The membership of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has chosen Altha Stewart, M.D., as its next president-elect. She is first African-American to lead the APA, which dates back to 1844. She is also the fourth consecutive woman chosen to lead the association. The results were made public today, but are not official until the APA Board of Directors confirms the election at its March meeting.
Stewart is Associate Professor of Psychiatry/Director, Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth, at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. Her career has spanned three decades of public sector administration, including director of public behavioral health systems in Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.
I am honored and humbled by my selection by my fellow members, Stewart said. The APA and the profession of psychiatry have made great strides in the past several years, but much more work is needed. We have to take a proactive role to ensure that our patients receive the quality psychiatric treatment they deserve. We live in trying times, but Im excited to take on this leadership role.
Stewart has held numerous APA leadership positions including secretary of the Board of Trustees; president of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation; chair of the Conflict of Interest Committee and the Minority Fellowship Selection Committee; and member of the Joint Reference Committee and the Council on Advocacy and Government Relations. She also served as president of Association of Women Psychiatrists and president of the Black Psychiatrists of America.
Among Stewarts priorities as APA president, when she assumes that role in May 2018, are:
Advocate for regulatory and fiscal policy realignment and accountable payment structures at federal and local levels.
Improve communication with members and strengthen relationships with medical colleagues to expand access through collaborative care models.
Work to make APA relevant to members to promote increased member involvement at all levels and lead efforts to expand mentoring and leadership opportunities for Resident Fellow Members and Early Career Psychiatrists.
This was an historic election for the APA, reflecting the wide diversity of the organization, which is our strength, said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. I look forward to working with Dr. Stewart and want to personally congratulate all the winners. I also want to salute the other candidates.
Stewarts term as president-elect of the APA, once confirmed by the board, will begin this May at the conclusion of the APA Annual Meeting in San Diego, when current President-Elect Anita Everett, M.D., begins her one-year term as president.