Raj Loungani on the ballot for RFMT!!

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Hi! Please sign this petition to place me on the ballot for the APA Board of Trustees Resident-Fellow Member Trustee (RFMT)! This is not a vote, just to place me on the ballot for the upcoming election. Deadline to sign petition is November 15th.

Thank you so much for your consideration and signature, look forward to seeing you soon!!



Raj Loungani’s Statement of Interest for APA Resident-Fellow Member Trustee (RFMT) leadership position:

There is no doubt that Psychiatry as a field faces a multitude of unique challenges related to how to best provide effective mental health services that best meet the demands of the population as a whole; and to ensure that our medical and graduate training and research programs may not only maintain but rather garner increased emphasis of interest and funding, so we may continue growing the best mental health providers possible, while accelerating the rate of discovery that can ultimately lead to better treatments for mental illness in the United States and beyond. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act over the past five years, combined with continued stigmatization of the field and our patients with mental illness, budget cuts related to mental healthcare funding throughout the nation, and recent pharmaceutical mergers and acquisitions have only amplified the need for the American Psychiatric Association as Psychiatry’s premiere governing organization to have strong, steady, intelligent and experienced leadership to guide the field to become all it can be for the 21st century. Mental health parity is essential to safeguard adequate access and move toward a reasonable payment structure for psychiatric services that is comparable to other medical services. Given that most Americans receive their mental health services in their medical care home, together with the shortage of psychiatrists that has no clear end in sight, integrative and collaborative care models will continue to grow throughout the country to allow more efficient mental health service delivery with enhanced psychiatric and medical outcomes.

Such obstacles may become opportunities to improve the perception, standing, and practice of Psychiatry when APA leaders utilize their collective knowledge, skills, and passion regarding advocacy, governance, partnerships, and -- perhaps most importantly -- strong mentorship to recruit, engage, and perpetuate the development of future leaders of our field and the APA. I believe that under the right stewardship, Psychiatry and the APA can not only grow -- but flourish -- in terms of gaining prominence in medicine and in society at large. Given my experience working with various levels of leadership of the APA over the past year as an APA Public Psychiatry Fellow, a Representative to the Board of Trustees, and a member on the Council on Children, Adolescents and their Families, as well as a Resident Representative for the Brooklyn Psychiatric Society district branch, I am confident the APA has an abundance of talented, hard-working thought leaders and foot soldiers alike to carry the field in a positive direction. I enjoyed having the opportunity to construct a DSM-5 compatible position statement on Reactive Attachment Disorder and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder, to be sent to the Assembly and then hopefully the JRC before being referred to the Board for approval and implementation. As Resident-Fellow Member Trustee, I look forward to engaging trainees from the local to the international level to get at least as excited as I have by such opportunities, so they know that they too are able to voice their concerns and their desires regarding the stances and direction they wish for Psychiatry and the APA to take.

I have learned a great deal from the past three RFMTs and RFMT-Elects -- Drs. Lara Cox, Ravi Shah, and Stella Cai -- about not only what it takes to succeed in these positions, but also what are the challenges in engaging trainees from around the globe to realize the power they possess in numbers as being the future of Psychiatry and the APA. After the September Components meeting, Dr. Cai and I discussed the differences amongst the various APA Fellowships, and the multitude of wonderful opportunities afforded to us by the APA that most trainees do not take advantage of -- from applying to attend a White House Conference to writing an Action Paper regarding residency education -- and it was so heartening to find out that she was going to educate and engage dozens of trainees at the California Psychiatric Association meeting so they too could learn about the numerous reasons to want to get involved in the APA. My penchant for collaboration, advocacy, and utilizing a healthy social media presence were evident when I alerted the APA President and worked with the Communications Team over the past few months as part of a campaign to respond to Kenneth Cole’s billboard in New York that linked mental illness to gun violence. By applying my knowledge and leadership skills to analyze and optimize systems-level processes that I have honed from my military and public health training over 10 years ago through the last several months working with the Board to the district branch level of the APA -- with a particular public psychiatry emphasis on the integrative/collaborative care models that will only grow in significance to our field and in medicine in the ACA climate – I will continue to work with the Board of Trustees to tackle the tough challenges facing our field to reduce stigma against our patients and increase access to care while growing the APA with more RFM engagement and ultimately improving Psychiatry. I thank you wholeheartedly for considering my nomination, as it would be an honor to serve as the APA Resident-Fellow Member Trustee.

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