Letter From Our President

Theodore (Ted) Petti, MD
Adolescent Psychiatry President

Advances in the knowledge base and tools for assessment and treatment of adolescents and emerging adults have made our practice more exciting yet demanding than ever before. Understanding how contributions from molecular genetics, the neurosciences, psychopharmacology, and epidemiology as well as from the cognitive and social sciences are providing us the tools to improve the lives of our patients and communities even as the political environment presents both barriers and opportunities for enhanced care and services for youth and their families.  It is my privilege to serve as the 51st President of our Society of which I have been a member since 1974, in its early childhood, speaking developmentally for both ASAP and my own career. This was an exciting time with psychoanalysis in its maturity, psychopharmacology in its nascent stage of becoming more relevant in clinical practice, and more emphasis on adolescent development and psychopathology.

Titles of our recent Annual Meetings have reflected some of the conflicting and growth-enhancing features of our working environment – “Back to Our Roots” in 2017 and “Beyond Our Roots” in 2018. Our Society’s membership has continued to evolve with major contributions from young, dynamic, adventuresome psychiatrists and related mental health professionals with whom I was privileged to associate. The newly elected ASAP leadership views the many conflicts in our field as a worthy challenge in engaging our members to become more active in learning through varied ASAP educational efforts. These offerings include our Annual Meetings, our journal, Adolescent Psychiatry, our Newsletter, and our review courses that recognizes our special expertise in the understanding and treatment of adolescent an emerging adult development and psychiatric disorders and provides a base of knowledge for certification by the Council of Certification in Adolescent Psychiatry.  We have broadened our scope of practice to more formally include the special needs of emerging adults.

We expect to work even harder this coming year to make the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry relevant to your practice and to the lives of adolescents and emerging adults. My expectation is that our Executive Committee, Governing Board, and administrative support to be more responsive to the needs or our members. In this process, we are reorganizing our administrative structure to better reflect the realities of today. Greater emphasis will be placed upon active membership involvement in ASAP Ad Hoc committees focused on both populations, (e.g., College students, Substance users, Chronically ill), Advocacy, and special areas (Forensics, Public policy, Media relations).  We expect these committees to recommend: policies for the Society to consider for advocacy and improved membership benefits; topics and presenters for the Annual Meeting or Review Courses; and changes in our Society to meet the opportunities and barriers in our politically charged work and living environments.

The Annual Meeting Program Committee is determining the location and date for 2019. The Administration and Organization Committee is developing a Manual detailing the roles and duties of elected officers and will be revising the Bylaws to better resonate with a resurgent organization that means to play a more active role in constructively guiding clinical practice and public policy.  Our Strategic Planning Committee will begin formulating a course of planning and action that is expected to provide a blueprint for the coming decade.

A call for action will soon be sent to our members with the hope that you will respond with active participation and enthusiasm. There are multiple opportunities to engage at all levels of our Society.   We expect that you will find that joining with colleagues, in mutual activity to better the lives of our patients, their families, and our communities, will provide you with the satisfaction that such activity and its effect on society at large can bring. We wish that you will encourage trainees and early career psychiatrists and other mental health professional to join with us as members and colleagues. ASAP should be particularly inviting to trainees and early career psychiatrists for whom adolescents and emerging adults represent a significant proportion of their practice or interest. As an ASAP member they can be more actively involved in discussing issues and proposed actions and more quickly work with senior members of the field for mentoring and support. All members and trainee members have access through ASAP to opportunities for leadership and in making a positive difference. We hope that you will be able to join with us to keep ASAP relevant in a time of much uncertainty.

Respectfully yours,

Theodore (Ted) A. Petti, MD, MPH
President, American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry
Professor, Psychiatry, Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School