Dear SSPC Colleague,

I hope you are planning to attend our 2015 conference. The theme this year, global mental health (GMH), is on the minds  of many cultural psychiatrists right now. Look over this year’s program which can be found on the SSPC Annual Meeting page. You will see the people and issues you  definitely will want to hear,  Right now you can get a head start on these issues by  looking at the special issue of Transcultural Psychiatry (December 2014) which is largely devoted to GMH.  It is available to members online at no cost.  If you haven’t accessed your copy of the Journal until now here’s how to get there: On the website under Membership, go to the “For Members Only” section and once on your profile scroll down to “Transcultural Psychiatry Online.” Board member and TCP editor, Laurence Kirmayer, opens the issue with a very helpful framework for understanding GMH.  This is followed by five articles covering important issues in the GMH discussion: why mental health matters to global health; research ethics in global mental health; creating synergy between global mental health and cultural psychiatry; ritual healing and mental health in India; and, the making of global and local scale.

In addition to our theme, there’s more good news about the 2015 meeting. With our increased membership and careful budgeting we have been able, for the first time, to  reduce the registration fee for trainees. We also have been able to hold our general members’ registration fees at the same very reasonable rate we have had for the past three or four years.  You won’t find another meeting where you get more for your money than SSPC, with a three day program filled with interesting sessions; meals and receptions; and most important, numerous opportunities to meet your colleagues and share  interests in a small, casual and friendly setting.

I want to mention two important developments that are currently in the works The first is a major website revision which is now scheduled to “go live” in January.  The second development is a unique mentorship program that will connect senior SSPC members to younger members in their research, clinical and training careers. Watch the website for information about both of these additional benefits of SSPC membership.

2015 elections – Last year the Board completed a major revision of its Bylaws.  Two major changes going forward  are the size (smaller) and  term limits for all Board members. The Board will now consist of 18 individuals: 5 members of the Executive Committee – President, Vice President/ President elect, immediate Past President, Secretary and Treasurer – plus 12 elected Board members, each serving a 3 year term with the option of election to a second term, plus a non-voting Executive Director.

In March 2015  we will  elect 3 members of the Executive Committee – Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer – and three Board members, for a 3-year term beginning at the annual meeting in Providence. I hope you will consider running for one of these positions, or joining one of our Committees. Finally, please plan to attend our brief but important business meeting on Friday April 24th where we will thank the retiring officers and Board members for their excellent service, and introduce our new officers, Board members and committee chairs.

Lastly, don’t forget to contribute to the President’s Fund.  We are presently working on a way for you to donate when you pay your dues or register for the annual meeting.

With best wishes for the holidays I look forward to seeing many of you in Providence.

Steven