The American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry was officially formed in May 1967, although the group had been meeting informally over the years during the APA annual meetings. The mission of American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry (AACDP) is to advance medicine and the practice of psychiatry through:
Strengthening its membership by enhancing the skills and effectiveness of leaders
Providing a forum for the development and exchange of ideas and information
Promoting excellence in psychiatric education, research, and clinical care
Advocating for health policy to create appropriate psychiatric care for all
Over the years, the AACDP has had a strong voice in academic psychiatry, and through its leadership and presidents it has represented the perspective of academic psychiatry leadership in key aspects of our training, research, professional development and competency, ethics, organized medicine, and health care policy.
In 1999, the AACDP embarked on a strategic planning mission to set an agenda for our future and our leadership role in academic psychiatry. This was revisited in a retreat in 2004 as members met to review the association’s progress and to develop goals for our continued work in academic psychiatry. Following the 2004 retreat led by then-president Joel Silverman, M.D., the AACDP current past president, John Greden, M.D., has overseen a recent reorganization of the AACDP away from (long-standing) committees and into more focused task forces that will help the organization be more talk-oriented around the issues of the day. The AACDP has also had a tradition of being based in its relationships and reaching out to other organizations. This new structure of the AACDP further facilitates this approach, as a task force draws from within AACDP membership and also outside our organization, as it seems to take the optimum composition of expertise and leadership to accomplish this task. A listing of task forces and AACDP relationships, with the assigned liaison chair, is provided in Appendix 1. Not surprisingly, these task force groups are at various levels of activity. Most notably, the task force on academic-pharmaceutical liaisons (led by Richard Veith, M.D.) has been particularly active and is currently working on the development of a clinical trials network for studies on posttraumatic stress disorder. Also, the coalition of advocacy groups has attracted considerable momentum among AACDP members. Dr. Leighton Huey led a very successful interchange at our recent AACDP meeting in May 2006.
The organization continues to have two meetings, a summer meeting held in association with the annual meeting of APA and a fall meeting that coincides with the annual meeting of the American Association of Medical Colleges. The fall meeting also encompasses a new training component for new chairs. Over the years, this has been very well received.
We were also particularly pleased last year to accept the invitation to join, as a sponsoring organization, Academic Psychiatry. This step, encouraged by our colleague Laura Weiss Roberts, M.D., is an important strategic development for the AACDP, and it was uniformly welcomed by AACDP membership.
Our organization, thanks to the tireless efforts and administrative leadership of Ms. Lucille Meinsler, maintains an informative and current Web site, which can be reached at www.aacdp.org. We can also be reached by contacting Ms. Meinsler directly by mail at AACDP Executive Office #319, 1594 Cumberland Street, Lebanon, PA 17042, or by phone at (717) 270-1673.