Supporters

I have known and worked with Ramaswamy Viswanathan for many years. He has served the APA and the profession in a rich array of capacities. In addition to his dedication and experience, his election will significantly broaden the still inadequate leadership representation of our many international graduate members.
Nada Stotland, MD, MPH
Past APA President
Past Speaker, APA Assembly
Past Representative of the Women’s Caucus, APA Assembly
We, the Directors of the four Residency Training Programs in Brooklyn, and one who was formerly associated with residency training for more than two decades (EB), can speak for how fortunate we have been to have Vis as a leader in our DB. When Vis was the President of the Brooklyn Psychiatric Society, in 1992, he started an Annual Residents’ Scholarly Presentations Contest, a first by a District Branch of the APA. He has been personally stewarding the event for the past 26 years. Five years ago, he also started an Annual 5K Run & Meet event for our DB as a wellness event, long before attention to trainee wellness became a major focus of organizations. He himself runs in the 5K! Vis has mentored several residents in organizational psychiatry; in the DB Council, NY State Psychiatric Association, the Assembly and other components in the APA. He has been instrumental in several residents getting APA/Foundation Fellowship awards, and fellowship awards from other organizations such as AACAP and AAGP. His being in a leadership position in the APA will be great for the future of psychiatry.
Scot G. McAfee, MD
Vice Chair for Education and Residency Training Director
SUNY Downstate College of Medicine
Tolu Olupona, MD
Program Director, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
Interfaith Medical Center
Anetta Raysin, DO 
Director, Psychiatry Residency Training
Maimonides Medical Center
Sanila Rehmatullah, MD
Director, Psychiatry Residency Training
Brookdale University Hospital & Medical Center
I have known Dr.Viswanathan for over 20 years through his leadership positions at APA. As the only candidate currently serving on the APA Board of Trustees (as M/UR Trustee), he will hit the ground running. As a tenured Professor of Psychiatry at SUNY Downstate where he has been a faculty member since 1978, he was awarded the 2017 SUNY Downstate Medical Center Award for Excellence in GME and the 2018 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence In Faculty Service. As Board-certified in Internal Medicine, General Psychiatry, and Consultation-Liaison, Addiction, Geriatric, and Forensic Psychiatry and a member of the AMA, ACLP, AAAP, AACP, AAPL, and GAP, he is unique in the breadth of his experience to represent many aspects of APA membership. In addition, Dr. Viswanathan will bring the voice of international medical graduates (IMGs) to the APA BOT. IMGs comprise 27% of the practicing psychiatrists in the USA, but in the current APA BOT, only the RFM Trustee and Dr. Viswanathan are IMGs among 20 voting members. He received the 2016 APA George Tarjan Award “for significant contributions to the enhancement of the integration of IMGs into American psychiatry.”
Francis Lu, MD, DLFAPA
Kim Professor in Cultural Psychiatry, Emeritus, UC Davis
Past Chair, APA Council on Minority Mental Health and Health Disparities
Past Secretary, Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture
Past Board Member, World Association of Cultural Psychiatry
I strongly encourage you to elect Ramaswamy (Vis) Viswanathan, MD, DMSc as Secretary in the upcoming APA election. For four decades, Vis has stood out as a teacher and mentor who has modeled rigorous adherence to evidence-based practices while embodying humanistic values of empathy, compassion, and respect for persons. Not surprisingly, as many as a third of the residency classes who train under him at SUNY-Downstate seek to become consultation-liaison psychiatrists after watching him at bedside with patients. Vis was a pioneer in impressing the importance of culture in patient care, including patients’ spiritual resources as a source of resilience. His educational leadership has been enhanced by his ABPN subspecialty board certification in geriatric psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, addiction medicine, and consultation-liaison psychiatry. Vis has been one of our most experienced and effective organizational leaders within the APA, currently serving as a member of the APA Board of Trustees as Minority and Under-Represented Groups Representative. He has served in the Assembly, the APA PAC Board of Governors, and 18 APA committees. Among his roles, he has been Chair of the APA Bylaws Committee, Vice-Chair of the Council on Member District Branch Relations, and APA representative to the American Medical Association’s IMG Section. As APA Secretary, Vis will bring both expertise and wisdom to the governance of our organization.
James L. Griffith, MD
Leon M. Yochelson Professor and Chair, Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, George Washington University Medical Center
Chair, Selection Committee for the Chester M. Pierce Human Rights Award
Recipient, 2017 Oskar Pfister Award, for Contributions to the Field of Psychiatry and Religion
President-Elect, Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture
I am delighted to endorse Ramaswamy Viswanathan, MD (Vis) in the election for APA Secretary.  I have worked with Vis for years at APA and other psychiatric organizations and can vouch for his singular commitment to psychiatric training, medically underserved populations, and the intersection of psychiatry and medicine.  He is a very hard worker and his contributions are always on point. He will make an excellent APA Secretary.
Roberto Lewis-Fernández, MD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons
Director, NYS Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence; Co-Director, Anxiety Disorders Clinic; Director, Hispanic Treatment Program, New York State Psychiatric Institute
President, World Association of Cultural Psychiatry
Chair, Cultural Psychiatry Committee, Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry
Immediate Past President, Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture
Past President, American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry
Chair, APA/SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Selection Committee, American Psychiatric Association
Chair, DSM Review Committee on Internalizing Disorders, American Psychiatric Association
I have known Dr. Viswanathan since I was a resident at SUNY-Downstate in the early 1980s. Vis, as he was (and still is) known by most of us, worked as an attending on the consultation-liaison service at the University Hospital and was a well-regarded teacher of residents and fellows. Over the years, our paths have crossed through various APA and New York State Psychiatric Association activities. Today, when I think of Vis, the following words spring immediately to mind: hard-working, congenial, collaborative, dedicated, and effective. I strongly support his candidacy for APA Secretary
Jack Drescher, MD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University
Past President, New York County Psychiatric Society
Past President, Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry
Emeritus Editor, Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health
I have known “Vis” for almost 30 years. We first met when I was a representative of the Western Canada DB in the APA Assembly, and from the beginning I was impressed with his energy, broad vision, systemic-thinking mind, commitment to continuing medical education, and community and national service. Since I joined the faculty of SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 2008, I have come to know him even better and my regard for him has only soared. He has mentored many residents over his career and this is current and ongoing. He is extremely productive and engaged in academic and teaching service at home and nationally. Vis is actively involved in several organizations and associations outside of APA and this speaks to his diversion, altruism, generosity and reach. Such a perspective only enhances what he brings to APA. I urge you to vote for him for Secretary in the upcoming elections. You won’t be disappointed!
Michael F Myers, MD, DLFAPA
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
Member of the Scientific Program Committee of the APA
Past member of the Board of Trustees of APA
Past President, Canadian Psychiatric Association
I am delighted to endorse the candidacy of Dr. Ramaswamy Viswanathan for APA secretary. I have known “Vis” for over 30 years as a colleague and as a superlative leader in various APA activities at the local and national levels.  He is the quintessential “salt of the earth “ person.  He is unassuming, scrupulously honest, approachable, and kind. He is very bright with an eclectic knowledge of many aspects of psychiatry. He is a wonderful and admired teacher. He has been especially active in promoting activities in cross-cultural psychiatry, a topic that is especially important in today’s world. I queried Vis on a range of topics related to my interests in geriatric psychiatry and social & community psychiatry. For example, he has very strong positions on public support of long-term care, expansion of Medicare for all, and the impact of climate change on mental health. As a long-term APA member who has served on numerous committees, I can say with certainty that Vis will be an asset to our organization and that he will be an energetic and responsive APA secretary.
Carl I Cohen MD, DLFAPA
SUNY Distinguished Service Professor & Director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
We have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Dr. Ramaswamy Viswanathan and greatly respect his enduring commitment to our patients, our students, and the APA. His years of service and leadership roles in the APA have been critical on a number of issues great importance to the APA mission. We are delighted to endorse Vis and encourage all to join us.
Carlos N. Pato, MD, PhD
Former Dean and
Professor and Co-Director,
Institute for Genomic Health
Michele T. Pato, MD
Professor and Director,
Institute for Genomic Health
SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Dr. Viswanathan (Vis) has educated and mentored hundreds of residents over the years. He has mentored many residents to present in the APA and specialty societies’ meetings, to do research, and to publish. He has mentored many residents to get APA/Foundation Diversity and Leadership Fellowships. Many of his research activities have involved mentoring residents, which is a critical need in our department. He has gotten the residents and faculty from the four residency programs in our DB strongly involved with the APA. He is a great advocate for organized psychiatry and is very much in touch with issues affecting different segments of psychiatry. He will make a great Secretary of the APA.
Ayman Fanous, MD
Professor & Chair, Department of Psychiatry
SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Vis’ experiences in the APA and other professional organizations demonstrate his commitment and track record for leadership and championing our concerns. He has trained more than 500 residents and mentored many of them in academic and professional development. His clinical research includes minority women and children. He puts together outstanding grand rounds, and makes sure every year that children’s, minorities, and women’s issues are covered, and in addition to neuroscience and biological topics, psychotherapy, social issues and creative arts are covered. I have been impressed by his work in our educational policy committee, and residency educational performance self-study committees. Vis is an outstanding psychiatrist, committed to clinical care, scholarship, education and advocating for our profession and patients, and will make a great secretary of the APA.
Cathryn A. Galanter, M.D.
Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program
SUNY Downstate/Kings County Hospital Center
It is my pleasure and privilege to endorse Dr. Viswanathan, who is running for the position of Secretary, in the upcoming American Psychiatric Association election. Dr. Viswanathan has been my colleague and friend for the past 30 years. Dr. Viswanathan, better known as Vis, is a multiple boards-certified physician and an acclaimed teacher. His dedication to advocacy on behalf of IMGs is extremely praise-worthy, which resulted in him receiving the prestigious George Tarjan award. He is a dedicated member of the APA, and his work at Brooklyn Psychiatric Society in creating a pioneering annual Residents’ Scholarly Presentations Contest has been very much appreciated by residents and training program directors alike. He is warm, affectionate, and caring. He has a proven track record of accomplishments in education, advocacy, clinical care, teaching, organizational psychiatry, and research. I see nobody better suited than him to be elected secretary of the APA.
Nyapati R Rao, MD, DLFAPA
Professor of Psychiatry, Stony Brook University School of Medicine
Trustee ECFMG
Member, CIR Committee, National Board of Medical Examiners
Past Chair, APA Council on Medical Education and Life-Long Learning
Past Chair, IMG caucus, AADPRT
Past Chair, IMGs Governing Council, AMA
Past Chair of Psychiatry, Nassau University Medical Center
Vis is a proven leader in American psychiatry as a clinician, educator, administrator, and current member of the APA Board of Trustees and APA-PAC Board.  In my years as an APA Assembly representative, I witnessed first-hand his ability to raise awareness and advocate for our members on such important issues as MOC reform and integrating IMG’s into psychiatry.  As a candidate for APA Secretary, he brings decades of experience at the district branch, area, and national levels.  Please vote – and join me in voting for Ramaswamy Viswanathan, MD, DMSc, DLFAPA for APA Secretary.

Lawrence S. Gross, MD, DLFAPA
Southern California Assembly Representative, 2009-2017

Dr. Viswanathan is probably one of the few psychiatrists in the United States who is not only double Boarded (in Psychiatry and Internal Medicine) but also Board certified in all four sub-specialties of Psychiatry (Geriatric Psychiatry, Addictions Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine). He is a highly respected and effective teacher, very well liked and praised by the fellows, residents, and medical students. . I have personally observed and admired his immense energy and enthusiasm in the APA Governance and the APA Assembly, and how he has mentored many IMGs on organizational and professional issues. It is my privilege to support Dr. Ramaswamy Viswanathan for Secretary of the American Psychiatric Association.
John M. de Figueiredo, MD, ScD, DLFAPA
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Yale University School of Medicine
Former Representative of Connecticut DB to the APA Assembly
Former President of the Connecticut Psychiatric Society and the
New Haven County Medical Association
Dr. Vis has fought hard to work for underrepresented minorities and women. He is currently on the APA board of Trustees for minorities and underrepresented groups. His impeccable resume speaks for itself. He has played an instrumental role in reaching medical students and residents (500 of them!) over the years. When I was a resident at NYU, he gave me my first chance to speak at the APA’s national annual meeting in 2003 on a panel on South Asian Women’s mental health alongside APA past president, Michelle Riba, and has been a mentor over the years. His life mission has been to support underrepresented minorities and women.

Sudeepta Varma, MD, DFAPA
Board Certified Psychiatrist in Private Practice
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, NYU Langone Health
Media contributor

As a member of the APA Assembly since 1999, I am pleased to endorse Ramaswamy Viswanathan, MD, DMSc in his candidacy for the position of APA Secretary. Vis is currently serving on the Board as the Minority and Under-Represented Groups Trustee. He has been awarded the Ronald A. Shellow Award for outstanding service to the APA Assembly. He has, for years, been active in addressing maintenance of certification issues and the ever increasing problem of business and bureaucratic intrusions into the physician/patient relationship. He was consistently thoughtfully active in discussions on the Assembly floor and in reference committees even when the topic was controversial.
John Shemo, MD, DLFAPA
Assembly Representative, Virginia
Past Assembly Representative to the DSM-5 Steering Committee and the Practice Guidelines Steering Committee
Dually trained in Psychiatry and Internal Medicine
Faculty of University of Virginia, Charlottesville
It is my privilege to support the candidacy of Dr Ramaswamy Viswanathan for the post of APA Secretary. I have known for the last 25 years years and he has been a great mentor to me as well as generations of psychiatrists. His cultural competence and commitment to wellbeing of patients and doctors is exemplary. He is a man of boundless energy and tireless efforts with highest integrity that will take APA to a whole new level.
Aaron Pinkhasov, MD
Chairman, Department of Behavioral Health
NYU Winthrop Hospital, Mineola, NY
Dr. Vis has been involved with us (the residents) since my PGY-1 year, both clinically and academically in many ways. He runs the Brooklyn Psychiatry Society’s annual fun run. He is always willing to mentor us, whether it’s a poster, article review, or grand rounds presentation. His diplomatic demeanor fosters a collaborative approach to problem-solving, which is key for any leadership position, whether it’s the MUR Trustee or the Secretary of the APA.
Alan T. Rodriguez Penney, MD
4th year Chief Resident, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
2nd year APA SAMHSA Minority Fellow
I had the pleasure to work with Dr. Viswanathan for the last 3 years while being supervised as a resident psychiatrist at SUNY Downstate. Dr. Vis is an outstanding clinician, administrator, and a genuinely kind-hearted man. His background experience and accolades speak for themselves. He truly cares about the future of psychiatry and about the future generations of psychiatrists. He does a lot for residents and early career psychiatrists. Apart from encouraging and mentoring trainees in clinical research and professional presentations, he also organizes scholarly presentations contests at the DB and state level, and also 5K Run or Walk wellness events. I believe that he will reduce the influence of third party-imposed burdens on our psychiatric practice while opening new venues for the development of our generation of psychiatrists.
Paulo Marcelo Gondim Sales, MD
PGY-3 Resident, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
I have known Dr,Vis for almost 30 years. He is a scholar, great .clinician teacher,researcher and extraordinary human being/physician. He has been a mentor to my daughter Dr.Sudeepta Varma, now a media psychiatrist, and faculty at.NYU. His hard/tireless work with our APA makes him the best candidate .
Satish Varma, MD
Child and Adolescent, and Addiction Psychiatrist