The Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association (OPPA) is seeking an Early Career Psychiatrist (ECP) for a new Early Career Deputy Representative for Area 7 (the western states except California) of the American Psychiatric Association. An ECP is any psychiatrist within 7 years of leaving residency or fellowship. The OPPA Executive Committee hopes that an Oregon psychiatrist will be appointed to this position. The position is a 2 year term as Area 7 ECP DEPUTY REPRESENTATIVE followed by a 2 year term as Area 7 ECP REPRESENTATIVE.
Duties include attendance at four Area 7 meetings every year, with travel paid by the APA. The term will start after the APA annual meeting this May in Atlanta. In addition to the Area 7 meeting at the APA annual meeting (noon Friday-noon Sunday), there are 3 other quarterly meetings (August and February at a rotating location in a western Area 7 state and late October meeting in Washington DC). As a member of Oregon’s Area 7 delegation you would also be a voting member of the OPPA Executive Committee. Area Reps have many unique opportunities, such as serving on APA Assembly committees and writing position papers.
At this time in your early career as a psychiatrist, participation in APA Area 7 governance activities offers special opportunities to network with other psychiatrists from the region and country to discuss the evolving and ever changing role of psychiatry and the psychiatrist in American medicine and in public policy, representing the views of your colleagues who are also early in their careers.
If you are interested in being considered for this position please forward a brief statement of interest and your curriculum vitae to Annette Mathews MD at Annette.Mathews@va.gov no later than February 22, 2016. Questions should also be forwarded to Annette.
We hope that you seriously consider this unique opportunity,
Your OPPA Executive Committee
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APA Responds to Kenneth Cole Billboard
Mental health organizations and advocates joined together in September to ask fashion design Kenneth Cole to replace a billboard that stigmatized people with mental illness. As part of a #givestigmatheboot social media campaign, APA delivered a letter cosigned by 22 other groups that urged Cole to take down his billboard immediately. You can see the billboard in question, and read the letter here.
Dr. Adeyinka Akinsulure-Smith to Deliver Keynote Speech at IPS: The Mental Health Services Conference
Adeyinka Akinsulure-Smith, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at City College of the City University of New York (CUNY) and at the Graduate Center, CUNY, will deliver the keynote address at IPS: The Mental Health Services Conference on Oct. 8. Dr. Akinsulure-Smith’s speech will focus on the impact that the trauma of war and forced migration can have on the mental health of children and their families. You can read APA President Renee Binder’s blog post announcing her as keynote speaker here.
APA Sends Letter to DOJ Voicing Concerns on Insurance Mergers
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by Dan Bristow, MD
I drove to Roseburg on the Friday night following the tragic shootings. The morning was filled with media requests for someone from OPPA to provide perspective on another senseless mass shooting. Thankfully, the television and radio reporters I spoke with all agreed with taking a healing approach to support the community in the wake of the tragedy, rather than a speculative or inflammatory focus. As I drove down I-5 from Portland, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was important to be there, but I didn’t know how I was going to help. I soon found out that simply being there, meeting people, sharing stories, and finding out how to go forward was the most valuable contribution.
I arrived at Umpqua Community College (UCC) around 9:30 Friday night. The active crime scene was secured, thanks in part to Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) workers. There were a dozen media trucks and vans (both local and national) parked along the road. I parked among them and walked along the sidewalk, chatting with media folks and ODOT workers. The scene was mostly quiet, with cameras and reporters springing to action only at the “top of the hour” when the national news would pick up the satellite feed for the reporters to report on what was known. After the cameras were turned off, the scene was calm again. It was an eye opening experience for me. The real story wasn’t happening in front of the cameras. It was happening behind them.
The real story wasn’t about the shooter’s motives. It was about the carload of Roseburg citizens who drove up and handed ODOT workers trays of cups of coffee, thanking them for their service. The real story wasn’t about gun control. It was about the ODOT workers insisting that I have a cup, despite me trying to be there to support them. The story on camera at the top of the hour wasn’t the real story.
I walked to the nearby state police office and found two officers closing up for the night. A family with kids in tow was there, delivering boxed meals to the officers. I shook the officers’ hands and thanked them. I couldn’t image what they must have dealt with that day, yet they wanted to make sure that I had a place to spend the night. That family and those officers showed me more of the real story. The real story is that Roseburg is a strong community that automatically sprang into action supporting friends, family, and fellow citizens in a time where there was no good explanation for the tragedy that occurred. I could tell that is how the people there live—as a real community.
The following day I met many other impressive citizens who further proved Roseburg’s strength: the young women working at the coffee shop who were planning to donate their tips to the families of those who lost their lives at UCC, the store clerk who waited in line over six hours at the Red Cross to donate blood, the music store employees who invited folks into their store and witnessed a spontaneous jam session take place between strangers who just needed some music therapy. These people were living the real story.
But the real story also has a negative side—little access to long-term psychiatric care in Oregon (especially rural Oregon). What happens when the camera crews and disaster relief teams leave Roseburg? The disaster response was great with multiple counselors and support staff from the Red Cross and United States Public Health Service traveling to Roseburg from all over the country. When I visited the community mental health clinics to thank the workers, they had the situation well under control. But as I talked with mental health professionals in Roseburg, I soon became frustrated by the lack of access to psychiatric care that many of us in Oregon know too well.
OPPA member and Roseburg psychiatrist Dr. George Middlekauff told me that Roseburg’s only inpatient psychiatry unit closed years ago due to lack of profitability. I spoke with a crisis nurse who asked that I ask legislators for more psychiatric beds. As in most other places in Oregon, patients wait in emergency rooms, sometimes for weeks, for inpatient psychiatric care. I met with Janet Holland, Executive Director of Community Health Alliance (Roseburg’s community mental health program). We discussed the need for long-term access to care and funding for necessary services, and hoped these needs could be met after the media attention went away.
How can we ensure that Roseburg has access to the mental health care it will need in the months and years to come? The people of Roseburg showed me how strongly they react in the face of tragedy. We owe it to them to make sure they have adequate mental health care available when they need it.
For more information, contact:
Dan Bristow, MD, Chair
Public Information and Education
With the tragic shootings at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregonians have once again found themselves in the vortex of an evolving national disaster of violence and mass murder.
As our hearts are with the victims and their families, and our gratitude is extended to the brave officers who’s actions certainly saved many lives, it is necessary to look to the future with determination to end this terrible era where children and young adults are gunned down in their prime as they are working to create their future.
Governor Brown was right in her comments that our first priority is to aid the victims and comfort the bereaved families of those killed. I am personally grateful to our members and all the mental health practitioners who traveled to Roseburg to help. You should know that your colleagues were involved. I have heard from Dan Bristow, MD who traveled to Roseburg, that the local resources, including the Community Mental Health Alliance, have received strong support from the Oregon practitioner community. Also, individual companies, such as Umpqua Bank, who have reached out for help, have found a strong response to their requests for counselors for their employees.
After the immediate shock and need of this disaster passes, the OPPA and the APA, as professional organizations and therefore leaders in our society, must step up and address the causes of these recurring mass killings. Untreated mental illness is relevant, guns are relevant, and numerous societal issues pertain. As the echoes of the shots fired in Roseburg become quiet, we must not forget the grief we feel today, but must be motivated by it and find constructive measures to change our troubled reality.
As member organizations, we cannot move as quickly as the individuals who dedicated their efforts to help in Roseburg, but hopefully we can act powerfully and with lasting effect. You should know that currently our APA leaders are working in Washington on bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Tim Murphy, R-PA, and Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-TX, that addresses efforts at comprehensive mental health reform. You should be confident that disaster response and legislative advocacy will be prominent on the OPPA agenda, and that it has become a renewed priority for me. Rather than remain locked in a philosophical stalemate, I feel we must take an educational and pluralistic approach to this complex problem. We as psychiatrists will be in familiar territory, given our daily efforts with multi-determined issues about which there are strong and conflicted emotions, and so may be in a position to help others also move past inevitable disagreements. My hope is that as an organization of professionals dedicated to the welfare of individuals, that we can now help society move forward on this serious problem that continues to erode the wellbeing of all of us, and urge you to join me in those efforts.
Craig Zarling, MD
President, Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association