From The President… Joe Kenan, M.D.
When first I joined ASAP seven years ago, I saw the organization as a strong, vibrant, and thriving organization. The annual meetings were first-class, hosted at amazing hotels with excellent facilities. The President stayed in a Presidential Suite at the host hotel, complements of ASAP. The Board of Governors enjoyed splendid lunches and dinners, gratis, during the Board of Directors meeting. A several-hundred-page hardcover “annual” was produced yearly and sent to every member … etc., etc. … ***CHA-CHING*** Ahhh … The good old days.
I recall, next, attending my first Board of Governors’ meeting and learning the awful truth: the organization was hemorrhaging money. Although once the magnificent organization had a magnanimous reserve of over a hundred thousand dollars, the account was quickly nearing zero. Yearly expenditures outpaced receivables by bounds. Board Members openly “hoped” there would be an organization in a few years. I remember, during that meeting, eying the door and wondering how I could politely excuse myself and never return.
I’m glad I stuck it out. Over the years, the Board has made the necessary cuts to keep ASAP alive. Although I miss some of the perks and lavish displays of wealth, I am happier that the State of the Organization is the best it has been in years.
The 2010 ASAP annual conference was an unqualified success. We had more attendees than in any recent year; the venue at Cedars-Sinai was free, compliments of Psychological Trauma Center; the Cedar-Sinai Department of Addiction Services made a generous contribution of $10,000 to pay for CME; another donator provided the food; and the cocktail hour was hosted by The California Society for Adolescent Psychiatry.
Most important, the conference was a blast.
Due to what turned out to be a fortuitous error, our reservation at The Magic Castle was screwed up, which necessitated a brief meeting devoid of the usual pontifications.
Finally, ABAP (American Board of Adolescent Psychiatry) and ASAP merged. The ASAP governing board has established a new council on Board Certification in Adolescent Psychiatry with our own Richard Ratner, M.D. as council chair. The council is working to develop a new exam at this time but board certification for Adolescent Psychiatry is ALIVE AND WELL. Have a great summer, Joseph Kenan M.D.Read More...
State of ASAP by President Joe Kenan, M.D.
The State of ASAP is excellent. We are financially well off, and we have positioned ourselves to insure a vibrant future. A NEW website is in development; we have gone green (and economical) by having our first Fall Business Meeting by teleconference; and our committees are in full force.
This year’s annual conference in New York City is organized by President-Elect Dean DeCrise, M.D. The conference promises to be exciting and educational. Start planning now! Rather than step on his punch line, I point you to read his column about the conference.
Suicide among Gay Adolescents
Major news agencies’ reporting of five suicides within three weeks resulted in a national focus on this issue. Prime time television shows including “Dancing with the Stars”, “360 Anderson Copper”, and “Glee” brought special attention as well.
Two particularly notable cases include:
- Tyler Clementi, 18, was a student at Rutgers who jumped off the George Washington Bridge days after his roommate allegedly posted a video on the Internet taken from a hidden webcam of him having sexual relations with another man in his dormitory room. Rutgers University Professor Rob O’Brien revealed to ABC news that his was the second suicide at Rutgers this year. He said the first suicide also related to “sexual orientation” issue. Dr. O’Brien said, “Students have talked about their fears and talked about their need to have safe space and thus far the university hasn’t done anything of substance to address their concerns”. The interview appears at: http://abcnews.go.com/US/rutgers-campus-mourns-loss-18-year-tyler-tyler/story?id=11782324
- California teen Seth Walsh was 13 years old when he hanged himself after years of harassment. “The harassment and the teasing and the taunting just became too much,” Seth’s grandmother, Judy Walsh said at his memorial service. Police interviewed some of the young people who taunted Seth the day he died, but determined that their actions do not constitute a crime. More details appear at: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20018025-504083.html
- The statistics on the issue demonstrate the degree of the problem. One of the seminal works, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Youth Suicide: Gay Male and Lesbian Youth Suicide” (1989), reports:
o Suicide is the leading cause of death among gay and lesbian youth.
o Gay and lesbian youth are 2 to 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth.
o Over 30% of all reported teen suicides each year are committed by gay and lesbian youth.
Most recent studies echo these results and focus additional causal factors. I bring your attention to one:
- A 2009 study, “Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes,” reported that adolescents who were rejected by their families for being LGBT were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide.
The above finding demonstrates that family therapy is an essential intervention for psychiatrists working with LGBT adolescents to identify and correct real or perceived rejection.
On November 10, Cindy McCain appeared in an anti-bullying public service video where she said, “Our political and religious leaders tell LGBT youth that they have no future”. Ellen DeGeneres said on her TV show “We have an obligation to change this. There are messages everywhere that validate this kind of bullying and taunting and we have to make it stop. We can’t allow this to take another kid’s life.”
ASAP does not have any official position on the issue, but ASAP’s Legislative and Judicial Affairs Committee is currently drafting a position statement for ultimate vote by the ASAP membership. As your president, I am interested in your views about this emerging mental health issue, either in person at our upcoming annual meeting or by email. Joe Kenan M.D.Read More...