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Social Issues to Join Clinical Topics at APA Annual Meeting

May 06, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO—Issues such as racial diversity, climate change, and criminal justice will join clinical topics such as ketamine and cannabis on the agenda of this year’s American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting.

The 5-day meeting will include more than 650 sessions, 175 speakers, almost 1000 posters, and 38 courses, said Scientific Program Chair Jacqueline Feldman, MD.

“We have an incredible number of topics,” she said. “I’m so excited about the entire purview that we’re going to be offering.”

The Scientific Program Committee included 35 physicians who spent hundreds of hours to put the meeting together, she noted.

Meeting organizers are predicting 15,000 people from the United States and around the world will attend, according to Saul Levin, MD, MPA, the APA’s CEO and Medical Director.

APA President Altha Stewart, MD, said global collaboration has been a focus of the organization during her year as president, and this year’s meeting will feature various international presenters. They include Alan Rosen, MD, a community psychiatrist from Australia; Frederick W. Hickling, MD, who is working on a children’s mental health prevention model in Jamaica; and the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology, which will collaborate with Dr. Stewart for a session on psychiatry around the world.

Dr. Stewart selected the theme of this year’s meeting: “Disrupt, Include, Engage & Innovate.” The theme and APA’s growing focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion are well-reflected in the programming, she said.

High-profile speakers at the meeting will include:

• Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, who was involved with passing the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Stewart will hold a discussion with her during the opening session.

• La June Montgomery Tabron, CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, who was invited to speak at the Convocation session. She will discuss the role psychiatrists can play in addressing community challenges and social determinants of mental health, Dr. Stewart said.

• King Davis, PhD, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information. He is leading a 10-year project to digitize almost a million documents in the archives at the Central State Hospital in Petersburg, Virginia, which was founded in 1870 as the Central Lunatic Asylum for Colored Insane.

Dr. Davis’ talk is one of the historical sessions being held to mark the 175th anniversary of the APA. In honor of the anniversary, a session will be held in conjunction with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) exploring the future of psychiatry, particularly in research and the delivery of care.

The meeting will again include the popular Mental Health Innovation Zone, which will examine how tools such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, chat services, and digital therapeutics can help improve mental health care access and quality.

The meeting will be held May 18-22 in San Francisco, California. Follow live coverage throughout the meeting on

—Terri Airov

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