Definition: A special interest group (SIG) is a group of Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry members who have gathered around a shared interest in a particular clinical, scientific, or educational area as it relates to C-L psychiatry (e.g., international issues, HIV/AIDS, bioethics, children and adolescents, neuropsychiatry, psychotherapy).
Establishment: To launch a new SIG, at least 20 members of the Academy will be required to officially support the application by committing to attend the next annual meeting and to be ongoing active participants in the SIG. In rare circumstances, the Academy president may waive the requirement for 20 founding members when an under-represented vital group in the ACLP requests a new SIG. For all new SIGs, founding members will be required to acknowledge support of the formation of the SIG.
A SIG is proposed to the Governance Committee of the Academy, via the Executive Director, through a written request (please use the online SIG Request Form). The request includes the area of interest and title of the SIG, the reason for establishing the SIG, and the specific request from the Academy for resources (e.g., web page, listserv, meeting time at the annual meeting). The Governance Committee reviews the application and makes a recommendation to the Academy’s Executive Committee, which will vote to determine whether to formally establish the group. The full Academy Board of Directors, at its next regularly scheduled meeting, ratifies the establishment of this group.
Duration: Each SIG is set up with an open timeframe. A SIG may officially request to disband at any time and/or the Board of Directors may choose to disband a specific SIG, at the recommendation of the Governance Committee, if it is not meeting its responsibilities or because of inactivity.
Activities: Each SIG chooses its own Chair and rules of operation, as well as the agenda for its meetings and the content of its activities. All ACLP members are welcome to join individual SIGs or to attend their meetings. It is the intent that the majority of ongoing SIG members be Academy members while recognizing the value of welcoming interested non-members of the ACLP. The count of members/non-members will be included on an annual report to the Governance Committee, and it is hoped that non-member participants will decide to join the ACLP as either associate or full members.
The Academy facilitates the establishment of a listserv for the group, a webpage on the Academy website, and, within the limits of space availability, a meeting space during the Academy’s annual meeting.
Membership: Newly-created SIGs are now restricted to Academy members only.
Responsibilities: SIG chairs will submit annual reports and meet with the ACLP Secretary (or his/her designee) at the annual meeting. The Secretary will compile the reports and bring SIG updates and issues to the ACLP Board of Directors. The reports will include names of members in attendance at the annual meeting, a synopsis of the groups’ activities for the year, and an update of the SIG contact information to be posted on the Web. Any special requests for the upcoming year need to be submitted to the Governance Committee two months prior to the annual meeting; the Governance Committee will make recommendations to the Board of Directors, and the Board of Directors will have the authority to determine whether sufficient resources exist to approve the request. As an official component of the Academy, each SIG agrees to abide by appropriate rules of conduct and not to abuse the resources provided it by the Academy.
We held an online Zoom meeting on February 8, 2024, to discuss the SIGs and share ideas. We discussed the range of SIG activities and new policies for SIGs. Durga Roy, MD, offered some ideas about running a successful SIG. We also noted new policies for submitting clinical practice guidelines and related items. You can find the recording of this session here.
The ACLP has a policy on the creation of clinical practice guidelines and clinical consensus statements. These are documents that SIGs can prepare and represent a major contribution to the field. The Transplant Psychiatry SIG recently published a clinical practice guideline on the management of depression in transplant patients (Paula C. Zimbrean, M.D., Sarah R. Andrews, M.D., Filza Hussain, M.D., Marian Fireman, M.D., Kristin Kuntz, Ph.D., Shehzad K. Niazi, M.D., Scott A. Simpson, M.D., M.P.H., Thomas Soeprono, M.D., Gerald Scott Winder, M.D., M.Sc., Sheila G. Jowsey-Gregoire, M.D. ACLP Best Practice Guidance: Evaluation and Treatment of Depression in Solid Organ Transplant Recipients. Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Volume 64, Issue 4, July–August 2023, Pages 357-370. The creation of such documents must be coordinated with the Guidelines and Evidence-based Medicine Subcommittee of the Research and Evidence-based Practice Committee. There are also provisions in the policy for the preparation of nonclinical consensus statements. You can review this policy here.
The Neuropsychiatry SIG has published a paper about running an effective group that you may wish to review (Jennifer M. Erickson, Davin K. Quinn, Inder Kalra, Durga Roy. The Neuropsychiatry Special Interest Group: a Model for Organizing and Optimizing Member Engagement in a National Organization. Academic Psychiatry (2023) 47:700–701.
SIGs can create and maintain webpages. An advice document about creating such content is available here. In some cases, SIGs may prepare slide sets, how-to guides, or other documents containing clinical or scientific content. These documents represent publications with identified authors and date of publication. Such content must be peer reviewed. These documents should be limited to standard accepted medical practice and scientific consensus. Information about creating such content is also discussed in the advice document.