Susan Lutgendorf, PhD, APS President
It has been a great honor and a pleasure to serve as President of APS and I am very grateful to have had this opportunity as I look upon APS as my “professional home”. I have enjoyed working closely with the members of the Executive Committee, Dr. Tica Hall, Immediate Past President, Dr. Karen Weihs, President-Elect, and Dr. Urs Nater, Secretary-Treasurer as well as with the Council over the past year. Starting after the Fall Council meeting in October 2013, the Council, which has now been streamlined to 9 people beginning in March 2014, implemented a new communication structure, whereby the entire Council now participates in monthly planning calls to more fully participate in leadership decisions. This spring, Drs. Maria Llabre, Scott Matthews and Paige McDonald will be rotating off of Council after 3 years of dedicated service, and we will be welcoming two new Council members, Drs. Erin Costanzo and Tara Gruenewald.
Much has been accomplished this past year. Our first major order of business following the 2013 Miami meeting was to complete the hotly debated identity/name change voting process. First the membership identified “Association for Biopsychosocial Medicine” as the favored alternative name. The vote in June 2013 on adopting this option vs. retaining American Psychosomatic Society favored retaining the name of American Psychosomatic Society. Following the vote, Council determined that a greater emphasis on dissemination regarding the goal and mission of the Society would help spread the work of the Society. To this end we have undertaken several initiatives, including formulating several changes to update the website as our public “face” to make it more user friendly and to more easily enable viewers to learn basic information about the Society. (For more about dissemination initiatives see the article by Tica Hall in this issue).
In October 2013 APS hosted our second annual one-day specialty conference entitled “Diabetes, Obesity, and the Brain” in Arlington, Virginia. This meeting, masterfully chaired by Dr. Sue Everson-Rose with the very dedicated work of the planning committee, Drs. John Ryan, Andreana Haley, Tica Hall, and Maria Llabre, provided a fascinating overview of current high-impact topics and active debates in the field of neural consequences of obesity, diabetes, and their related complications. The meeting was highly interactive, with animated discussions and interchange, and although participation by Federal employees was hampered by the government shutdown, we all felt that the meeting had achieved its goal of stimulating interchange in this cutting-edge field and promoting the visibility of APS. Plans for our next one day meeting are underway.
The Young Investigator Colloquium, which had its debut at the 2013 meeting, was highly successful, providing a forum for a select group of 25 young investigators to meet in small groups with 10 Past Leader mentors for research and career development. We will be holding another Young Investigator Colloquium in San Francisco with another talented group of 25 young investigators and 10 Past Leaders as mentors.
We have two new Special Interest Groups (SIGs) (Sexual Minority Health, chair: Dr. Eli Puterman, and Global Health, co-chairs: Drs. Moto Nakajima and Mustafa al'Absi).
Coming up is our 2014 Annual Meeting which will be held in San Francisco, March 12-15, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. Dr. Kristen Salomon from the University of South Florida has done a magnificent job of leading the program committee this year, with the excellent help of the program committee members. The meeting theme is “Stretching the Boundaries: From Mechanisms of Disease to Models of Health,” and is designed to highlight various ways in which our field is expanding and changing. “Stretching the Boundaries” involves embracing new technologies from e-medicine to greater utilization of genomic and neuroscience perspectives as part of our understanding of Psychosomatic Medicine. It involves greater integration of Complementary and Alternative/Integrative medicine perspectives and technologies with Psychosomatic Medicine, as well as ways to support the well-being of patients and communities with our research and discoveries. We have a wonderful lineup of featured speakers including Gary Gibbons, MD, Director of the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute who will be talking about his recent research on health disparities; Wayne Katon, MD, Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Washington who will be discussing integration of mental health service models into primary care settings;Margaret Chesney, PhD, Director, UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, UCSF School of Medicine who will be discussing research in integrative medicine, and Steve Cole, PhD, Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA who will be talking about computational bioinformatics.
Finally, I would like to thank all the dedicated staff of Degnon Associates who work diligently behind the scenes to make our organization work smoothly and orchestrate our meetings. I look forward to seeing you at our 72nd Annual Meeting, March 12-15 in San Francisco. Until then, be well and take good care.