melinda L. Young, md, DLFAPA CANDIDATE, 2019 AREA 6 (California) TRUSTEE AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION
Being an effective Area 6 Trustee is like being a good 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.
What is the APA's Board of Trustees? And What Does the Board Do?
I’ve been asked by both RFMs and more seasoned members to explain the function of APA’s Board of Trustees, why it matters to the APA, and why the election of a Trustee to the Board makes a difference:
The APA is “run” by its Board of Trustees (which might be called the Board of Directors at other organizations), as are all nonprofit corporations. The Board manages the affairs of the APA, including formulating and implementing policy and the determination of fiscal policies and issues.
Work Groups of the Board address various topics of importance, e.g., the role of psychiatry in healthcare reform, recommendations for psychiatric training now and in the future, strategic planning for the APA for the next five years, etc. The Board made the decision to move forward with DSM-5, approved its development of work groups and committees, and read and approved the final product (having made substantial changes to the original work).
The Board makes the final determination on all policy and Policy Statements from the APA (both to publish and to retire), e.g., “Position Statement on Firearm Access, Acts of Violence and the Relationship to Mental Illness and Mental Health Services”, which was adopted in 2014.
The Board has the final determination on how involved APA will become in Federal legislative issues [e.g. the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act” from Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)] as well as state legislative issues, including providing funding and staff support for District Branches and State Associations fighting unsafe prescribing or violations of the parity law. The Board recently approved the expansion of the Department of Government Relations to include a division solely addressing state legislative issues, with the addition of 4 new staff members, each addressing state issues in one of four quadrants of the APA.
The Board determines whether APA will become involved in judicial issues, joining with District Branches and State Associations (e.g., the lawsuit in which APA has joined the Connecticut Psychiatric Society, taken against Anthem Blue Cross for parity violations).
The Board weighed in on Maintenance of Certification in March 2015, voting to support elimination of Part IV (Performance in Practice), recommending to the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) that it advocate for the elimination of Part IV of MOC to its own parent organization, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), and reaffirming the APA’s commitment to lifelong learning and quality improvement as well as support for the highest scientific and ethical standards of medical practice. A joint Board-Assembly Work Group on MOC was created.
The Board of Trustees also determines all fiscal issues for the APA, including membership dues, pricing for annual meetings, and grants and other fiscal support for the District Branches and State Associations. Additionally, the Board also approves funding for various conferences and trainings, including the recent State Advocacy Conference held in October, that trained members from 44 states on the specifics of legislative work addressing scope of practice and parity.
Who Sits on the APA's Board of Trustees?
Who sits on the APA’s Board of Trustees really matters.
There are only 20 voting members on the Board, so each person’s opinion and vote makes a difference. A Board member must know the issues (Board preparation packets range from about 400 pages to in excess of 700 pages), know what is important to members, and must effectively advocate for members, either through existing channels or, when necessary, by effectively challenging the system.
The Make Up of the APA’s Board of Trustees:
Five nationally elected Board members:
Three most recent Past Presidents of the APA Seven Area Trustees (one from each of the seven Areas of the APA, including Area 6) One Trustee each from the:
Early Career Psychiatrists
Minority and Under-Represented Groups within the APA
Speaker and Speaker-Elect of the APA Assembly
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