Support Needed for the 2013 Scholars Program

Published Monday, September 10, 2012
by Chris deVries, AAGP Chief Executive Officer/Executive Vice-President, GMHF Executive Director

Donate Online to the GMHF Scholars Fund

To make a contribution, visit www.AAGPonline.org/donateGMHF or www.GMHFonline.org, call 301-654-7850, or send a check to GMHF, Attn: Scholars Fund, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1050, Bethesda, MD. Donations made to the Scholars Fund by September 30, 2012, will be used to support scholars at the 2013 AAGP Annual Meeting.


Scholars Program Applications Due October 1 

AAGP is now accepting applications for the 2013 Scholars Program. The program is open to medical students in an LCME- or COCA-accredited medical school and general psychiatry residents in an ACGME- or AOA-accredited training program or Canadian Accredited Residency Programs. (Only psychiatry residents in PGY-1, 2, or 3 may apply for the Honors Scholarships.) Learn more and apply: www.AAGPonline.org/scholars.

Donate by September 30

Last week when I was attending the newly re-established APA Council on Geriatric Psychiatry meeting, one of the younger members noted that the ONLY reason he entered the field of geriatric psychiatry was due to the fact he had a scholarship to attend the AAGP Annual Meeting and participate in the AAGP Scholars Program. That experience had a profound impact on him as he learned about the exciting field of geriatric psychiatry. It is not the first time I have heard this story, and I hope it will not be the last.

The evidence is clear! Early exposure to geriatric psychiatry through a structured program combined with attendance at the Annual Meeting results in trainees choosing a professional path in the field. In three years, 170 trainees have applied to the Scholars Program and benefits have been provided to 74 residents and medical students. Of the 2010 and 2011 Honors Scholars, those awarded the full benefits of the program, 70 percent have entered a geriatric psychiatry fellowship.

I know I don’t have to make the case to you. But, the recent IOM report entitled The Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce for Older Adults brought the argument home when Dan Blazer, MD (chair of the IOM Task Force) emphasized, “Training in essential competencies for the care of older adults with mental illness and substance use disorders must be provided across the workforce if it is to meet the challenges it faces and will face in the future.”

The AAGP Scholars Program’s growth and success is due to its volunteers and generous donors. Donations have grown from a little more than $19,000 in its first year to more than $50,000 for the 2012 program. It is the only program – comprised entirely of AAGP member donations – that provides scholarships to the AAGP Annual Meeting.

To keep this program growing and introduce even more trainees to geriatric psychiatry, the Foundation hopes this month to exceed the $52,000 raised for the 2012 program. At this point, donors have provided about $10,000 towards this goal, so we need your support! Please help the Foundation reach its goal by September 30, and donate today at www.AAGPonline.org/donateGMHF.

Be a Leader with a Named Scholarship

Those members wishing to have the most impact are urged to donate for a named scholarship at $2,500, which provides full benefits to the program for one trainee. I am proud that I have been able to make this contribution since the program started. I can report from personal experience that this investment in the Scholars Program has the added benefit of making you feel good knowing that you made a difference in the future health care system.  

The donor may name the scholarship for him- or herself, a mentor, family member, or program that would benefit from additional name recognition. Those donating for named scholarships can be individuals, groups of individuals, or institutions. Some individual donors have considered the named scholarships as legacies that have a lasting impact on the world of geriatric psychiatry. As a Named Scholarship donor, you will have an opportunity to meet your sponsored Scholar at a reception at the Annual Meeting.

It is vital that we hear from you now. To make a contribution, visit www.AAGPonline.org/donateGMHF, or www.GMHFonline.org, or call 301-654-7850. Donations made to the Scholars Fund by September 30, 2012, will be used to support scholars at the 2013 AAGP Annual Meeting. Donations for a named Honors scholarship may be submitted by a group of donors. To learn more, visit www.GMHFonline.org.

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The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation was established by the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry to raise awareness of psychiatric and mental health disorders affecting the elderly, eliminate the stigma of mental illness and treatment, promote healthy aging strategies, and increase access to quality mental health care for the elderly. Learn more at www.GMHFonline.org.

Back to July/August/September 2012 Geriatric Psychiatry News