Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Incoming APA Chief Stresses Broad View

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Incoming APA Chief Stresses Broad View

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- A broad view of psychiatry--one that integrates public health and neuroscience, mental and physical health, research, and patient care--was evident in the goals set out by Dr. Michelle B. Riba, incoming president of the American Psychiatric Association, at the opening session of the association's annual meeting.

Professional education and psychosomatic medicine, principal themes of the presidential year she envisioned in her remarks, have been prominent in Dr. Riba's career as well: She is associate chair for education and academic affairs in the department of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and director of the university's psychooncology program.

In addition, she recently served on an Institute of Medicine committee that studied research training in psychiatry residency and formulated strategies for reform.

In her view, psychiatric education at the medical school and residency level faces a daunting challenge: It must do justice to the social, biologic, and psychological dimensions of the contemporary specialty.

Psychiatry "play a central role in the public health of the nation," she said. But while such problems as homelessness, substance abuse, and the consequences of traumatic stress demand attention, residents must receive a solid grounding in neuroscience that will allow them to read the literature critically and apply the findings of evidence-based medicine.

At the same time, patient care remains the heart of psychiatry, and training programs must allow students to develop therapeutic relationships and see the results of treatment unfold over longer periods of time. "It is critical that the APA support and recognize faculty and residents who are at the front line of teaching and educating the next generation of psychiatrists," Dr. Riba said. Noting that 2 decades have elapsed since the association last organized a national summit on this subject, she announced plans for major conferences on medical student education and residency training. …

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