Supporting the Future of Psychiatry

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Psychiatrists know the importance of treating people living with psychiatric disorders but in recent years, psychiatric care has become more difficult to access. One reason is the number of new psychiatrists coming out of medical school is not keeping up with demand.

The Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Foundation (OPPF) – the non-profit charitable foundation of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association (OPPA) – recently launched “Consider Psychiatry,” a campaign designed to recruit more Ohio medical students to the field. It’s part of the Foundation’s goal to foster learning and support initiatives that encourage medical students to choose the discipline.

The Foundation hopes to partner with Ohio medical schools and psychiatry departments to mentor and financially support medical students during electives so they can gain exposure to psychiatry.

“With the increasing need for mental health services, there has never been a more important time to proactively recruit medical students to go into psychiatry and to stay in Ohio,” said Foundation President Dr. Dale Svendson, MD, a Columbus, Ohio, psychiatrist.

How real is the shortage? According to estimates, more than 55 percent of psychiatrists practicing in the United States are age 55 or older. Likewise, the percentage of US medical students choosing residencies in psychiatry declined about 25 years ago. Meanwhile, the number of psychiatry residents has remained essentially flat over the past two decades, despite steady increases in both the US population and number of medical students and physicians.

Meanwhile, demand for mental and substance use care is increasing and mental health parity is more and more a part of health care reform.

As one of the Foundation’s ongoing supporters, PRMS contributed $1,000 and recently was a sponsor of the Foundation’s 65th anniversary reception and silent auction, held March 15 in Columbus. The event was hosted by The Ohio State University Department of Psychiatry and drew about 75 psychiatrists, Foundation and Association members and leaders, residents, medical students and a PRMS representative.

“With expanded resources, like the support provided by PRMS, the OPPF will play a significant role in nurturing tomorrow’s psychiatrists today,” said Janet Shaw, MBA, Executive Director of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association.

For the silent auction, PRMS donated a fun, Freud-themed gift basket that included Freudian “slips” sticky notes with sayings like “When you say one thing – but mean your mother,” a “Freudian Sips” mug, action figure and even Freudian “slippers.” The item was a big hit – a bidding war ensued!

The OPPA Annual Psychiatric Update, with a theme of “Tomorrow’s Psychiatry Today – the Evolving Practice of Mental Health,” was held the following day. The Foundation worked with Ohio psychiatrists to support and mentor a medical student to attend. PRMS sponsored the luncheon and was one of a dozen exhibitors, represented by Austin Main, a PRMS senior account advisor.

The OPPA, a district branch of the American Psychiatric Association, is a statewide medical specialty organization whose more than 1,000 physician members working hard to help ensure the highest quality psychiatric care for Ohioans now and in the future. The Foundation also provides:

 • Enlightenment awards. The Foundation encourages members of the media to educate the public about mental illnesses as treatable medical illnesses and to counter the stigma surrounding people with psychiatric disorders. Each year, it recognizes members of the media across the state with “Enlightenment Awards.”

 • Research support. The Foundation presents annual awards to Ohio medical students, psychiatry residents, and OPPA members for research and publishing that advance psychiatric knowledge and outcomes.

For more information on the Foundation, please contact Janet Shaw, MBA, Executive Director of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association at jshaw@ohiopsychiatry.org.

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