Category Archives: Events

Mississippi Psychiatric Association Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

Make no mistake, religion and spirituality can help some people struggling with mental health conditions and often plays a big role in recovery. Inclusive and welcoming congregations often have outreach programs for people with mental health conditions or mental health ministries. But some – particularly in the South – view mental illness as a moral failing. 

In its 50th anniversary year, the Mississippi Psychiatric Association (MPA) plans to do something about this. In May, the Association is announcing the launch of an ambitious campaign designed to encourage faith-based communities to be welcoming and supportive of people and family members affected by mental illness from October 7th to October 14th 2018.

The initiative will focus on fostering dialogue and reducing stigma that addresses the medical and spiritual dimensions of people seeking care. The goal is to have every major faith-based organization in the state present a program, sermon or bulletin write-up addressing the connection between faith and mental health.

“We want to help banish stigma – when bad things happen on the news, that gives a lot of people a really negative impression of mental illness, but a lot of times it’s really not what is going on and that’s a terrible thing because patients are further ostracized,” said Maxie Gordon, MD, a psychiatrist and MPA president. “We think by reaching out to churches we will be able to have a big impact in the lives of people who suffer from mental illness.”

MPA, incorporated in 1967, is a District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). MPA hopes to partner with Southern Baptist, Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish congregations, as well as Hindu and Muslim organizations. Although outreach is just beginning, Gordon, former Director of Medical Student Education at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, who now works at East Mississippi State Hospital and G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said the idea has met little resistance.

The goal is to provide a better understanding of science and evidence-based treatments for mental illness and to highlight how for many, support and reinforcement from faith-based leaders in recovery can be key to successful outcomes.

“We are in the South and it is very much a faith-based bunch of people who feel like it’s extremely important to have their medical team and their faith team on the same plane,” said Angela Ladner, Executive Director of MPA. “We don’t determine who the higher power is – we just want the dialogue to occur.”

As part of its outreach, MPA plans to provide faith-based leaders “Mental Health: A Guide for Faith Leaders,” a guide developed by the APA. If successful, MPA hopes to build a tradition that is recognized annually during Mental Health Awareness Week.

MPA has a long history of successful lobbying, thanks in large part to Ladner, who began working with the Association in 1999 as its contract lobbyist.

Capitol Screening Initiative

Since 2005, MPA has partnered with the Mississippi State Medical Association on a Capitol Screening Initiative (CSI). Ladner launched the initiative because she wanted elected officials to better understand what physicians do each day. The program brings free health screenings to members of the legislature and staff once a year in January. MPA also has psychiatrists onsite to advocate for the profession and talk to legislators about issues affecting the practice.

“We find that often our elected officials don’t take the time to monitor their health, especially during the legislative session,” said Ladner. Since CSI began, cases of male and female breast cancer and an imminent heart attack have been detected, she added.


Ladner spends three months a year at the legislature when it is in session. When she began working for MPA, the Association fought for the ability to hold people who were a danger to themselves or others with a so-called “72-hour hold statute,” which passed in 2000.

MPA is now focused on promoting mental health courts. Last year, it helped pass statutes that allowed for pilot programs in certain areas of the state. Legislation this year would allow such courts to be set up statewide and also provide funding. Gordon said the group also hopes to get legislation adopted surrounding mental health parity to make sure that companies are identifying and paying for issues and treatment related to mental health.

50th Celebration and Growth

This year’s MPA annual meeting in March included a 50th anniversary celebration. MPA celebrated achievements, honored past leadership and highlighted milestones.

Retired psychiatrist June Powell, MD, MPA President from 1997 to 1999, who later was a member of the Tulane University School of Medicine faculty before returning to the state more than two decades later, was key in getting recognition for Mississippi at the national meetings of the APA.

In addition to working to change laws, Powell said one of the most important things about MPA’s impact in a rural state such as Mississippi “is meeting colleagues and knowing then who to refer patients to while building your practice. It really helps to see what other people are doing particularly because many people are very isolated. It gives a feeling of community and that was extremely valuable for me coming back because I was away 25 years.”

Psychiatrist Vincent Liberto, MD, of the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center, served as President of MPA for two terms and noted that in addition to its lobbying impact, the Association also helped secure better staffing and more continuity at community mental health centers and worked to address regions of the state that had low ratios of psychiatrists to the population.

In nearly 20 years with the Association, Ladner said she has seen it become more diverse. Gordon is MPA’s first African-American President. But it has grown in other ways, in part a reflection on the profession.

“There are many more female physicians. The Association also is more culturally diverse and its membership has broadened, helping bring in different perspectives and ideas,” Ladner said.

MPA’s 50th anniversary celebration is co-sponsored by PRMS, MPA’s Platinum Partner.

“Our longstanding relationship with PRMS truly allows us to accomplish our mission every day,” Ladner said. She sends MPA members a weekly electronic newsletter with information from PRMS about risk management and other issues that reinforce “everything our people need to be thinking about.” PRMS also presents MPA members a half-day of CME seminars at no cost during the annual meeting.

“MPA is a strong and effective advocate for psychiatrists and their patients,” said Stephen Sills, PRMS President and Chief Executive Officer. “It is our privilege to have worked together through the decades and we look forward to many more decades to come.”

For more on MPA, visit

Charles D Cash presented a CME seminar during the Annual Meeting in March.

Sign at the 50th Anniversary celebration.

To learn more about the superior insurance program and comprehensive services offered by PRMS, click here.

New York, New York…

Will you be in New York City for the Annual Meeting later this week?  If so, join PRMS at these upcoming events:

Telepsychiatry: What You Need To Know 
Friday, May 4
7:30 am – 12:15 pm OR 12:30 pm – 5:15 pm
New York Hilton Midtown (1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York City) 
Click here for more details and to register today!

Manfred S. Guttmacher Award Presentation 
Saturday, May 5
8:00 am
Javits Center (655 W. 34th St, New York City) Please check directory for exact location

“Suicide and Suicide Risk Assessment: A Core Competence”
APA Annual Meeting (registration required)
Panel with Lisa Gold, MD, Cheryl Wills, MD, Richard Frierson, MD, Kaustubh Joshi, MD, Donna Vanderpool, JD, MBA, PRMS VP Risk Management
Monday, May 7
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Liberty, Marriott Marquis (1535 Broadway, New York City)

PRMS is pleased to support many organizations that will be meeting in New York City this May, such as:

  • American Association of Community Psychiatrists (AACP)
  • American Association of Psychiatric Administrators (AAPA)
  • Association of LGBTQ+ Psychiatrists (AGLP)
  • Association of Women Psychiatrists (AWP)
  • Indo-American Psychiatric Association (IAPA)
  • Senior Psychiatrists
  • Society of Uniformed Services Psychiatrists (SUSP)
  • Southern Psychiatric Association (SPA)
  • And more


The PRMS team will be out and about and we hope to run into as many friendly faces as possible.

Thanks to all of you for your support of PRMS.  It is an honor to have you as a client.

To learn more about the superior insurance program and comprehensive services offered by PRMS, click here.

PRMS Supports NAMIWalks Once Again

Rain did not stop another successful NAMIWalksNYC event from happening this May at the South Street Seaport Promenade in New York City. PRMS was delighted to once again sponsor several psychiatric societies’ participation in NAMIWalks 2017.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides free support, education and advocacy programs for individuals with mental illness and their families. To learn more about NAMIWalks, please visit their website.

Jenna Quinn, PRMS Events Manager, joined the “Jacobi Ninjas,” a team from Jacobi Medical Center located in Bronx, NY. Chris Torre, PRMS Account Advisor, walked again with “Montefiore Psychiatry” from Montefiore Medical Center also located in Bronx, NY.

Jenna Quinn (far left) walked with the Jacobi Ninjas.

Chris Torre (far left) joined Team Montefiore once again.

Check out our prior posts about NAMIWalks: “‘Bronxters’ Back At It: Raising Money in NAMIWalksNYC 2016 and ‘GLIPS’ Starting a Tradition with NAMIWalks Long Island/Queens 2016” and “Walking With ‘The Bronxters’ to Support Mental Health.”

Guest Blog: New York County Psychiatric Society Meet & Greet

As a part of PRMS’ partnership with NYCPS, Executive Director Meagan O’Toole is a featured author on the PRMS Blog this month!

Do you know which of your colleagues went to medical school out-of-state? Who plays an instrument?  Or who speaks multiple languages? Could you spot the World Record holder in the room? You can learn the answers to all of the “important” questions while earning a chance to win a new iPad mini and other fun prizes!

The 2016 New York County Psychiatric Society Meet & Greet is back September 8th at the Boat Basin Café in Manhattan. The annual event has become a staple of the New York City psychiatry scene, with over 100 psychiatrists attending last year to meet new colleagues and socialize with old friends while admiring the beautiful views of the Hudson River.

Boat Basin_1

Attendees enjoying the BBQ and a Hudson River sunset

The event, one of NYCPS’ most popular every year, is sponsored by PRMS, manager of a medical malpractice professional liability insurance program for psychiatrists. The informal mix and mingling was kicked up a notch two years ago when a bingo-like game was added to the evening. The game has proven to be a big hit, encouraging attendees to get to know more about each other and NYCPS, while allowing everyone to show a bit of their competitive sides (a free iPad is on the line after all) in a fun and casual atmosphere.

But the best thing about the event? NYCPS President Dr. Daniel Safin says it is “the sense of community and camaraderie that is present.” He adds that it is the perfect opportunity to catch up with colleagues who work in different clinical settings and to “get a sense of what is going well and where the challenges are in our field.”

Dr. Jose Vito (center) says his favorite part of the event is catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

Dr. Jose Vito (center) says his favorite part of the event is catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

For people new to the field or new to the area, the event is a great introduction to the NYC psychiatric community. With thousands of psychiatrists working in Manhattan alone, it can be difficult to meet people in other specialties or overwhelming for residents to network with psychiatrists outside of their programs. As Dr. Jose Vito, Immediate Past President of NYCPS, points out, “attending the event is a great way to network and meet mentors for residents and doctors at all stages of their careers.”

Thanks to the PRMS sponsorship, this event is free for all NYCPS members and just $10 for APA members of other District Branches. For more information, or to register to attend, you can click here. We look forward to seeing you on September 8th!

Meagan O’Toole has served as the Executive Director of NYCPS since 2013.

“Bronxters” Back At It: Raising Money in NAMIWalksNYC 2016 and “GLIPS” Starting a Tradition with NAMIWalks Long Island/Queens 2016

Overcast skies and chilly temperature didn’t dampen the spirits of dedicated mental health providers who took part in a recent National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Walk in New York City and Long Island. They came together to help raise funds to support mental health and to work to stamp out the stigma people affected by mental illness face.

PRMS supported teams from the Bronx and Greater Long Island Psychiatric Society (GLIPS) District Branches of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) known as “The Bronxters” and “GLIPS.” The two teams raised more than $6,700 combined for NAMI, which provides free support, education and advocacy programs for individuals with mental illness and their families.

The NAMI Long Island/Queens walk celebrated its 12th anniversary this year. Over 850 participants joined in the walk on May 7 and raised over $200,000. Dr. Vadim Izgur, a psychiatrist at South Oaks Hospital and Dr. Julie Cyriac, a psychiatrist at New York City Children’s Center co-captained the GLIPS team. Members from the GLIPS District Branch of the APA and staff from South Oaks Hospital were also members of the team.

Vadim Izgur of the Greater Long Island Psychiatric Society

Vadim Izgur of the Greater Long Island Psychiatric Society District Branch of the APA

The Bronxters team was co-captained by Dr. Maryann Popiel, a psychiatrist at Jacobi Medical Center, and Sonal Harneja, a second year resident at Montefiore Medical Center. Joining them were a committed group of psychiatry residents, faculty and staff from Montefiore Medical Center, Jacobi Medical Center Behavioral Services, North Central Bronx Hospital, the Bronx District Branch of the APA and a representative from PRMS.

The Bronxters of the Bronx District Branch of the APA

The Bronxters of the Bronx District Branch of the APA

Now in its 10th year, the 5K walk drew more than 5,000 New Yorkers and raised more than a half million dollars for NAMI-NYC Metro. According to NAMI, more than $530,000 brought in will fund a half-year of NAMI-NYC services for New Yorkers who need its services most.

The NYC walk started at the South Street Seaport Promenade, then went over the Brooklyn Bridge and back to the Seaport, where event-goers took part in New York City’s second #IWILLLISTEN Day. A concert and wellness fair with free massage, basic health screenings, and prizes were all featured.

Every year, tens of thousands of concerned citizens in more than 84 communities across the nation join NAMI on these walks. The idea behind NAMI’s #IWILLLISTEN campaign is this: 1 in 4 Americans are impacted by mental illness. By taking the #IWILLLISTEN pledge, you can add your voice to others by making a promise to listen and do something if someone you know needs help.

“We applaud ‘The Bronxters’ and ‘GLIPS’ passion and willingness to stand up to be counted in support of mental health advocacy,” said Stephen Sills, PRMS Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are delighted to support both the Bronx and GLIPS District Branches of the APA, as well as NAMI-NYC and NAMI-LIQ in their efforts to promote awareness and hopefully banish the stigma associated with mental illness.”

Lindsay Lease, a PRMS Marketing/Communications Specialist in New York, NY, represented PRMS at the NYC event for the first time.