Fall 2014

President's Message
Karen L. Weihs, MD, APS President

Greetings, colleagues and friends,
The American Psychosomatic Society is thriving as we near the end of 2014. Our strategic plan (see insert) continues to propel us forward. Enthusiastic members work on Committees and Task Forces throughout the year, and share cutting edge science at our Annual Meeting and in our journal, Psychosomatic Medicine.

As your President for 2014-2015, I encourage you to find your niche and reap the benefits of active engagement with your fellow members of this dynamic organization. Our mission is ambitious. We learn diverse scientific languages to do our work within teams of people from vastly different professional backgrounds. We advocate to policy makers and administrators of our institutions, governments and other professional organizations to recognize the power of the biopsychosocial model for advancing health care in the 21st century. We take our ever expanding knowledge into our clinical work, or to support our clinician colleagues, who can test its benefits for the health of diverse patient populations. And, most importantly, we do this with a spirit of adventure, reveling in our discoveries and supporting one another as psychosomatic medicine professionals and as members of the American Psychosomatic Society.

Your APS Council members work diligently to advance the goals of our organization, and as the leader of the Council I would like to share some of the highlights reported at our recent Council Meeting. Each Council member is liaison to an APS Committee or Task Force and brings the vast contributions of many contributing APS members to the attention of leadership. Please be assured, your contributions are welcome and the APS Council members are available to hear your ideas for building on the success of our esteemed 70 year history as an organization.

Our inter-disciplinary and demographic diversity is a distinct strength of the Society. Two initiatives, launched under the leadership of Mike Irwin, MD as APS president in 2011, continue to build on this disciplinary breadth. These initiatives - The Mid-Year Meeting and the Young Investigators Colloquium - are successfully addressing their goals, including: 1) target non-member constituencies who share a high level of common interests with the Society, but who are not yet aware of the value of membership in our organization, 2) focus our energy and resources on membership core needs to ensure a high level of retention across disciplines, and 3) facilitate the transition of Associate Members to full Membership status.

We paused in 2014 to review the experience from our Mid-Year Meetings of 2012 & 20131. Updated objectives and procedures for this event, which appear here in this newsletter, guided the creation of the APS 2015 Mid-Year Meeting Steering Committee. It includes Doug Drossman, MD as the APS member Conference Chair, Matt Muldoon, MD as the Past Leader representative, along with Mustafa al'Absi, PhD and me as the Council representatives. Doug Drossman, MD and Magnus Simren, MD will co-chair the 2015 Mid-Year meeting on Brain-Gut Interactions and the Intestinal Microenvironment. It has been endorsed by the American Gastroenterology Association Institute for education. Stay tuned for further details of the meeting.

The Young Investigators Colloquium offers our Associate Members transitioning to independent investigator status the opportunity for intensive mentorship during a half day of scientific review in small groups with Past Leaders as mentors, along with an opening Keynote and sharing across groups for maximal impact from all groups and mentors. Thanks to Richard Lane, MD, PhD, Scott Matthews, MD and Jos Bosch, PhD who led this enrichment activity over the past three years.

Our Professional Education Committee has been especially productive this year, under the leadership of Karl Maier, PhD, Co-Chair (2016) and Eva Szigethy, MD, Co-Chair (2017). The APS website now offers beautifully organized educational materials produced by APS members to help each of us stay current across the diversity of psychosomatic medicine content areas. These are great resources to share with our students and professional colleagues, providing both the foundational and emerging scientific basis of our field. The materials are showcased in the updated Educational Resources section of our website. They are organized under the headings of: Biopsychosocial Aspects of Physical Systems and Diseases; Developmental and Contextual Factors in Health and Disease; Focused Biopsychosocial Problem Areas; Biopsychosocial Aspects of Clinical Practice; Methods, Mechanisms and Basic Research; Education and Curriculum; External Resources and Links; and Workshops & Specialized Conferences. I urge you to check them out and enjoy the thrill of learning from them.

The Textbook Editorial Group of the Professional Education Committee, led by Shari Waldstein, PhD is aiming to complete work on Behavioral and Social Science in Medicine: Principles and Practice of Biopsychosocial Care by the end of 2015.

A successful Mini-Med School was sponsored by this committee at our 2014 meeting and another is planned for 2015. Thanks to Jesse Stewart, PhD and Eva Szigethy, MD for leading this effort, and to Serina Neumann, PhD and Ian Kronish, MD, MPH who are co-chairing the 2015 Mini-Med School: "Acute Coronary Syndrome, Stroke, and Peripheral Arterial Disease: Cells to Community and Back."

Recordings of the Plenary Sessions from our 73rd Annual APS meeting will be done for the first time, as a result of the energetic contributions made by members of the Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI). Their contributions to the Membership, Professional Education and Program Committees have been coordinated by Holly Rau, MS.

Appealing to clinical members, along with retaining and enlarging physician membership has been addressed by the Membership Committee, led by Jos A. Bosch, PhD, Co-Chair (2015) and Leo Pozuelo, MD, FACP, FAPM, Co-Chair (2016). Their efforts are reflected in two clinically oriented Symposia for the 2015 Annual Meeting: Psychosomatic Medicine in Practice: International Approaches and A Psychosomatic Approach to Treating High Healthcare Utilizers. An Ad-Hoc Task Force concerning physician / clinician engagement was recommended and approved by Council. This Task Force is charged with four tasks: 1) determining the perception of the APS from current physicians and clinicians, 2) assessing the current clinical impact of the APS and Psychosomatic Medicine to clinical psychiatrists and psychologists, 3) exploring with current existing APS committees gaps and future opportunities to raise the clinical relevance of APS activities and meetings and 4) delivering concrete proposals to the Council to sustain and grow the clinical relevance of the APS for practicing consultation liaison (CL) psychiatrist and psychologists.

Congratulations to the recipients of funding for Psychosomatic Medicine Interest Groups this year: 1) Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 2) Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine 3) UCLA Geffen School of Medicine, which were selected by the Membership Committee through a competitive process.

Our journal, Psychosomatic Medicine, has a rising impact factor, under the leadership of Willem Kop, PhD and his associate editors. I thank each of you who publish in our journal and who provide top rate and timely manuscript reviews to keep our science fresh and dynamic.

Peter Gianaros, PhD has led the Awards Committee for the past three years and will be succeeded by Sue Everson Rose, PhD in 2015. Presentations by the following awardees will enrich our 2015 meeting in Savannah, and they will be joined by the to-be-selected recipient of the Donald Oken Fellowship:
Helen Mayberg, MD (Paul D. MacLean Award)
David Shapiro, PhD (Distinguished Scientist Award)
Christine Heim, PhD (Patricia R. Barchas Award)
Sarah Pressman, PhD (Herbert E. Weiner Early Career Award)

Special Interest Groups (SIG) deepen APS impact in areas of special interest to our members. Please visit the SIG section of the website to learn about:

Global Health, led by Motohiro Nakajima, PhD, Co-Chair Mustafa al'Absi, PhD
Sexual Minority Health led by Eli Puterman, PhD
Diversity Initiative led by Tene Lewis, PhD

I am honored to work in partnership with each of you, and with Sarah Shiffert, Laura Degnon and Ellen Pak of Degnon Associates, to keep the ship of APS sailing the seas of psychosomatic medicine toward the integration of biological, psychological and social factors in medicine.

Be well and enjoy each and every day.


1. Materials from the 2012 meeting: Toward Precision Cancer Care: Biobehavioral Contributions to the Exposome are available at the APS website at: http://www.psychosomatic.org/AnMeeting/PDF/APS2012ONCOLOGYPROGRAM.pdf and http://www.psychosomatic.org/bbo/program.cfm. A special issue of Psychosomatic Medicine will feature information from the 2013 Mid-Year Meeting: Diabetes, Obesity and the Brain.