ACLP Board Message

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President’s Message from ACLP president, Maryland Pao, MD, FACLP


Maryland Pao, MD, FACLP
Maryland Pao, MD, FACLP

A Potpourri of Challenges and Activities

As ACLP president, my two main responsibilities are to plan the annual meeting and to lead Board business. In conducting these activities, I have observed the inherent tensions that exist between how much to use our limited time as a Board to focus on activities to advance our field broadly, and how much to use our efforts to take care of ourselves as individual practitioners of C-L Psychiatry.

The annual meeting has, I believe, always served as: 1) a source from which we draw our strength as professional caregivers, 2) a gathering place to feel validated, and 3) an arena where cutting-edge practice and research in the field are presented. A significant part of my attention has been focused on how to strengthen the diversity, equity, and inclusion of science and practice from the populations we care for and study, to how we might ourselves apply these principles in the construction of our own presentations through our choice of topics and presenters. I tried to model this practice starting with a broad selection of plenary speakers for the annual meeting.

Outside of meeting planning, the Board has wrestled mightily with thorny issues around how to be inclusive and an ally to all our members in a difficult political climate. Just as we work as consultants having to navigate the patient, the family, the consultee, and the systems we live in to find workable solutions, as leaders we also must balance how to be transparent about all the factors that may not be apparent that go into our decision-making, being both deliberative after listening and being decisive in a timely way. It’s a challenging needle for us to thread. We know we are not always going to get it right on the first pass, but we are always open to feedback from our members on how to do better.

Other important Board activities include continued strategic planning and action on:

These additions and improvements mean that we will be raising membership dues slightly in FY 2024. Additionally, in an effort to be greener and create less waste in your offices and homes, we have given up our paper newsletters this past year and have gone completely electronic.

I had the privilege of completing my term in May on the C-L Council of the APA in San Francisco, California, that is chaired by Maria Tiamson-Kassab, MD, FACLP. Many of the Academy’s members witnessed ACLP past president Rebecca Weintraub Brendel, MD, JD, FACLP, complete her stellar stint as APA president and turn over the gavel to Petros Levounis, MD, MA, in Addiction medicine, and Ramaswamy Viswanathan, MD, FACLP, long-time Academy member, as president-elect. Other ACLP members elected to APA positions include Kamalika Roy, MD, who will serve as Minority/Underrepresented Representative and Kenneth Ashley, MD, FACLP, who will be Area 2 Trustee. Congratulations!

In June, I attended the European Association of Psychosomatic Medicine (EAPM) where past ACLP president Michael Sharpe, MD, FACLP, is now president. EAPM is one of several international organizations working to fix the problem of the missing psychiatric and psychological parts of medical care through research, education, and advocacy. Hochang Benjamin Lee, MD, FACLP, president of the International College of Psychosomatic Medicine; Rebecca Weintraub Brendel, MD, JD, FACLP, immediate past president of the APA; Prof. Winfried Rief, MD, past president of the European Association of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Treatment; Prof. Joost Dekker, PhD, past president of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine; and I were on a panel hosted by Prof. Meike Shedden-Mora, MD, leader of the EAPM task force on external relations.

We hope to establish a global alliance of these organizations and others around the world on how we can best work both individually and together to better address the psychological aspects of medical care for patients. Stay tuned!

For the first time, C-L Psychiatry Fellowship candidates have the ability to submit applications via the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). At this point, most programs are allowing applicants to use either ERAS or the Common Application. Fellowship directors started using ERAS in July, and the launch was successful.

Behind the scenes, we have continued to experience transitions with the change in ACLP’s association management from PAI Management Corporation to Kellen Company. Very fortunately, our fabulous executive director, James Vrac, remains at the helm in his position with ACLP and has helped to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Lastly, we are making a final push for ACLP members to please join the American Medical Association. ACLP is eligible to apply for formal representation in the AMA’s House of Delegates this year, but to do so, ACLP must demonstrate 20% membership in the AMA this month. This would be an important step to elevating our subspecialty in terms of recognition, positioning us for advocacy, and allowing us to be a part of the AMA decision-making body. Joining AMA allows access to the JAMA family of journals, including JAMA Psychiatry, and other educational resources. AMA membership is representation and advocacy in the ‘House of Medicine’ and beyond. If you are not already a member, please help ACLP obtain an AMA House of Delegates seat at the table by joining AMA now.

As this year is zooming by (pun intended), I am most struck by how thoughtfully engaged and active our members are throughout the year. I want to thank the ACLP Annual Meeting Committee which has done a wonderful job of creating a spectacular across the lifespan program for you with an interactive research colloquium for all levels of participation in November, and I want to thank all of you tireless members who work so hard to keep this organization thriving.

Enjoy your summer!

Respectfully yours,

Maryland Pao, MD, FACLP
President, ACLP


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