MELINDA L. YOUNG, MD, DLFAPA CANDIDATE, 2019 AREA 6 (CALIFORNIA) TRUSTEE AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION
Being an effective Area 6 Trustee is like being an effective cook - it takes more than following a recipe.
I know what members want and need from their membership in the APA.
From long experience - with District Branches, State Associations, and the APA itself - I know how to get it done, either through existing channels or, when necessary, by effectively challenging the system.
I am a tireless advocate for members. I'm not afraid of taking a controversial stand in my advocacy for members.
The Origin of the APA and its Relationship to its District Branches and Areas
How APA, its Areas and its District Branches and State Associations interrelate is complex. The following information is gleaned from the Operations Manual of the APA and the APA's extensive library. Still have questions? Contact me... If I don't know the answer, I can find someone who does! Click here
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844 as the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane, is a medical specialty society representing more than 36,000 psychiatrists and is the largest psychiatric organization in the world. At its inception, it drew together 13 superintendents from the 24 mental hospitals in the U.S. In 1892, the Association became the American Medico-Psychological Association and acquired The American Journal of Insanity. In 1921, the Association’s name changed to the American Psychiatric Association and its journal became The American Journal of Psychiatry. Local “Affiliate Societies” began to organize in the early 1930s but proved to be of little benefit to the APA or its membership since they had neither voice nor official representation within the APA. In 1952, APA Bylaws were amended to provide for District Branches with representation on the APA governing board through the Area structure and in the Assembly. 1952 also saw the APA publish the first edition of The Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. By 1953, 16 District Branches had been established; the first meeting of the Assembly of District Branches of the APA was held in Los Angeles on May 5, 1953.
Fast forward to 2015: The APA is a nonprofit corporation with 72 District Branches and 2 State Associations, governed by its Board of Trustees, with the Assembly serving as an advisory body to the Board.
(Almost all) District Branches, both State Associations and the APA are independent non-profit corporations, each separate and distinct from the others, although the business of the DBs, SAs and the APA is intertwined and may overlap at many levels and in many significant ways. While each is distinct, the Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation and Constitutions of each District Branch and State Association must not be inconsistent with the Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation and Constitution of the American Psychiatric Association.
Dual membership in the national American Psychiatric Association and the local District Branch is required.
APA history buffs can find more information in the APA's Archives here.
THE DISTRICT BRANCHES AND STATE ASSOCIATIONS
In 2018, 72 District Branches and 2 State Associations make up the APA, each adopting its own Bylaws, Constitution and, if incorporated, Articles of Incorporation. With the exception of California and New York, each state has (or is) a single District Branch whose members are the members of the APA who live and work within the state. California and New York both have multiple District Branches (CA has 5, NY has 13) and a single State Association whose members are the District Branches within the state. Membership in 6 of the APA’s 72 District Branches is derived differently from U.S. state geography: the Society of Uniformed Services Psychiatrists, the Washington Psychiatric Society (members live and/or practice in metro Washington D.C.), the Puerto Rico Psychiatric Society, the Western Canada District Branch, the Quebec and Eastern Canada District Branch, and the Ontario District Branch. (Almost all) District Branches are independent not-for-profit corporations, each separate and distinct from the others and from the APA. While each is a separate organization, business interests of the DBs, SAs and the APA overlap at many levels. And while each is distinct, they are not unrelated; the Bylaws, Constitutions and Articles of Incorporation of each District Branch and State Association must not be inconsistent with the Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation and Constitution of the American Psychiatric Association.
The purpose of the District Branches (DBs) is to foster the science and enhance the progress of psychiatry, in cooperation with and as a constituent part of the APA; to promote the maintenance of high professional and administrative standards; and to assist the American Psychiatric Association in promoting its aims and objectives. Most DBs additionally provide educational and fellowship opportunities to their members, take an active role in the enhancement and promotion of psychiatry, and participate in the legislative, regulatory and judicial activities of the community or state in which the DB is located.
Dual membership in the national APA and the local District Branch is required.
AREAS AND AREA COUNCILS
Areas and Area Councils provide regional organizational structure as the interface between the Assembly and the District Branches and State Associations. Additionally, each Area elects a member to the Board of Trustees. The APA is divided into 7 geographic “Areas”, 5 of which comprise groupings of contiguous states and 2 of which (CA and NY) comprise the many District Branches within each state. Areas represent New England and Eastern Canada (Area 1), New York State (Area 2), the Mid-Atlantic States (Area 3), the Midwest (Area 4), the South (Area 5), California (Area 6), and the Western US and Western Canada excluding CA (Area 7). Of the 7 Areas, only two are incorporated: Area 2 (NY, incorporated as the New York State Psychiatric Association and as Area 2) and Area 6 (CA, incorporated as the California Psychiatric Association and as Area 6). Both of the two incorporated Areas have fulltime staff and an organization that addresses legislative, judicial and regulatory issues within the state.
The Areas may provide the following functions:
Promote relationships between organized psychiatry and the state governments of their constituents states
Enhance and provide cross-fertilization in District Branch activities with regard to membership, mental health services, insurance, continuing education, public affairs, government relations, judicial action, and any other appropriate activities,
Serve as venues for communication between and among individual District Branches and the national organization
Hold scientific meetings and other programs in continuing education
Provide a forum for discussion of regional issues and development of, and debate about, national policy proposals, providing regional view points and a unique source of institutional memory
Consider action papers from individuals and District Branches prior to submission to the Assembly and from other Areas during the Assembly meeting at the request of the Speaker and serve as substantive deliberative bodies on matters before the Assembly
Enhance the involvement of all members in the APA by providing a venue for the participation of Resident and Fellow members (RFMs), Early Career Psychiatrists (ECPs), Minority/Underrepresented Groups (M/URs) and the Assembly Committee of Representatives of Sections and Subspecialties (ACROSS).
Provide loci of leadership development for the Assembly and the APA.