms). Together, as co-chairs, we launched the Committee on Child and Adolescent Psychosomatic Medicine in 2005 with just 10 members.
We basically mapped out a strategic plan on how to 1) grow our little committee and 2) get our adult C-L Psychiatry colleagues thinking across the lifespan. We were colleagues who became friends who mentored and sponsored each another and others on presentations and papers, even at outside meetings. In our group, we also shared work-life fit strategies and professional development tips we had or learned from other ACLP members.
Today, recast as a SIG, due to significant ACLP organization and membership growth, the Pediatric C-L Psychiatry SIG is 406 members strong, and pediatric C-L Psychiatry usually has an annual meeting track and is an included topic in the preconference Updates and Essentials courses!
More importantly, while it starts with a SIG, one’s meeting circle starts to expand—and, suddenly, we’re hanging out with a lot of people who understand the frenetic life of a C-L psychiatrist. The Pediatric C-L Psychiatry SIG is currently under the capable direction of co-chairs, Laura Markley, MD, FACLP, and Julienne Jacobson, MD, and collaborates freely with its sister organization, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, extending pediatric C-L Psychiatry’s reach nationally and globally.
Another of my career trajectory altering experiences occurred at ACLP when Constantine Lyketsos, MD, FACLP, (president, 2007-08) unexpectedly asked me to be the scientific program chair of APM in 2007. That was both daunting and thrilling, and pushed me way out of my comfort zone. It also cemented my decades-long commitment to the Academy and led me to my role as your president today. I am so pleased to see that many colleagues are thinking more developmentally and considering integrated presentations across the lifespan more routinely, including through the Journal of the ACLP.
Since the establishment of the ABPN certification, ACLP’s growth has been tremendous. At the heart of that growth remains the desire to provide the best care for patients and to be the ‘home’ for all C-L Psychiatry activities in education, training/mentoring, evidence, research, and advocacy. We are working hard to hold onto the intimate and invigorating energy the ACLP annual meeting provides.
Now we have technology that allows us to extend our ability to share and learn from one another throughout the year, but as we learned all too well in these past three years, it’s not the same as being together in person.
Through the years, I have learned so much from so many colleagues, trainees, and staff who I now count as friends at the ACLP annual meeting. So, take a chance. Join us in Austin for CLP 2023. Remember, it all started with joining a SIG.
Welcome to our special SIGs and Committees bi-annual edition of ACLP News.