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President's Message

Electronic Fall 2022  |  Issue 52

President's Message 
By: Abdi Tinwalla, MD

It has been a busy few months for the Illinois Psychiatric Society.  I do want to thank all the council and executive council members, our GAC committee Chairs Dr. Kenneth Busch and Dr. Susan Scherer, our Director of Operations, Kristen Malloy and our Legislative Consultant, Mark Peysakovich for all their hard work in the past three months. We have been having numerous conference call and meetings on a weekly basis to achieve our goals for the year and to serve our members and our community. 

In continuing with our mission to build relationships with our elected officials and to serve our communities, we had the opportunity to participate in several health fairs during the summer. On June 11 we had the opportunity to co-sponsor the Community Health Fair in Rockford with Rosecrance and Representative Maurice West. 

On July 30, we participated in the Back-to-School Health Fair which was hosted by House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch at Proviso West High School in Hillside. IPS was represented by myself, Drs. James Mackenzie, Jasleen Singh, Karen Pierce, Susan Scherer, Adrienne Adams, M3 Student Christian Alfonso, and Kristen Malloy. Drs. Mackenzie and Singh delivered a presentation to the participants regarding mental health issues facing children as they returned to school. 

IPS was also involved in the Senior Health Fair hosted by Republican Leader of the Illinois House Jim Durkin and State Senator John Curran on August 24 in Lemont.  Several members from IPS (Drs. Shastri Swaminathan, Arun Pinto, Gunnbjorg Lavoll, Robert Edger, and myself) along with Kristen Malloy represented IPS at the health fair. The fair was well attended by the community members who were interested in learning about depression and anxiety and dealing with dementia and the resources available in the community.

In continuing our efforts to highlight mental health issues in our communities, IPS hosted a Legislative round table discussion on July 14, with Representative La Shawn Ford, Senator Adriane Johnson, and Representative Lindsey LaPointe that I had the pleasure of moderating. The discussion focused on the needs of the surrounding communities, increasing access to mental health care, gun control laws, and ways to get involved and work together with our elected officials.

Several IPS members participated in the Moore Equity in Mental Health 5K walk held on July 9th. The event helped raised funds to support mental health equity for young people of color, while promoting awareness and education about this imperative issue. Since we couldn't be in D.C. to join their walk in-person, we set up 7 local areas throughout the state of Illinois for our members and their families to participate. Members walked in Chicago, Evanston, Naperville, Peoria, Champaign, Springfield, and Benton. Thanks to our Area Team Leaders for helping make this year a success. We also far surpassed our goal of raising $1,000 and raised over $4,000 which put us in 2nd place from all the teams across the country! Congratulations and thank you to our Top Fundraiser, Dr. Laura Miller and all the participants for their efforts to make this event successful.  We recently had a congratulatory meeting with the APA Foundation leadership where they acknowledged the efforts by our members. 

Another exciting event was the Annual Rooftop Party for medical students, residents, and early career psychiatrists held on August 18. This was our first in-person event for our members since 2019.  This year, we opened it up to all young psychiatric professionals. We had over 50 early career psychiatrists, residents, and medical students in attendance for a fun filled evening of networking on a beautiful rooftop deck.  State Representative LaShawn Ford attended the event and addressed the attendees.  Special thanks to Dr. James MacKenzie, Dr. Jasleen Singh, Dr. Sudhakar Shenoy and Austin Gephart for their assistance in organizing this event. 

On the legislative front, this August, new legislation (House Bill 5776), expanding the scope of practice for prescribing psychologists, was introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives by state Rep. Maurice West. In 2021, we had expressed our strong opposition to this legislation’s previous iteration (Senate Bill 2272) because it sought to expand the scope of practice for prescribing psychologists without appropriate training, oversight, or safety measures. Both of these bills allow prescribing psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medications to children and seniors, and to allow them to prescribe all controlled substances other than opioid narcotics. We continue to oppose scope expansion for prescribing psychologists without appropriate safeguards in place to ensure patient safety. There is a chance that this dangerous legislation could come up in the Illinois General Assembly’s Veto Session this November. As we continue our advocacy efforts, we need to enlist the help of our fellow psychiatrists across Illinois. Please contact your local state Senator and Representative to make them aware of your opposition to House Bill 5776 and Senate Bill 2272 because they allow providers who are not trained physicians to prescribe dangerous drugs to vulnerable children and seniors without necessary safeguards. For additional information and help with your legislative outreach, please contact Kristen Malloy at kmalloy@ilpsych.org.

Finally, our planning committee lead by Joy Houston, MD, Chair of the IPS Planning Committee and Kristen Malloy, Director of Operations at IPS, has organized a great annual meeting event on October 8 at the Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook. There will be a career fair and networking events in the morning and 4 hours of CME sessions in the afternoon. This will be followed by an awards dinner to honor our colleagues. Our keynote speaker will be the Speaker of the House, Emanuel “Chris” Welch who will be speaking about the future of mental health policy in Illinois. I do want to congratulate all the awards recipients for their hard work and leadership!

Looking forward to seeing you all in person at the Annual Day celebrations!!
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