The SSPC Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada was my first SSPC meeting. Right away, Dr. Heather Stuart dynamically spoke about stigma in health care settings, and by the conclusion of her presentation, I was left thinking about my personal role in the stigma of mental illness and how I might play a part in destigmatization. I felt enriched by the group supervision during the case conference that was offered exclusively to residents. The cases presented by residents were intriguing, and the insight and expertise offered in the small group setting was unparalleled, considering the simultaneous access to so many experts. I was also able to learn about the DSM 5 updates on culture-bound syndromes and the glossary of cultural concepts of distress during a symposium presented by leaders in the field. I was moved by the presentation by Mohan Agashe in which he utilized film to address the stigma of mental illness. I was stimulated by the session on Developing and Maintaining a Refugee Cultural Consultation Clinic and left the conference inspired to initiate discussions about creating a cultural psychiatry elective at my institution.
The value of the meeting was enhanced by having breakfast and lunch together each day, facilitating networking between attendees, and I found everyone from trainees at other institutions to members of the Board of Directors very approachable. At the APA Annual Meeting and a research resident retreat later in the month, I encountered residents that I had met at the SSPC Annual Meeting, and I treasured the opportunity to network and socialize again.
I’m left with a positive experience through the many opportunities to learn, network and bond over meals and social gatherings. I hope to attend the meeting in 2014 in San Diego. I definitely hope to meet more trainees (and experts) there!