Letter From Our President 

First, I would like to say how honored and privileged I am to serve as the 49th President of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry (ASAP).  Since I joined ASAP I felt privileged to be part of an organization dedicated to the mental health issues that plague the youth of our nation.  The professional dedication to the caring of this population, is in my opinion, one of the noblest virtues a physician can have, since our youth represents the future of society.  During my years as a member, my admiration for ASAP has never diminished, even as we have navigated through difficult challenges.  My respect for the organization and its members has only become stronger as I’ve witnessed the tenacity of our leadership in meeting the challenges and developing solutions to enhance and ensure that our membership continues to thrive.

It is an exciting time to be a member of ASAP, as it has started to meet new goals making a reality the visions of our membership.  Thanks to the efforts made by our leadership revamping our administration, upgrading the tools needed to manage our membership efficiently, enticing new members to join ASAP, and fortifying our committees with capable, enthusiastic, and energetic professionals, the organization is heading into a new era providing a forum for adolescent psychiatrists to learn, teach, develop innovations, share experiences, and discuss (and hopefully solve) problems, in delivering mental health services to our youth.  For those who were able to attend the meeting in New York City in 2016 you had the opportunity to mingle, learn, and have face-to-face interactions with leading adolescent psychiatrists who discussed their areas of expertise in our review course.  During our 2016 meeting we also had the largest number of Adolescent Psychiatry Board Diplomates’ renewals of their certifications than we had in many years.

 My theme for 2016-2017 is Our Past Reflects Our Future; Adolescences and Emerging Adulthood.  As we head into the future, we also need to be mindful of our past.  Although the name of the organization suggests that ASAP is a medical organization dedicated to adolescent psychiatry, it has also, informally, focused on the immediate years after adolescence.  The existence of a developmental stage of life in-between adolescences and adulthood has been acknowledged by other professional organizations and clinicians/theorizers, such as Erik Erickson (our own 1991 Shonfeld Award winner).  ASAP even considered changing it’s name over a decade ago to reflect the acknowledgement of this stage, but the scientific data was still lacking.  Although the existence of this developmental stage is not new, the recent neurophysiological evidence demonstrates that the emerging adults’ brains continue to develop well into their twenties.  Thus, it has become clear that individuals undergoing the emerging adulthood phase deal with specific bio-psycho-social variables affecting their mental health needs.  I strongly believe that in the foreseeable future, ASAP will formally expand its scope and become a leading psychiatric organization focusing on the emerging adult population as well as the adolescent population.   

Finally, I am very confident that the 2017 meeting, which will also be in New York City, will be every bit as exciting as the 2016 meeting.  Not only do we expect to have a line-up of top-notch speakers, but the committee dedicated to the American Board of Adolescent Psychiatry has decided to offer the Adolescent Psychiatry Board Exam again during the 2017 meeting.  I hope to see you in New York next March!