The Washington Psychiatric Society (WPS), was founded in 1949. Members were both
Caucasians and African Americans and Caucasians. Members of the two races could not
meet in DC together. The only place they could meet was at a National Airport restaurant.
WPs may have been one of the very few integrated professional societies at that time.

Over the past seven decades, WPS has launched more than 200 Action Papers, and some of
these have influenced the direction of APA. Areas of particular focus over the years have
been non-discrimination, patient confidentiality, gender equality, LQBTQ issues, mental
health services and more. WPS has a strong history of leading change and accountability
within APA.

The long-standing core value of non-discrimination manifests itself today in many ways,
including WPS’ planned 2024 launch of the WPS Charles Prudhomme Human Rights Award, in
memory of one of our distinguished WPS members, Dr. Charles Prudhomme, a Washington
psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, who also inspired Dr. Chester Pierce in his advocacy, leadership and
the establishment of the Black Psychiatrists of America. WPS members were influential in the
launch of the Chester Pierce Human Rights Award in 2021.

In the 1990s WPS partnered with AMA Alliance on the nationwide SAVE (Stop America’s
Violence Everywhere) program. This program made booklets on conflict resolution available
to schools nationwide. This series. of workbooks, including the popular Hands are Not For
Hitting, are still being used in schools today.

Dr. Eliot Sorel’s “Health Care, Including Mental Health Care Is a Human Right” reached
beyond APA and was adopted by the World Health Organization. Mental Health Parity has
been a touchstone issue for WPS over the years. Dr. Sorel launched the prestigious Senator
and Mrs. Sheila Wellstone Mental Health Visionary Award in recognition of the efforts of
Senator Wellstone as a champion of Mental Health Parity, Over the years, this award has
honored key individuals, including Representative Patrick Kennedy, Senator Pete Dominci,
Senator Edward Kennedy, and Senator Ben Cardin.

Interestingly, even though WPS has historically sent its policy initiatives to the Assembly, it
has still four of its members become APA President None of these leaders ever represented
WPS in the Assembly: 

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

WPS has a history of innovation. In 2008 Dr. Eliot Sorel and a handful of other WPS
members started the Careers, Leadership, and Mentorship program for Resident Fellow Members and Early Career Psychiatrists. The slogan of the CLM program is "Engaging Resident Fellow Members and Early Career Psychiatrists Locally, Nationally and Internationally.

In 2023, WPS was honored with the APA Large DB Best Practices Award for its Capital
Psychiatry Magazine. This quarterly digital magazine was conceived by its editor, Dr.
Perman. The magazine is an eclectic mixture of contributions from psychiatrists all over the
world. It is noted for its artistic design, poetry, essay, photos, and articles on hot mental
health related topics.

With a membership of more than 800 and three (3) Assembly delegates, WPS continues to
wield strong influence and its members are thought leaders within APA.