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Report On The 2007 MPS Annual Dinner

Author: Bruce Hershfield, M.D.
Publication Year: Summer 2001
Edition Vol. 28
Type of resource: Newsletter

 

 

On May 24, 2001, the MPS held its 51st Annual Dinner, honoring the recipient of this year’s Lifetime of Service Award, Dr. Thomas E. Allen, and featuring a talk by Dr. Steven S. Sharfstein.

The incoming President, Dr. Robin Weiss, thanked Dr. Lisa Beasley for all that she had done as President during this past year. She then announced that Ms. Jennifer Gajewski will be the Society’s new Executive Director; Ms. Heidi Bunes will continue to work for the MPS in a part-time role. Dr. Weiss expressed her optimism about the future of Psychiatry and her excitement about the science that has supported the advances in our field. “We need to convince the policy-makers of the importance of what we do and to turn around the decrease in membership,” she concluded.

She then presented the 2001 Lifetime of Service Award to Dr. Allen, who has been President of five medical organizations, including the MPS, and who has just finished his third term as Assembly Rep. Dr. Weiss pointed out that Dr. Allen has done all this “without one ounce of arrogance” and she quoted Heidi Bunes’s description of him – - “just an all-around good guy.” Dr. Allen, in accepting the award, said that he appreciated working with so many dedicated people.

 

 

Steven S. Sharfstein, MD, President and C.E.O. of Sheppard Pratt Health System, then talked about “Caring Coercion.” He began by thanking Dr. Bruce Taylor for his heroic work in allowing Maryland’s private psychiatric hospitals to survive by convincing the state to change its Medicaid reimbursement policies. Reflecting on why he became a psychiatrist, he realized that “We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper even though that runs contrary to what freedom-loving Americans believe.” “The incarceration of the mentally ill is a disgrace,” he told the audience. It may not be possible to achieve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness all at the same time, he said, mentioning compulsory vaccination as an example of “caring compassion.” He described the case of “Typhoid Mary” and the need to close public bath houses at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic as examples of how the government sometimes has to curtail liberties. He concluded by quoting Isaiah Berlin: “What is freedom to those who cannot make use of it?” and by calling for passage of an outpatient commitment statute.

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