Our 2013 meeting in Toronto may only be a memory but the good feelings about it are still strong. I’ve heard from many of you since we wrapped up the program on May 5th and the opinions were that this meeting was one of the best. Thanks to all who made it successful, but especially to our Toronto hosts, Kenneth Fung, Lisa Andermann, Ted Lo, and the Hong Fook Mental Health Association who brought an important clinical focus to our discussion of stigma on the first day.

Although the ink is not dry on the 2013 meeting files the Program Committee has begun gearing up for the 2014 meeting in San Diego. The theme is “Trauma, Recovery, and Culture”. The dates are set for our standard three full days of sessions: Thursday through Saturday, May 15-17, with the possibility of a special half day workshop on Sunday. We will be at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, University of San Diego. Look for further details about the meeting on the SSPC website, www.psychiatryandculture.org and in forthcoming newsletters.

A block of rooms is being held at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Old Town, which is just a few minutes from the Kroc Institute. The room rate is $139.00 plus tax, including breakfast. The hotel’s reservation telephone number is (619) 299-7400 . Rooms are limited and May is a busy time in San Diego, so please be sure to book early and tell them you will be attending the SSPC meeting.

The most important date coming up is the deadline for abstracts — September 16th. We have new guidelines for submitting abstracts this year, so please read them carefully and follow the instructions completely, including the requirements for a reference in each abstract and learning objectives for every presentation.

The SSPC Board met on June 21 to consider several time-sensitive proposals:

  • Transcultural Psychiatry, edited by Board member Laurence Kirmayer, proposed an affiliation with SSPC that includes an online copy of the Journal for each SSPC member and a loose commitment on the part of TCP to publish papers from members’ presentations at our annual meetings in special issues. TCP, a Sage publication, is one of the most important journals in our field. This is a great value added benefit to membership in SSPC. There will be a $15 increase in 2014 dues ($5 for trainees) to cover the cost of the online subscription, which is usually only available to members. SSPC members will be able to supplement their online subscription with a print subscription for only $30/yr, well below the $111 cost for an individual subscription. The Board unanimously accepted the proposal and is proud to include this affiliation with TCP as a new SSPC membership benefit. Online subscriptions will begin with the first issue of 2014.
  • The Board also took two additional actions. A committee was formed with Larry Merkel as Chair, to consider publishing an SSPC casebook on cultural psychiatry. While there was considerable enthusiasm for this project, Board members are aware of the time and effort involved in producing a quality book and approach the project cautiously. Larry and his committee will report back to the Board within three months with their committee’s recommendation.
  • Finally, at the recommendation of Francis Lu, the Board endorsed the APA Council on Minority Mental Health and Health Disparities suggestions to the APA’s Milestone Project, which advises the APA Council of Medical Education and Lifelong Learning. Simply, but I hope accurately put, the Board is hoping to include the cultural formulation and culturally-sensitive treatment in every psychiatric training program.