If you are a senior psychiatrist and lifetime member of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) looking to mentor younger psychiatrists or to just stay involved with the field and colleagues, now’s the perfect time to join Senior Psychiatrists, Inc. In a move designed to help grow its membership and raise its visibility, the group recently eliminated its annual membership fee. The change was made possible because of sponsorship by Professional Risk Management Services, Inc. (PRMS).
“Our mission is to represent the 9,000 senior members of APA who are Life Members, Life Fellows, and Distinguished Life Fellows,” says Senior Psychiatrists President Jack W. Bonner, MD, a retired psychiatrist from Greenville, SC. “We are fortunate that PRMS has partnered with us in the past and has now chosen to fund us in a way that allows us to hopefully increase our membership.”
Senior Psychiatrists, founded in 2012, is an outgrowth of the APA “Lifers,” a group previously managed by the APA Foundation. It is now an allied organization to the APA and has representation in the APA Assembly. The group mentors early career psychiatrists and residents, publishes an e-magazine and provides talks and webinars to help psychiatrists in the later stages of their careers navigate challenges as they and their practices age. The group has about 300 members.
“We hope to represent a larger group of psychiatrists and to have more influence and be able to do more,” said Pat Troy, Executive Director. “Many of these doctors are past leaders in the APA and enjoy being engaged and helping each other through the various transitions. They recognize that there is some obligation to take care of those within the profession at all stages.”
In the past, Senior Psychiatrists has presented talks covering issues such as how long a psychiatrist should keep practicing and what other occupations they might enjoy if they worked fewer hours. In July, the group presented a webinar featuring Ann McNary, JD, Senior Risk Manager at PRMS, on how to properly close a practice – both upon retirement and in the event of an emergency – while minimizing stress on the psychiatrist, family, staff and patients.
In May, about 70 Senior Psychiatrists members gathered at the APA Annual Meeting in San Diego. There, the 2017 Harold E. Berson, MD Award was presented to Steven S. Sharfstein, MD, MPA. This award is presented to an APA member or fellow who has made major contributions to American psychiatry. Sharfstein recently retired as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Sheppard Pratt Health System and has served the APA in many capacities; including as medical director from 1983 to 1986, chair of the Committee on Managed Care from 1990 to 1993, and as president from 2005 to 2006.
Another high point in San Diego was the screening of an inspiring feature-length documentary titled “Art of Storytelling: The Human Experience of Being a Psychiatrist,” as told by three generations of psychiatrists in Southern California. The project was conceived by the Art of Psychiatric Medicine Committee – a committee of the Southern California Psychiatric Society. The film highlights the lives and work of 12 Los Angeles-area psychiatrists, and features interviews with these psychiatrists including Senior Psychiatrists Secretary Maria T. Lymberis, MD, a clinical and forensic psychiatrist who is an honorary clinical professor of psychiatry at the Geffen UCLA School of Medicine.
In the film, Lymberis reflects on being a psychiatrist: “It isn’t just what you have suffered or what you are now suffering. But it is what strengths do you have. That makes a difference.” The film’s director, members of the Committee and representatives from the Southern California Psychiatric Society and PRMS joined the Senior Psychiatrists for the screening. Watch the film trailer here.
Senior Psychiatrists recently worked with PRMS to launch a program to mentor medical students from the American Medical Student Association, many of whom have not yet chosen their field of study. Melanie Smith, Senior Vice President of Client Relations for PRMS, noted that PRMS insures many practitioners who either are current members of Senior Psychiatrists or would benefit by joining the ranks.
“Senior Psychiatrists is a valuable organization that’s poised for growth,” Smith said. “We hope this new membership model will help even more physicians stay connected in ways that will help them in their careers and beyond.” Smith added that anyone considering practicing 20 hours per week or less can get up to 60% off malpractice insurance premiums with PRMS. And if a doctor refers a fellow psychiatrist or group practice to PRMS at PsychProgram.com/Refer, PRMS will make a donation to the psychiatric organization of their choice, such as Senior Psychiatrists.
To maintain its dues-free status, the group also hopes to get contributions from members and to encourage continued corporate sponsorship. This fall, Senior Psychiatrists will launch an annual giving campaign. But you don’t have to wait. For more information about making a tax-deductible donation or joining Senior Psychiatrists, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (443) 597-0066 or visit www.seniorpsych.org.