Monday, 31 August 2015

Of achievement and excellence: What it means to be a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes some of its most pre-eminent members through its fellowship program, which calls for a member's continuing dedication to the association's work toward the development of the science and practice of psychiatry.

When it comes to obligations, there are few differences between general members and fellows. They pay the same annual rates and have access to the APA's extensive library of tools and resources. To be eligible for the fellowship, however, a psychiatrist must not only meet the criteria to become an APA General Member and have board certification. They would then be subject to a 30-day review by the Membership Committee and voted upon by the Board of Trustees.

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Apart from additional opportunities and recognition from peers, fellows also receive an embossed fellow certificate and a lapel pin. Newly-appointed fellows are publicly recognized at the Convocation of Distinguished Fellows, which is held during the APA's annual meetings.

Going beyond this recognition is distinguished fellowship, awarded to particularly outstanding psychiatrists. As the highest membership honor the APA bestows on members, the distinguished fellowship is far more than mere competence.

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Candidates for distinguished fellows must have made significant contributions to the psychiatric profession in any five of the following areas: administration, teaching, scientific and scholarly publications, volunteering in mental health and medical activities of social significance, community involvement, and clinical excellence. They have a set of strict criteria for eligibility, including a minimum of eight years as an APA General Member or Fellow.  

Jonathan B. Lauter, M.D., has been a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association since 2012. Subscribe to this blog for more articles on the field of psychiatry.

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