Message from the President

Joanna E. Chambers, M.D.
AAPDPP President 2020-2022

Dear Fellow Academy Members,

We are nearing the end of an extremely stressful year.  For many, this year has brought loss, isolation, and extreme duress.  The end of the year is normally a time to gather with our family and friends, to enjoy relationships that mean the most to us, and to appreciate the blessings we have together.  As the pandemic surges and more lives are lost, many of us are alone or convened with only a very few loved ones.  While there appears to be light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel with the vaccine at hand, we are still grieving the many losses over the past year.  I find it healing to take a moment to think about the people in my life who mean so much me.  This includes the many dear friends and colleagues in the Academy.  I imagine that this may be true for many of our members.

In our recent SWOT Analysis, we found that the most important reason for joining or staying in the Academy was the feeling of connection to the other Academy members.  Our interests as psychoanalytically and psychodynamically informed psychiatrists bond us in ways that are truly unique.  We are all doing our very best in what feels like a marathon of social isolation, social unrest, and various other stressors.  Members of the Academy have quickly adjusted and we have already generated new and creative ways to connect and re-connect with each other.  These connections are truly what makes us unique as an organization.

As the APA has decided to cancel the 2021 in-person meeting in LA, the Academy to meet virtually in the spring of 2021 as well.  The Annual meeting will take place over the weekend of April 23, 24, and 25.  With the work and leadership of Dr. Joe Silvio, our Chair of Scientific Programs, Dr. Kim Best and Dr. Sarah Noble, our Program Co-Chairs, and their committee, a virtual program is in the works to provide the much anticipated opportunities for learning, teaching, and collaborating.  While no virtual meeting can compare with the warmth of being in each other’s presence, I believe that we are learning how to make these virtual interactions more meaningful.

In addition to the upcoming virtual meeting, we have generated other opportunities for social connectedness.  A pilot virtual social event was held in early October which was both fun and engaging.  We came away from the event feeling more connected to one another.  At the end of October, Dr. Jeff Katzman led the first of the monthly CME presentations, organized by Dr. Jerry Perman.  Dr. Katzman’s presentation on the timely theme of Zombies was captivating and informative, generating a rich discussion afterward.  In November, we were lucky to hear about the legal implications of working virtually with our patients from William Butler and Dr. Lawrence Mobley, and Dr. Grace Owen.  In December, Dr. JJ Rasimas educated us on the capacity of virtual C/L psychiatry in the era of Covid.  In addition, Dr. John Tamerin has initiated a pilot Case Conference Series which has already inspired a sense of warmth and belonging among the participants.  We very much appreciate all who have taken the lead in educating us and connecting us virtually over the past year and look forward to continuing with this work into 2021.

So, while we have all been affected by unprecedented social isolation and other extreme challenges of 2020, I feel such gratitude and affection for you, our members of the Academy.  Your creativity, your insight, and your tenacity has been so inspiring to me as we have made our way through this past year.  As always, I sincerely invite each and every one of you to contact me at any time with suggestions, with questions, with answers, with your thoughts and sentiments.

I sincerely wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy, and socially connected 2021!