Guest Blog: Reflection on the 2023 Advocacy Conference - Professional Risk Management Services

Guest Blog: Reflection on the 2023 Advocacy Conference

As part of our ongoing commitment to behavioral health, PRMS is pleased to feature Dr. Alyssa Ciera Smith, PGY-4 psychiatry resident at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, IN, and a member of the Indiana Psychiatric Society, as a guest blogger this month. Dr. Smith shares more about her experience attending the Federal Advocacy Conference last October in Washington, DC.    

I initially became interested in psychiatry during medical school, as I realized how much impact mental health had on all areas of patients’ health, including chronic medical conditions and adherence to care. Seeing how much psychiatrists and therapists helped their patients inspired me, and I was humbled by how many sensitive details – past traumas, stressors, etc. - patients were willing to share with their providers.

My interests in psychiatry include consultation-liaison psychiatry – I am planning to do a fellowship next year – and medical student education. I’m originally from Texas and completed medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. I was drawn to Indiana because of the residency program – the residents and faculty were very welcoming and kind, and I could see myself thriving at the program.

This past fall, I attended the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Federal Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC, on October 16-17, 2023. Improving access to mental health care for my patients is important to me, and I was excited to receive the opportunity to advocate for this at the national level. Too often, I have seen my patients struggle with accessing care, due to finances and due to provider shortages. As untreated mental health conditions lead to worsened outcomes and decreased quality of life, improving access is critical.

The first day of the conference consisted of meetings, group sessions, and trainings to prepare for meeting with congressional members and staff the following day. This included discussing bills of interest to the APA, hearing from a panel of staffers to get their perspectives, and breakout sessions to discuss key bills and learn tips on how to present to lawmakers.

On the following day, we met with congressional members and staff. Meetings were done in a group, with three to four APA representatives (including myself and other psychiatrists) and the congressional member and/or their staff.

This year’s conference targeted advocacy efforts included behavioral health integration, enhancing the psychiatric workforce, physician payment reform, and decreasing maternal mortality.  

Attending the conference made me more aware of legislative decisions being made at the national level, and gave me confidence in my ability to advocate for patients in the future. Additionally, I hope that the conference and the work done will have a positive impact on mental health care legislation in the years to come!

Group photo of physicians who attended the 2023 Federal Advocacy Conference


Click here to learn more about the superior psychiatry-specific insurance program and comprehensive services offered by PRMS.

4300 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203
(800) 245-3333  |

Professional Risk Management Services® © 2024

Actual terms, coverages, conditions and exclusions may vary by state and are subject to underwriting. Insurance coverage provided by
Fair American Insurance and Reinsurance Company (FAIRCO), New York, NY (NAIC 35157). FAIRCO is an authorized carrier in California, ID number 3715-7.
PRMS, The Psychiatrists' Program and the PRMS Owl are registered Trademarks of Transatlantic Holdings, Inc., a parent company of FAIRCO.