Empower Aging and empowering those of us who care for the aged

Published Monday, October 21, 2013 9:00 am
by David C. Steffens, MD, MHS, AAGP President
AAGP President David C. Steffens

Registration is open for our 2014 Annual Meeting in Orlando, held at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld March 14 to 17. It is a cliché to add “hope to see you there!” But, I really do have high hopes that our members turn out in full force to what I expect will be a terrific meeting in a great venue.  We have been at this site before and are returning because we were treated well. The accommodations and meeting rooms are comfortable, and the site is very close to SeaWorld and within reach of Disney and Universal for those bringing families or who want to bring out our own inner child for the price of admission to a theme park.

The AAGP meeting website describes the Annual Meeting as “the premier educational event in geriatric mental health care, providing the latest information on clinical care, research on aging and mental health, and models of care.” Of course, all of this is true. We do provide timely clinical updates and groundbreaking research findings. Equally important, the Annual Meeting provides a setting for networking with colleagues, making new friends, and discovering opportunities for career advancement. 

This year, the theme for the meeting is “Empower Aging,” a construct that really puts the focus of the meeting where it needs to be: on improving the lives of older adults dealing with mental health and substance use disorders. As a reminder, AAGP’s mission is to promote the mental health and well-being of older people through professional education, public advocacy, and support of career development for clinicians, educators, and researchers in geriatric psychiatry and mental health. All of these mission-related activities will be well represented in the meeting. In the end, the aim is for us to feel empowered to better care for older adults.

One feature of the Annual Meeting that I am particularly excited about is a new Self-Assessment Component. To help our geriatric psychiatrist members meet their Maintenance of Certification self-assessment requirement, the Annual Meeting will provide a self-assessment component at no additional cost to those who register as full conference attendees by February 20. After completing a pre-test before the Annual Meeting, participants will be directed to a customized list of conference sessions to address their knowledge gaps, and receive a comparison of their performance to their peers. Our terrific staff has done the work to get approval from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology for the AAGP Annual Meeting Self-Assessment Exam as part of a comprehensive self-assessment program. As those of you who, like, me, are facing an upcoming deadline for renewal of specialty certification are aware, self-assessment is a necessary component of Maintenance of Certification.

For these and many other reasons, I’d urge you to register for the meeting soon. Check out the Advance Program on the AAGP website (www.AAGPmeeting.org) to get a sense of the diverse offerings we’ll have at the meeting. As I mentioned above, it’s truly heartfelt when I say, “hope to see you in Orlando!”