Letter from the President

2014 is off to an excellent start for SSPC. Under Roberto’s leadership, the Program Committee has put the finishing touches on what will prove to be one of our best meetings ever. We received an abundance of excellent abstracts on this year’s theme of trauma. It was sometimes difficult to select the most outstanding presentations.

On the first day of our three day meeting we will have plenary sessions, award winning lectures, a film festival, and a poster session focused primarily on the theme of trauma. On days two and three we have organized 15 first rate symposia. Apparently the word is already spreading about the meeting since registration is at an all time high with more than 2 months to go. If you haven’t yet made your plans, this is one SSPC meeting you won’t want to miss. Our recently upgraded website is getting better with age and the contributions of our hard working membership. Although we had some glitches in the process of accepting your annual dues and registration for the annual meeting, most of these understandable problems are now fixed. (Thanks to Liz and our very competent new web manager Bahman Mahdavi.)

We have just opened a section of the SSPC website for members only. I encourage you to enter that section from the Home Page and complete the information section on the Profile Page so that other members can contact you, learn about your interests and professional activities, and you can reach out to them in return. Over time, with everyone contributing to this section, we will develop a very valuable communication instrument, (better, I predict, than Facebook and LinkedIn, where I never go.)

In the Members Only section you should also sign up for your free online subscription to the journal, Transcultural Psychiatry. Finally, by the time you have read this letter our videoconferencing program (produced and directed by Sadeq Rahimi) will have been launched. Sadeq has planned an exciting rotation of monthly discussions, alternating between clinical cases, interviews with authors of recently published articles in the field, and conversations with investigators of current research projects. You won’t want to miss your Society’s exciting venture into the digital age.

With all these changes, and more planned, we need your help. We have openings on several committees as well as positions on the Board, so please volunteer for something that interests you. Please tell your colleagues about our work, collegiality, and encourage them to join SSPC and come to our meeting in May.

Welcome to 2014 and the next phase of SSPC! I look forward to seeing you in San Diego.

From the Desk of the Executive Director

Time passes quickly when you’re having fun. It’s hard to believe that our 2014 annual meeting is just 3 months away! This issue of the newsletter is devoted to the meeting. We hope that those of you who already have registered will share it with your colleagues and friends in the hope that we can entice others to come. Nearly 100 people already have registered, but we’ve still got room for more thanks to the wonderful facilities at the Joan Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego. The program, which can be found on pages 6 and 8-11, promises to be one
of the most exciting ever!

Starting this year we are going to be having exhibits on the first two days of the meeting. As of this writing, they will include Professional Risk Management Associates (PRMS), our first corporate sponsor, the Office of Minority and National Affairs (OMNA) of the American Psychiatric Association, and the Foundation for Psychocultural Research. We are continuing to recruit exhibitors and corporate sponsors, so if you know someone who may be interested, please have them contact me or send me their contact information and I will get in touch with them. Please visit our exhibitors during the meeting and tell them how much we appreciate their support.

Hopefully most of you noticed that we have not raised the conference fee for three years now. We may be one of the last groups that provides most meals. This year that will include a full-fledged reception, with meat, pasta, vegetables, and cheese. There will be a cash bar with beer, wine and soft drinks. Food costs are our biggest expense, they increase annually, and there always is a lot that goes uneaten. You can help us to contain those costs. How, you ask?

About 2-3 weeks before the meeting we will be sending out a short survey to everyone who has registered for the meeting. We hope each of you will complete and return it with dispatch. The survey will ask you to mark which days you will be attending sessions and be present for lunch, and whether or not you will be attending the reception. Historically we have always had a great deal of food left and many vacancies at the lunch table. We realize things come up that cause changes of plans but we can save a lot of money if we give the caterers accurate head counts. There will be a place on the questionnaire for you to note any allergies, special dietary requests and whether you have any other special needs. Please let us know then. It will pay off in the long run.

Finally, if you have not yet made your hotel reservations, there are a few rooms left in the SSPC block at the Fairfield Inn in Old Town. The price is $139.00 per night plus tax, single or double occupancy, including breakfast. To book your room, please call their sales department at (619) 725-4223, identify yourself as attending the SSPC meeting. If you call off hours or there is no answer leave a message with your name and phone number and your call will be returned. If you encounter any difficulties, please contact me immediately.

Regarding transportation, the hotel operates a free airport shuttle which runs from 5 am to 12 noon and again from 3 pm to 9 pm. To access the shuttle call the hotel at (619) 299-7400, tell them you have landed and the airline on which you arrived. Then wait outside of your airline. We will be providing tram service to the Kroc Center each morning, but if you still want to drive parking at the hotel is $8.00 per 24 hour day with in and out privileges.

As always, my door is open and except during power outages my phone is turned on. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. If I don’t hear from you sooner I look forward to welcoming all of you to San Diego on May 15.

Visit San Diego, the birthplace of California!

Visit San Diego, the birthplace of California!

Pandas-San Diego Zoo-Winter 2014

Pandas, San Diego Zoo sandiego.com website

Kayaking-Winter 2014

Kayaking, sandiego.com website

Old Town Trolley-Winter 2014

Old Town Trolley sandiego.com website


by Jim Jaranson

SSPC welcomes you to San Diego, “America’s Finest City,” for the annual meeting May 15-17, 2014. This the first time in its 35-year history that SSPC has met in San Diego, California’s second largest city and the country’s eighth largest with 1.3 million residents. Reputed to have the best climate of any US city, San Diego has some of the country’s best beaches. The city is wedged between the Pacific Ocean on the west; Tijuana Mexico, 15 miles south; the Cuyamaca mountains in the east; and, protecting it from merging into LA two hours north, Camp Pendleton’s 17 miles of coastline.

Known for its navy and marine population, accounting for 18% of the economy, San Diego has become much more diverse with biotech, healthcare, tourism, and international trade. Balboa Park, whose 1200 acres house the world-famous zoo, is the cultural heart of the city with the Old Globe Theatre, an incubator for Broadway, and 13 museums, the most in a single location outside of the Smithsonian. The San Diego Opera and the Symphony, as well as the Old Globe and the La Jolla Playhouse, are highly acclaimed and have dispelled the notion that San Diego has little to offer culturally. The city also houses three major universities, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in the La Jolla neighborhood, San Diego State University (SDSU) to the east, and the University of San Diego (USD). USD’s Institute of Peace and Justice, on a hill overlooking the nearby Pacific, will provide the meeting’s venue. Most attendees will stay at hotels in historic Old Town, the oldest settlement in and the birthplace of California. Tourists can take a harbor cruise or purchase a ticket for the Old Town Trolley, which allows on and off access to points of interest in San Diego and Coronado. A shuttle will regularly take attendees to the meetings at USD, and public transportation from the Old Town transit center provides bus and San Diego Trolley service to most tourist attractions.

Southern California is one of five areas in the world with a “Mediterranean” climate and averages ten inches of rain annually, nearly all in the winter. The year round temperature in San Diego is 70 degrees F, with little variation from day to night or winter to summer. Average high in May is 69 and low is 60. However, the marine layer of clouds and fog, “May gray”, may persist into the day and necessitate wearing a light jacket. With its spectacular setting, comfortable temperature, and major attractions, San Diego offers SSPC members a unique experience.

Call for Nominations for SSPC Awards

Each year the Society presents two important awards for significant achievements by individuals who conduct advanced work in the field of cultural psychiatry. These are:

  • The Lifetime Achievement Award: This is to be presented annually to a person who has made outstanding and enduring contributions to the field of cultural psychiatry, and is the highest honor bestowed by the Society.
  • The Creative Scholarship Award: This is to be presented annually to a person who has made a recent significant creative contribution to the field of cultural psychiatry.

Awardees receive a plaque with certificate of award at the SSPC annual meeting.

Please take time to seriously consider nominees for each of these prestigious awards. Links to the nominations forms can be found here: Lifetime Achievement Award and Creative Scholarship Award and you can download and save from there. Instructions for sending the nominations are on the nomination forms.

Please note that the deadline for the nominations is March 31, 2014. Nominations received after this date will not be considered.

Thank you in advance for your time and efforts toward recognizing these important people in the field of cultural psychiatry!

From the Editor’s Corner

by Shannon Suo

As you can tell by the Steven and Liz’s articles, excitement is in the air for the 2014 Annual Meeting in San Diego. Personally, I look forward to the chance to visit with old and new friends and participate in lively discussions on a multitude of topics pertaining to psychiatry and culture!

I continue to look for new and innovative ways to make the newsletter lively, interactive, as well as informative for our members. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any comments or suggestions!

In addition to the newsletter, I am working with the Board on revision and improvement of the website and PayPal.

With our first corporate sponsor, the newsletter enters an era of advertising that will present new challenges and opportunities. We hope that you find the advertisements and sponsorships of benefit and appreciate our sponsors’ support of the organization.

This is one way that the Board has sought to keep dues down and the Annual Meeting affordable for all.

Please let me or Liz know of any potential advertisers or sponsors—we’re always on the lookout! Enjoy the rest of the winter and I look forward to seeing you in May in San Diego!