Guest Blog: Reflection on the First Virtual LPMA/MPA Annual Meeting

As part of PRMS’ ongoing commitment to behavioral health, we invited Doctor William Silver, PGY-III Psychiatry Resident at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, to be featured as a guest blogger this month. Dr. Silver reflects on his experience attending the first virtual Spring Meeting co-hosted by the Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association and the Mississippi Psychiatric Association, which PRMS sponsored.

It has been quite a year hasn’t it? The pandemic has affected everyone and significantly transformed the way we work, play, and socialize.  Life as we know it has been interrupted, and we are all left wondering: when will things get back to normal? While my magic eight ball provides little in the way of answers, I am hopeful that there is some normalcy returning to our lives. This is the first year that the Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association (LPMA) and Mississippi Psychiatric Association (MPA) held their joint Annual Spring Meeting virtually on February 26 and 27, 2021. While it was not the same as in previous years, it still brought the same great collegial atmosphere and excellent scholarship from prior meetings.

The LPMA/MPA Spring Meeting had many great presenters who addressed a number of critical issues facing mental health today. I had the opportunity to attend several talks on topics of racial equality, addictions, and child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Jessica Isom, MD, MPH, spoke about what it means to be anti-racist; defining terminology, examining history, and unearthing how racism is imbedded into mental health. I found her tips on improving mental health disparities insightful and practical. One particular interest of mine is the role of psychiatry in school mental health. Dr. Daniel Waldman, MD, presented a thorough history of how mental health was introduced into schools. He engaged the audience in thoughtful conversation about the role of psychiatry in school, its challenges, models of care, and solutions to help meet the mental health disparities for children.

In addition to coordinating and hosting a great Spring Meeting, both LPMA and MPA work to improve mental health by providing continuing education, policy-making, and legislative efforts.  Over the past year, I have had the fortune to serve as resident liaison for the MPA. I receive regular legislative updates describing the impacts of new legislation, as well as the work being done with our local and state representatives. During my time as liaison, I regularly witnessed the tireless efforts and accomplishments of the Executive Council members in advancing mental health in the profession and in our state. The mission of improving mental health is a challenging, complex one. I am continually impressed with the dedication of the MPA and its advocacy for our psychiatrists and those we serve.

The effort, ingenuity, and dedication of everyone who made this event possible, amidst a global pandemic, is impressive. I would like to thank all the wonderful people at MPA and LPMA along with all the sponsors, especially Professional Risk Management Services, who made this event possible and brought back some normalcy into our lives. I hope to see everyone in person next year.


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