History

The Washington Psychiatric Society (WPS), was founded in 1949. Over the past four decades, WPS has launched more than 150 motions [Action Papers] that have influenced the directions of the APA. Following are a few of the WPS motions. Below outlines specific events that transpired. There is also a full history about a group of Washington psychiatrists who came together to create the very first bylaws. Click on the image to the right to learn more.

1940's-1950's

  • Credo Pursuit of Excellence, Social Justice, and sharing good times together. African Americans and Caucasians could not meet in DC. The only place they could meet was at a National Airport restaurant. Ours may have been one of the very few integrated professional societies.

1950’s

  • Members of our DC group established the GWU Psychiatry Department.

1970's

  • APA authored book championing non-discrimination of mental health coverage by insurance companies [which DC had beginning in 1968]. Appendix had fallback position, not sure but guess 30 inpt days and 48 outpt sessions. WPS objected to the appendix which led the APA to give the book an appendectomy.
  • WPS, not trusting the APA to always champion complete non-discrimination, strengthened its Assembly team by including Oscar Legault who would quickly become Assembly most effective debater.

Within days of days of Legault coming to the Assembly, the APA joined a class action suit against St Es. BOT had voted 20-0 in favor.  Oscar had Assembly ask for a reconsideration and had Peele go to Board with the motion. BOT then voted 10-10, so prior motion held.  Peele, director at  St Es at that time, asked the SEH legal office to have the APA thrown out of the suit, which they did by going to a federal court.  Until this time, the Assembly [created in the 1950s] had not challenged a decision the Board had made.

Tied to WPS’s respect for DBs was its thinking that motions should begin at DB level and work their way through the APA’s democratic component, the Assembly, as opposed to motions beginning at Board or Committee level.

Assembly in 1974 had one voting Representative and one non-voting Deputy from each DB.  WPS was party, often the lead, on broadening the representation and on giving all members of the Assembly a vote.  In the list of Assembly representations infra, WPS was very active, if not the lead, in all except Early Career Psychiatrist representation.

-  All important professional values (e.g., group therapy)
-  All important identities (e.g., Black psychiatrists, homosexual psychiatrists)
- Members In Training
- Allied Organizations
- International members

 

Non-DB voters in Assembly now at about forty percent. 

1980’s

  • John Ray Act passed in DC Council. First parity and nondiscrimination piece of legislation in the nation regarding mental illness.
  • Washington DC Psychiatry President and Al Golub, WPS Executive Director, persuaded APA to bill $45.00 for our Society.
  • Washington DC Psychiatry Council developed a kitty for mental health policy and other DC initiatives. We were building on the momentum of the John Ray Act success.
  • Became known as DC Psychiatric Society.
  • Legault championed the concept that the Assembly have the governance power in the APA like the House of Delegates has in the AMA.  1980, WPS had a successful petition that Members vote to change the APA Constitution to give the Assembly the ultimate power within the APA. 1980 vote, 57% in favor. Needed 67%.  While motion failed, it was not lost on those involved in governance that most Members had voted in favor of the Assembly decide APA policies.

1990’s

  • Joins the AMA Campaign Against Family Violence.
  • A series of children’s workbooks focusing on conflict resolution developed including “I Can Choose” and “I Can Be.”
  • SAVE (Stop America’s Violence Everywhere) initiative launched.
  • “Hands are Not for Hitting” violence prevention workbooks developed in conjunction with SAVE.
  • First-aid kits provided to domestic violence shelters nationwide.
  • Outstanding Contributions to the Practice of Psychiatry Award given annually. Among those who received it, Senators Domenici & Wellstone for the 1996 Parity Amendment
  • Celebrated WPS' 50th Anniversary at JW Marriott's in Washington DC. The celebration took place the spring of 1999 with more than two hundred in attendance.

2000’s

  • Presidents' Awards Celebration passing the baton from one to the next President of DC Psychiatry. 
  • Three DC Psychiatry members have been MSDC Presidents in the past thirty years. We were always very close and quite involved with the Medical Society, together initiating DC policy.
  • Mental Health care should be integrated. Later WPS championed collaborative care model

Career Development Model begin within WPS and spreads to other DBs.

Sorel’s “Health Care, Including Mental Health Care Is a Human Right” reaches beyond APA and is adopted by the World Health Organization.

Interestingly, even though WPS sends its policy initiatives to the Assembly, it has still seen more of its Members become APA President than almost any other DB over the last two decades. None of these leaders infra ever represented WPS in the Assembly: 

​Jerry Weiner ​- 1995​
Mary Jane England – 1996
Harold Eist -1997
Carolyn Robinowitz - 2008