2024 President’s Message: A Year in Review!
It is hard to believe that a year has passed–what an eventful and fast-paced year it has been for me and the AAGP Board. Wishing peace and health in the New 2024 year to all AAGP members, and to our patients and their families! We are rapidly approaching our 2024 Annual meeting that will be focused on “Reimagining Geriatric Mental Health: Innovations to promote the well-being of caregivers and patients” in Atlanta, GA on March 15-18, 2024 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Since the last report in August of 2023, many exciting events have taken place. First, I would like to share that our management company Degnon and Associates, and the AAGP Board of Directors approved Therese Clemens to serve as our new Executive Director in December. Therese is an experienced Professional Association Executive Director with 30 years of experience, and she will apply her skills to further our leadership in geriatric mental health. I am sure you will all join me in welcoming Therese to the role.
We are revising our Bylaws and Organizational Manual to reflect these new directions in the organization and will share these updates with you at the AAGP Business Meeting – on March 15.
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) discussions and activities have dominated this year and resulted in the publication of the DEI statement. The AAGP IDEA committee has completed a DEI survey in an effort to understand the demographics and needs of the AAGP community. The results will be presented at the Annual meeting. We will also have a Plenary dedicated to “The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Mindful compassion for social equity, well-being, and resilience in polarized times” delivered by Professor Rhonda Magee, JD (UCSF) that is scheduled on March 16 (Saturday-all are encouraged to attend and participate in the discussion).
2023 was a year of strengthening our collaborations with national and international professional organizations that led to meaningful exchanges, cooperative agreements, and the creation of new alliances that advanced AAGP’s agenda and leadership centered around geriatric mental health and brain health. We sponsored several presentations on behalf of AAGP at the partnering organizations’ annual meetings. Starting with the Presidential symposium focused on the Neuroscience of Resilience and Well-being in older adults with neuropsychiatric disorders at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting in May, followed by a presentation at the annual meeting of the National Mental Wellbeing Council in May, and an AAGP-sponsored symposium at the International Psychogeriatrics in Lisbon, Portugal in June, and a World Psychiatric Association in Vienna, Austria in September, as well as holding a roundtable at the Alzheimer’s Association meeting in Amsterdam in July. In addition, we send our President-elect, Dr. Sandra Swantek, to represent AAGP at the American Academy of Neurology Summit on Brain Health in September.
We saw significant progress in the AAGP Brain Health initiatives besides the presentations above, we published a statement along with partnering organizations in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 9 December and also held a very successful Brain Health Summit on December 8 and the recording be viewed here. We are collaborating with other stakeholder organizations like the American Association of Neurology (AAN), the Alzheimer’s Association, the International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA), The World Psychiatric Association (WPA), the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the American Heart Association (AHA), Alzheimer’s Association, and the Rice University Baker Institute for Public Policy. Topics in brain health will be a new track addition to the programming at our 2024 Annual Meeting featuring a Plenary “Brain Health: Building a Movement for Change” on March 17 presented by Sarah Lock, JD (AARP) and Lisa McGuire, PhD (CDC) followed by a discussion.
In addition, we advanced our legislative agenda, working closely with the Government liaison arm of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the Neuroscience caucus of the American Medical Association (AMA) to accept our two resolutions focused on criminalization of the medical decision-making that followed passing of the new California bill AB48. Drs. Alexander Threlfall, Vanessa Stan, Allan Anderson, Sandra Swantek, Gary Epstein-Lubow, and Melanie Scharrer worked with our colleagues at the APA and AMA for the smooth and timely passing of both resolutions. We anticipate further collaboration with our peers and healthcare professional organizations and consumer advocacy to encourage change that ensures that older adults receive evidence-based psychiatric and medical treatment from physicians who do not fear criminal repercussions for giving appropriate evidence-based care.
Another amazing achievement: AAGP and AJGP launched of The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry: Open Science, Education, and Practice (AJGP: OSEP); a new open-access journal in 2024. AJGP: OSEP will be released quarterly with the first issue scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2024. AJGP: OSEP will publish research, educational initiatives, and novel clinical practice models—all by a broad range of authors, whether they be academicians, patients, poets, payors, policymakers, social scientists, or scholars of philosophy relevant to aging.
AAGP is preparing to launch a Certificate program in the Summer of 2024 which will help us to adapt to the rapid changes in medicine and technological innovations, and to apply a multi-pronged approach to solve the upcoming challenges to maintain our membership and our workforce pipeline. The Certificate program will be used to train non-geriatric psychiatrists, non-psychiatric physicians, and allied mental health professionals who are taking care of aging adults and their families.
AAGP will offer a two-day virtual Board Review course on August 26-27, 2024, in preparation for the bi-annual Board exam this year.
For the upcoming Annual meeting, the program is shaping up to be very exciting. We received 94 abstracts submissions and accepted 65. We will offer- over 75 total sessions, one poster session with reception, opening and closing receptions, 6 industry-sponsored symposia, 1 product theater, and abundant networking opportunities, including roundtable discussions during lunch hour on Sunday, March 17. (If you’re interested in hosting a roundtable, please suggest topics and indicate your willingness to host a roundtable discussion).
The Annual meeting will offer three plenaries, on Friday, March 15, our regular Annual AAGP Plenary that highlights our achievements and awards for the year. On Saturday, March 16, a Plenary will feature Professor Rhonda Magee, JD (UCSF) “The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Mindful Compassion for Social Equity, Well-being, and Resilience in Polarized Times”; and on Sunday, March 17, our third plenary will feature two speakers who will discuss “Brain Health: Building a Movement for Change” by Drs. Sarah Lock (AARP) and Lisa McGuire (CDC). Please also check out the Brain Health track sessions throughout the meeting.
We will have a variety of mentoring sessions and opportunities throughout the meeting for the very popular Scholars Program, and a new CAMP program for the research-curious newcomers (please check your schedules for locations and time).
We would like to Congratulate our 2024 Award winners:
- AAGP Distinguished Scientist Award:
- Eric Lenze, MD
- AAGP Barry Lebowitz Early Career Scientist Award:
- Ryan O’Dell, MD, Ph.D.
- AAGP Member-in-Training Research Award:
- David Adamowicz, MD, PHD
- AAGP Educator of the Year Award:
- Mario Fahed, MD
- AAGP Member-in-Training Future Clinician-Educator Award:
- Joanna Georgakas, MD
- AAGP Jeanne Jackson-Siegel Clinician of the Year Award:
- Cindy Marshall, MD
- AAGP Images of Aging Award:
- Christie Diez
- AAGP Diversity Award in Honor of Dr. Iqbal “Ike” Ahmed:
- Daniel Jimenez, MD and Rajesh Tampi, MD
- American Psychiatric Association Jack Weinberg Memorial Award in Geriatric Psychiatry, 2024:
- Benoit Mulsant, MD
- American Psychiatric Association Hartford-Jeste Award for Future Leaders in Geriatric Psychiatry:
- Ebony Dix, MD
Congratulations to Our 2024 Fellows
- Distinguished Fellow
- Michelle Conroy, MD
- Kingsley Iyamu, MD
- Lisa Barry, PhD, MPH
- Meredith Lee, D.O.
- Mudhasir Bashir, MD
- Future Leader Fellow(s)
- Patricia Andrews, MD
- Sochima Ochije, MD, MSc
Thank you, now and always, for your passion and commitment to AAGP. It is an honor to serve as your president. Looking forward to seeing you in Atlanta March 15-18, 2024.
Helen Lavretsky, MD, MS
President, American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry