About American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association (APA), a medical specialty society that was established in 1844, consists of approximately 40,500 physician members in the United States and internationally who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses and substance use disorders. One of the APA’s objectives is to promote research through a variety of programs including research awards, fellowships, and the Association’s Practice Research Network (PRN). The PRN is a research initiative comprised of a nationwide network of psychiatrists who cooperate to collect data and conduct research studies on a variety of clinical and health services delivery issues. The APA established the PRN in 1993 in recognition of the need for more practice-relevant research in the field of psychiatry. The PRN is designed to complement traditional research methods by generating information across a broad range of patients, treatments, and treatment settings. The American Psychiatric Association also conducts an annual meeting that offers a variety of sessions related to psychiatry and related fields, including forums, symposia, workshops, scientific and clinical reports, medical updates, review of psychiatry sessions, Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses, new research oral/slide and poster sessions, and practice guidelines updates. The APA also provides a variety of professional publications and other materials including “DSM IV: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Primary Care Version (DSM-IV-PC),” the product of a collaborative effort among the primary care specialties and psychiatry; practice guidelines; APA newsletters; and the “American Journal of Psychiatry.” The Association also offers a member-to-member e-mail discussion list (listserv) to promote regular communication among psychiatric professionals nationwide. In addition, the APA engages in public policy advocacy; has an “AIDS Program Office,” which offers education and training, resources, information, policies, and a network of clinical expertise on the mental health dimensions of HIV/AIDS; and conducts an awareness and information project about schizophrenia to help parents, spouses, and siblings understand the illness and its treatment. Schizophrenia is a chronic psychiatric illness that may be characterized by distorted thinking, delusions, and hallucinations; flattened emotions; and/or disorganized thought, speech, and behavior. The project features a patient information video, patient and public information pamphlets, news and resources for the media, and an interactive web site. The Association also offers additional consumer education materials including pamphlet series and an informational fax service. The APA’s web site provides information on the Association’s mission, goals, programs and services, and professional and consumer publications.