Special Communication from AACAP 54th Annual Meeting

Dr. Ballas Health Guide
  • The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is one of the largest national medical associations devoted to childhood mental health concerns. They just concluded their 54th meeting in Boston, Massachusetts this Saturday, in which a great deal of new initiatives and research were presented.


    AACAP is a non-profit organization with over 7500 physicians as members, most of whom are child and adolescent psychiatrists. AACAP encourages a great deal of work and advocacy for the sake of furthering issues surrounding mental health in children. It provides practice guidelines for mental health professionals, reviews and develops training curricula for child and adolescent psychiatry training programs, and supports research in many areas of childhood mental health. The organization is also involved in government education and liaison for national issues regarding health care in children, and interfaces regularly with many other healthcare related organizations including the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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    The organization has a new president, Robert L. Hendren, D.O., who just took office and announced a presidential imitative to develop an internet based resource on child psychiatry, tentatively named ‘eAACAP' and referred to in an AACAP publication as "the electronic Academy". The goal of this website-based resource will be to provide information on mental health issues of children accessible to the general public. Part of this website will include a decision-making tool that will help child psychiatrists and other physicians make more informed decisions in treatment.


    This year, I went to the annual AACAP meeting as a member of the Educational Outreach Program, a program that brings together child psychiatrists, fellows, psychiatry residents, and medical students to discuss issues of childhood mental health. We presented research and discussed topics that interested us. In the group I was in, it was amazing how varied our interests were. Having worked in Philadelphia for most of my training, it was interesting to hear how public mental health systems in other parts of the country and other parts of the world had many similar issues: difficulties with parity of mental health with other fields of medicine, stigma often associated with mental illness, and access of care to children with mental health issues.


    At other sessions of the AACAP meeting, there was a great deal of research presented on ADHD and advances of care and understanding of this illness. In my next blog, I will discuss guidelines for the treatment of ADHD recently published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and comment on some of the new research presented at the AACAP meeting.

Published On: October 31, 2007