By Albert Arias, MD
VCU Health Systems
I’m thrilled to be taking the helm of the good ship PSV, an outstanding organization made up of inspirational individuals that tirelessly advocate for our patients and the profession. It’s my pleasure to serve you. The core efforts of PSV continue to be strong and fruitful for us, and I intend to continue to support that in any way possible. We have strong representation at the national APA as well as strong influence at the state political level. All of this is the result of your efforts.
Though I’ve been known for pithy understatements, I’ve never been one to mince words. Our society currently stands at a crossroads in many ways. Seemingly antithetical views on a plethora of topics have driven an entrenchment of toxic negativity that reverberates through the mainstream, fringe, and social media, and permeates the fabric of our lives in countless ways. It seems as if the dam will break from trying to hold back the untamed waters of American culture wars. Despite this, it is clear to see the similarities between Americans and their viewpoints and there exists much common ground. We are resilient if nothing else.
If we don’t ever examine the most divisive issues and seek deeper understanding and common ground, then we will have failed. Over the next year I plan to focus on just that, starting with the fall meeting. I intend to put the spotlight on hot button issues that tend to be more divisive. From gun violence and mass shootings to medical care access for trans individuals, as well as older themes like the reemergence of anti-psychiatry movements. We will rip off the band aid of complacency and look closely at all the pieces.
What do we know about these divisive issues and what must we do about them as a profession? What are the political forces working against psychiatry and the mentally ill, and how will we thwart them?
These are some of the questions I ask, and with your help, hope to answer over the next year.
I remain optimistic about the potential influence of our field in the world we live. We can make a huge difference in improving our society if we act now with purpose. Save the date for the fall meeting, October 20-21, 2023 at the Hilton Richmond Downtown. I hope to see you there.
October 20-21, 2023
Hilton Richmond Downtown
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