HomeNews & EventsPublicationsMind Matters - Winter 2021IPS 2021 Annual Meeting

IPS 2021 Annual Meeting

Electronic Winter 2021  |  Issue 49

IPS 2021 Annual Meeting – A Mix of Ethics and Equity Education with Chocolate and Comedic Relief
By:  Nik Raju, MD
(PGY-3 Psychiatry Resident at Chicago Medical School - Rosalind Franklin University)
What do Adderall and chocolate have in common? Adderall is a stimulant medication composed of a racemic mixture of amphetamine salts. Chocolate is a well-known dessert containing many chemicals with stimulant properties, including caffeine, theobromine, and phenylethylamine, according to chocolatier Uzma Sharif. Maybe this is one of the reasons why many of us feel more ebullient after indulging in chocolate, as well as why some of us have times when we crave chocolate and will go to great lengths to obtain more at the local store.

One of the highlights of this year’s Illinois Psychiatric Society annual meeting - held virtually over Zoom – was the chocolate tasting event, led by Uzma Sharif, the owner of Chocolat Uzma in Chicago. Conference participants were mailed four chocolate bars of differing blends and cacao bean strength as well as a sample of chocolate truffles prior to the conference – it was an exercise of delayed gratification not to eat the chocolates prior to the conference. Ms. Sharif provided an introduction to chocolate tasting, including how to appreciate the different aromas and flavors contained in each unique blend of chocolate. Just like practicing our craft of psychiatry, making and appreciating chocolate has various intricacies and nuances, which can be hard to appreciate while devouring a chocolate bar.

The chocolate tasting class was later followed by an entertaining performance by the Therapy Players, an improv comedy troupe consisting of psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. Conference participants were supplied with a package of microwave popcorn to enjoy during the performance and were encouraged to participate by providing suggestions for improv scenes. This witty and talented group - who also performs at venues across Chicagoland - very cleverly provided psychodynamic interpretations of various common life and work experiences in our specialty.

Conference participants also deepened their understanding of the ethical issues inherent to psychiatry. Dr. David Baron, a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University and former chairman of the Illinois Psychiatric Society Ethics Committee, shared an entertaining yet informative video that was developed for an American Psychiatric Association initiative on the subtle ethical issues that are unique in psychiatry in relation to other medical specialties. Dr. Christina Girgis, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, continued on the theme of ethics by sharing her experience on how social media can positively be utilized not only to advocate for our specialty but also to amplify our voice on mental health issues in the public sphere.
Conference participants also gained a broader understanding of racial/ethnic disparities and efforts underway to reduce them in psychiatry. Dr. Regina James, Chief of the Division of Diversity & Health Equity at the American Psychiatric Association, shared the history of health disparities among racial/ethnic groups in psychiatry and medicine as a whole, as well as the efforts by the APA to reduce these disparities. Dr. Susan Rogers, President of Physicians for a National Health Program, then followed with data on how a universal health care program could help reduce these disparities and healthcare costs in addition to improving quality of care.

Overall, this year’s annual Illinois Psychiatric Society virtual conference successfully achieved its objectives. Not only did the conference enhance participants’ knowledge in ethics and equity in psychiatry, but it also provided for the social aspects of in-person conferences that we’ve been missing out on during this pandemic, including food, laughs, and an opportunity to connect with our colleagues.

The 2021 Annual Meeting Recordings
Registrants: If you missed part or all of the meeting and would like a recording, please contact kmalloy@ilpsych.org.
Didn't register but would like to view the recorded sessions? You are in luck! Recordings are available to IPS members for purchase at the rate of $15. Purchase the meeting HERE and you will receive the recording link via email within 24 hours.
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