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MPS Honors Dr. Liebman at Annual Dinner; Dr. Wang Speaks About Economic Burdens from Depression

Author: Bruce Hershfield, MD
Publication Year: Spring 2007
Edition Summer 2007; Vol. 33, No. 3; Pg. 6-9
Type of resource: Newsletter

 

On April 26th, at the Pikesville Hilton, the MPS held its annual meeting to install its new officers, to honor the 2007 recipient of its Lifetime of Service award, and to listen to a presentation by Dr. Philip S. Wang of NIMH.

The evening began with Dr. Jonas R. Rappeport giving the Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry’s Outstanding Merit Award to Ms. Mary DeFeo of the Bowie Therapeutic Nursery.  The nursery uniquely provides milieu therapy and psychiatric rehab services to emotionally disturbed preschoolers in an educational setting.

William G. Prescott, MD, the 2006-7 MPS President, then recognized the outgoing Committee Chairs and installed Dr. Steven F. Crawford as the new President.  Dr. Prescott summarized the year’s activities, which included finding a new Executive Director and forging closer relationships with Med-Chi and with the Suburban Maryland chapter of the Washington Psychiatric Society.  He also mentioned the formation of the Early Career Psychiatrists Committee and the APA grant to help integrate them into the MPS.  Dr. Crawford gave Dr. Prescott a Southwest Airlines voucher as a token of the society’s appreciation for all that he has done, then told the audience about how the committees work to carry out the five “core values” of the society.  These are advocacy, communication, collaboration, education, and professionalism. “The society continues to be innovative, while maintaining its traditions and adhering to its bylaws,” he told us. He went on to address the crisis of “limited access”, pointing out that more than one-third of American psychiatrists do not participate on any managed care panels.  We must champion change, he urged us–-“We must develop a strategy to speak for our members and our patients.”

It was then time for Dr. Crawford to introduce this year’s winner of the Lifetime of Service Award, Dr. Mayer C. Liebman, who, Dr. Crawford pointed out, personifies the five core values.  He mentioned Dr. Liebman’s role as Chair of the Legislative Committee and of the PAC, his faculty positions at Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland, and Sheppard-Pratt, and his reputation as the Baltimore County Medical Association’s “psychiatrist in residence”. He finished by relating some stories psychiatrists tell about his many kindnesses towards us and towards the community.

Dr. Liebman then thanked the MPS for the award and spoke about the early influences that convinced him to volunteer and to “do it right”.  His clinical perspective has changed with the years, he explained, and he now appreciates how patients have to practice “self-treatment” in-between their sessions, for example, exercising, meditating, and participating in some sort of spiritual practice–-to not only understand themselves, but to reach outside themselves.

Because Dr. Thomas Insel could not come to give his scheduled talk, Dr. Philip S. Wang of NIMH graciously gave his presentation, “Economic Burdens from Depression & the Cost-Effectiveness of Treatment”.  Because depression is so common, it affects work performance, and because it’s often poorly treated, it presents an economic burden for the country.  Mood disorder is the most common reason for people to seek treatment, he pointed out, yet it still takes about 10 years before sufferers get to someone who could help them.  “Is enhancing treatment for depression cost-effective?”  Dr. Wang asked, then he posed another question--”Could you actually ‘make’ money for employers by getting effective treatment for their depressed workers?” In an NIMH/Harvard study of 605 depressed workers (out of 150,000 employees), the one-half who got 12 months of telephonic management did better than those who simply got “traditional” care.  They kept their jobs more, worked more hours, and had less severity of depression. The researchers concluded that the cumulative savings in a 5-year period, from the employer’s perspective, amounted to $2898 per patient.

Meeting with colleagues in a delightful setting, honoring one of our best, and learning about how psychiatric treatment can positively influence the lives of American workers made it a full and enjoyable evening.

 

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