President's Message: June 2017
I have assumed the presidency of the New Jersey Psychiatric Association at a time when it is more important than ever before that we in organized medicine continue to work with lawmakers to ensure that doctors' expertise is recognized and patients' rights are protected. Your national and state association will continue that work, but we need each and every member to be an advocate for the delivery of effective mental health care. We worked hard to achieve coverage of mental health services and substance use disorders at parity with physical health and now I am urging each of you to stay vigilant in following the APA and NJPA news about the current status of Congress' efforts to repeal and replace the ACA. The Senate and the House have both proposed legislation that would significantly cut Medicaid and eliminate mental health and substance use treatment coverage for millions of Americans. In addition to working with other organizations and meeting with key lawmakers, the APA has activated a member-wide grassroots push. So come on board and make your voices heard! For those who have not yet contacted their Senators, please do so by clicking here.
Randall B. Gurak, MD
President's Message: May 2017
As a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in the State of New Jersey for the past 25 years, it is truly an honor and privilege to serve as your new President for the next year. In my practice, I have encountered many and varied issues that confound and impede our practice of medicine, some of which have roots at the federal level and others that are the result of our Legislature's actions in Trenton. Regardless of the source, I truly believe advocacy and lobbying are the keys to improving our profession in that reliable information will lead our elected officials to make the right decisions on behalf of our patients and profession. NJPA has been committed to and successful in educating our legislators and policy makers on timely and critical issues affecting all New Jersey patients and practitioners. I will share more with you in future messages about this important work and how NJPA achieves its successes.
For now, I would like to thank our immediate past three presidents, Vasudev Makhija, MD, Charles Ciolino, MD and Consuelo Cagande, MD, who helped transition NJPA's governance into our present five Councils. Each Council, some by strengthening our governance structure and Association operations and others by directly impacting issues of mental and behavioral health, is instrumental in improving our profession and confronting the issues challenging our autonomy, and our patients' safety and well-being. Collectively, our five Councils: Advocacy, Education, Finances & Resources, Member Services, and Professional Standards, work together to achieve our common goals. I would like to thank our Chairs, Co-Chairs and members of each Council for their commitment and service. I will be highlighting each Council in future newsletters.
In addition to improving our profession, I am also committed to advancing our organization by demonstrating and furthering the benefits of NJPA membership so that you can have a membership experience that helps you be more successful in practice. To succeed in this endeavor, I need feedback from you as to what we are doing well and where we are falling short. Please contact me personally or our excellent staff, Patricia DeCotiis, NJPA Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jennifer Contorno, Member Services Coordinator, email@example.com, with your thoughts and ideas. Also, please take an active role in your regional chapter, apply for our Expert Advisory Panel, or share your interest in other leadership positions. There are many ways you can assist and become involved that do not require a major time investment.
I or the NJPA staff would be happy to speak with you further if you are interested in getting involved. I look forward to serving you so that together we can achieve our goals of improving the practice of Psychiatry in New Jersey for the benefit of our patients and the profession in general.
Randall B. Gurak, MD