Guest Blog: Washington Psychiatric Society

Guest Blog: Washington Psychiatric Society

As a part of PRMS’ ongoing commitment to behavioral health, we invited Joanne Dunne, CAE, Washington Psychiatric Society Executive Director to be featured as our guest blogger this month.

We would like to share exciting news about the Washington Psychiatric Society (WPS) and big plans it has for this year.

In addition to an impressive slate of timely CME topics covering everything from big data in psychiatry and telepsychiatry, apps, and integrative care, WPS will offer training for early career psychiatrists in the logistics of starting a practice. The group also recently laid the groundwork for a new educational foundation.

WPS, a district branch of the APA, celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. It has 930 members and is unique because it encompasses three geographic jurisdictions – the District of Columbia and its Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs.

Education is a major focus and WPS is rolling out a new meeting format this year that it hopes will improve membership retention and member connections.  Previously there were four half-day CME programs annually.  Now WPS will deliver CME programs in two full-day symposia each with two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon following lunch.

On April 6, the 2019 Presidential Symposium took place at The University Club of Washington, D.C. and the morning session covered “Big Data in Psychiatry: Promises and Perils.” The afternoon session addressed “21st Century Models of Clinical Practice” and covered telepsychiatry, apps, and integrative care.

Mansoor Malik, MD, MBA, FAPA, WPS President, Victoria Chevalier, RPLU, PRMS Assistant Vice President Underwriting, and Joanne Dunne, CAE, WPS Executive Director at the 2019 Presidential Symposium. Mansoor Malik, MD, MBA, FAPA, WPS President, Victoria Chevalier, RPLU, PRMS Assistant Vice President Underwriting, and Joanne Dunne, CAE, WPS Executive Director at the 2019 Presidential Symposium.

“The goal is to consolidate training in a single day and offer members a little longer window of time to come together and network,” said Joanne Dunne, CAE, WPS Executive Director. The WPS Fall Symposium and annual meeting is scheduled for September 14, 2019, and its programming will be educational and innovative.

Timely topics covered in WPS CME programs have included nutrition and psychiatry, cannabis, Ketamine use for treatment-resistant depression and brain stimulation. Dunne said “WPS programs have grown in popularity and typically draw about 60 to 70 people to each.”

Helping Younger Members

Because early-career psychiatrists and psychiatry students typically get little or no training about business nuts and bolts, fixing that is a big WPS initiative this year. Thanks to several grants, including a $10,000 2019 Innovative Grant from the APA and another from Area 3, WPS is presenting two programs this year.

In July, a half-day program for fourth-year residents and early-career psychiatrists will cover developing your brand. While a full-day program, in October, will address developing a practice, contract negotiations, getting health insurance, loan consolidation and pension planning.

In addition to setting new practitioners up for success, WPS hopes to get this cohort more involved with Society leadership by serving on its board and committees. “We want to get them more engaged with us because, of course, this is the future,” Dunne said.

New Foundation Launched

Last year, WPS incorporated the new WPS Educational Foundation and applied for nonprofit status from the IRS. In February, it received approval and the Foundation now houses CME and other programming. WPS hopes the Foundation will give it a more visible presence in the D.C. area and eventually also will offer educational programs for consumers about mental health issues, how to select a psychiatrist, treatment trends and more.

WPS President Mansoor Malik, MD, MBA, FAPA, who steps down in May 2019, said “he is proud of how WPS engages members and takes their pulse to learn what programming would interest them, as well as growing membership. WPS membership has increased 5% since 2017, which for WPS is significant.” Meanwhile, retention has grown to 92% in the past 18 months. Malik, a professor and director of the Psychiatry Residency Program at Howard University Hospital in Washington, added, “We are here for the members.”

PRMS is a platinum sponsor of WPS and helps support costs for the Society’s educational programs. It also sends representatives to CME programs and provides educational materials related to managing risk in the mental health practice.

“PRMS has been a terrific supporter of ours for a number of years,” Dunne said. “They’re just lovely people – they’re really nice to work with – but from a business perspective, they are also excellent partners.”

“The feeling is mutual” said Melanie Smith, PRMS Senior Vice President, Client Relations.  “We are pleased to continue our support of WPS and the important initiatives it is undertaking to provide education on timely topics in behavioral healthcare.

For more information about WPS, visit, email or call (201) 449-8538.

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Authored by PRMS.


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