Biography and Qualifications
Following a childhood in Pittsburgh, PA, and more so in Queens, NY, a biology degree with high honors from the University of Rochester, and medical studies at the Université de Liège in Belgium, I have staked out a career defined by advocating for those who are the most vulnerable and most impacted by limited resources, while working toward concrete progress.
I started my career as physician-in-charge of the psychiatric emergency room of a large public hospital located in the most diverse county in the USA. Since overseeing the care of 5,000 acutely ill patients per year in the Queens Hospital Center ED, where I also supervised and mentored scores of residents and students, I have made a point of ensuring high quality care for all, even in the face of crisis and chronically limited resources. Effective advocacy and management have also been the hallmarks of my roles as head of the Department of Psychiatry at QHC, as Director of medical informatics at Queens and Elmhurst Hospitals, and currently as Senior Associate Dean for Human Subjects Research and Executive Director of the Program for the Protection of Human Subjects at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Today, my team and I protect patients and enable the progress of important medical research. I do this while continuing to maintain a solo private practice in adult psychiatry.
Recognizing the role that government policy and budgeting play in our ability to provide effective care, I have been committed to advocating for our patients and our profession at all levels of state and local government. As chair of the NYS Medicaid Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee I fought to maintain the legal ability for “physician prevails” and assured a wide and clinically effective range of psychotropic medications. In New York, the governor appointed me with state senate confirmation to the Public Health and Health Planning Council and the Mental Health Services Council. In collaboration with the councils and state officials, I have effected change not just within psychiatry but throughout the state’s health care delivery system. The Certificate of Need process has become less burdensome, the integration of mental health services within the provision of “general” medical care has advanced, regulatory efforts to respond to climate change by improving the healthcare infrastructure standards have commenced, and the statewide clinical health information exchange has taken off.
An APA member since 1984 I have held the highest leadership positions in my district branch and state association, working to support our colleagues and strengthen our field. Most recently I have served on the APA’s Board of Trustees and was Speaker of the Assembly of our almost 40,000-member organization. While on the Board I was a member of the ad hoc committee on strategic planning and the workgroups on reforming the referendum process. I chaired the workgroup charged with developing guidelines for position statements on “social issues” and examining the sharing of email addresses for communications to members during the election cycle. I was actively involved in the key final scientific reviews and decision making that allowed the DSM-5 to be completed. I was the key figure in assuring approval for the document by the Assembly. I am still on the steering committee for the DSM, which oversees the ongoing process of corrections, revisions and amendments. I have been involved since the beginning in the establishment of PsychPRO, our nationwide clinical registry, which will directly benefit the nation’s psychiatrists by allowing them to participate in fiscally impactful quality reporting initiatives, and which will eventually become an invaluable research resource.
The women in my life: Roxanne, Aline and Charlotte.