Finding Inspiration at the Royal College International Congress - Saul Levin MD
20 February, 2019
Each summer I have the pleasure of attending the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s (RCP) International Congress. It is one of my very favourite destinations of the year because it truly lives up to its name as a gathering of some of the top minds in mental health from all over the globe.
If you’ve never been to the RCP’s International Congress, it’s very similar to the APA Annual and is well worth the trip for any psychiatrist interested in a stimulating exchange of medical knowledge, culture and ideas.
The theme of this year’s meeting is Psychiatry: Inspiring Minds. There will be plenty to draw inspiration from over the course of four days in London, with sessions, training courses, debates and masterclasses covering a of topics, including new research, the latest advances in clinical psychiatry, patient experience, and policy.
One of the great strengths of the International Congress is the diverse array of speakers who present as part of its world-class academic program. In addition to physicians and academics working at the forefront of our field, you can expect to hear from patients, families and others with lived experience regarding mental health and substance use disorders, as well as those from the social and political spheres. These voices are vital as psychiatrists continue to innovate, adapt and define our role in a rapidly changing care landscape.
There has been a long-standing agreement, going back decades, in which the APA President, CEO and Medical Director and the Assembly Speaker would attend the RCP meeting while the President, CEO and Dean of the RCP would reciprocate and attend our Annual Meeting.
This year, Bruce Schwartz, currently our President-Elect, will be among those presenting at the RCP International Congress and will be delivering a keynote address titled A Survey and Perspective on Psychiatry in America. Schwartz’s priorities for his presidential year involve addressing many of the most pressing issues facing our patients and our profession, including insurance parity, funding for psychiatric/neuroscience research and anti-stigma campaigns, and growing the number of psychiatric residency and fellowship positions available in our country. I am very excited to see how he frames these issues for an international audience, and I am sure it will be one of the can’t-miss sessions of the meeting.
As medicine becomes more globalized, it is important that APA and our members seek out viewpoints and experiences from psychiatrists outside the U.S. Our colleagues abroad are all dealing with their own set of unique challenges in their home countries. Exchanging knowledge and ideas and commiserating with colleagues over the challenges we face as physicians something that American psychiatrists should do whenever possible. Doing so can only enrich our understanding and appreciation for different cultures, and help to provide effective, culturally competent care to patients from underrepresented populations in our own country.
I hope you’ll join me in London this July for one of prestigious mental health events in the world, held in one of its truly great cities. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn from and network with colleagues from all over the world.