Candidate for Secretary, APA Election, January 2019

Ramaswamy Viswanathan, MDWHAT DO I OFFER?

Proven Leader with Experience and Vision.

APA Board of Trustees, Minority & Under-Represented Groups Trustee, 2017 – 2019.

State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service.

Professor (tenured), Director of C-L Psychiatry, Chair of Psychiatry Grand Rounds, SUNY Downstate Medical Center; Interim Psychiatry Residency Program Director, March – October, 2018.

Presiding Officer-Elect, Faculty and Staff, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, 2018 – 2020.

APA George Tarjan Award for contributions to integration of international medical graduates into American Psychiatry.

APA Ronald A. Shellow Award for outstanding service to the APA Assembly.

APA Irma Bland Award for Excellence in Teaching Residents.

Recognized in Castle Connelly Best Doctors Guides.

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I teach and mentor residents and medical students, provide clinical service to inpatients and outpatients in public and private settings, and have a private practice of psychotherapy/pharmacotherapy. In addition to work with adult and geriatric patients, occasionally I see child and adolescent patients. I am a member of the AMA, ACLP, AAAP, AACP, AAPL, GAP and SSPC. Thus I am aware of and well-suited to deal with issues encountered by most of our members and patients.

I already have a track record of fighting burdens of Maintenance of Certification (MOC). I recognized the threats much before most others did. I initiated and led a petition drive, collecting more than 800 hand-written signatures, that placed a referendum on our 2011 ballot urging our APA to work against burdensome MOC requirements, and intrusion into doctor-patient relationship. This referendum was supported by 80% of the voters. This led to the APA becoming more active in advocating for reducing financial and other burdens related to Board certification and maintenance of certification. I founded the APA Caucus on MOC Issues for grassroots members to have a forum to discuss Board certification issues on an ongoing basis and advocate for needed changes.  As secretary, I will continue to push for reforms of MOC and initial certification .

I am Board certified in internal medicine, psychiatry, consultation-liaison psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, and addiction psychiatry, maintaining active certification status.

Service on 18 APA committees, including Chair of Bylaws Committee, Vice-Chair of Council on Member and DB Relations, Council on Global Psychiatry, Asian American Caucus Representative to the APA Assembly Committee of MUR Representatives, and APA representative to AMA IMG Section.

Women’s, minorities’ and marginalized groups’ issues, and resident-fellow members’ and early career psychiatrist members’ issues have been on the forefront of my clinical service, teaching, mentoring , research and professional organizational career. I have published and presented in this area. I have done some innovative research and educational endeavors. I have trained more than 500  psychiatry residents.

My research is exploring psychosocial factors (depression, locus of control, substance use, other factors) related to medical treatment adherence in patients with gynecologic cancers, HIV, and children with sickle cell disease, in an underprivileged community, thus trying to help women, minority, and marginalized patients

I authored several influential action papers in the APA Assembly, on issues such as promoting telepsychiatry to improve access to care, expert witness reform, ECP Dues reduction, decreasing MOC burden, standardization of electronic health records, promoting pride in membership through APA mementos, membership recruitment and retention, and education in advocacy.

I am grateful to all the women and men in the APA who have promoted diversity and inclusion, and whose mentoring has made my professional achievements possible.

Action Plan
1) Continue to work on reducing the third party-imposed burdens on public and private psychiatric practice, and residency training, which reduce time available for providing quality psychiatric care, and cause frustrations for psychiatrists and patients. This includes unnecessary burdens imposed by certifying and regulatory organizations, government, and commercial insurers.
2) Advocate for adequate funding for mental health research and service.
3) Promote psychiatrists’ and trainees’ mental and physical health, and minimize burn out.
4) Foster the professional development of trainees and early career psychiatrists.
5) Preserve the quality of care our patients receive, and fight the threat of inadequately qualified people encroaching into psychiatric practice.

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20-second candidacy video: