Perfecting the Trifecta

Psychiatric Times, Vol 38, Issue 7,

Recognizing the need to stay up-to-date with psychopharmacology and issues affecting psychiatric practice, Psychiatric Times' Editor in Chief invites readers to join him and leaders in psychiatry for a fascinating educational conference.

FROM THE EDITOR

Imagine practicing medicine in the early 1900s before the advent of antibiotics, anesthesia, laboratory data, radiology, and intensive care units. Clinicians did not need to know as much as we do today. Of course, that also meant there was less we could do for our patients. I can recall as a child during the 1960s my grandmother was hospitalized for a week for a headache—and the prescribed treatment was to rest.

Fortunately, we continue to expand our understanding in all medical specialties at an exponential rate. Add to that the extraordinary demands of clinical practice, and at the end of our workday, we simply do not have the energy to read an onerously written article in a medical journal. Not surprisingly, this void has been filled by medical conferences, where the goal is to focus on learning all that is new and important in our chosen field of medicine. These conferences are often enriched by reunions with our longtime friends and colleagues as well as by spending a few extra days vacationing away from our usual routines. This combination of events likely enhances retention of the material learned and provides a well-needed respite from our daily medical practices.

In the attempt to keep mental health professionals up-to-date, the mission of Psychiatric TimesTM since 1985 has been to provide evidence-based, peer-reviewed, clinically relevant information for psychiatric clinicians in an engaging format. We appreciate your feedback that Psychiatric TimesTM is your go-to source for timely, diverse, and digestible monthly publication. Similarly, over the past several years, the Psychiatric TimesTM website has blossomed into a highly regarded resource with daily updates and a large archive to explore.

The information trifecta has been completed with our annual CME conference, which is modeled after our well-respected monthly publication. Through numerous brief lectures—most 15 to 30 minutes long—presented by leading topic experts, the conference provides a rich, diverse curriculum that is designed to reward attendees with a meaningful and broad educational experience. Plus, the CME credits earned are a pleasant value-added perk.

The Annual Psychiatric TimesTM World CME Conference will be held September 30 through October 2. Building on last year’s successful virtual conference, we are excited to offer a hybrid conference model that allows attendees to participate in person—in San Diego, California—or virtually, with both formats providing access to the same great information and same outstanding faculty. In addition to updates on the usual topics like psychotic disorders, affective disorders, and substance use disorders, presenters will share their experiences and insights on numerous specialty topics.

This year’s conference will begin with a mini-symposium on “Psychiatry in the Age of COVID-19,” exploring how our lives changed during this once-in-a-century pandemic, and how this experience has changed the way we practice psychiatry, grieve from a global disaster, and heal from the physical and mental scars left behind.

Needless to say, the past 18 months have been extraordinary in many ways: The United States and our world community came to a screeching halt as the COVID-19 pandemic ramped up. So many aspects of life that we took for granted were off-limits, and we had to reimagine how to move forward safely. For instance, before the pandemic, I had never engaged in telemedicine. Yet, like so many of you, starting in mid-March 2020, I began meeting with all of my patients either through doxy.me or over a telephone line.

I never fully adjusted to this new way of practicing psychiatry, and beginning a few months ago, I started seeing patients again in my small but comfortable office. It has been fascinating to hear the many different opinions about telemedicine. One thing seems clear: A hybrid model will likely become the “new normal” in health care delivery.

Many other lessons have been learned—like the importance of self-care for clinicians and caregivers—and hopes for improvement abound as we venture forth. As many have said, returning to normal should not be the goal: We should aim to better incorporate the successful innovations gleaned from the pandemic into our routines.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic remains unleashed in many countries, and although vaccination rates in the United States continue to rise, most of us still feel off-balance because of the raw experiences of the past 18 months. There is much to feel, discuss, share, and process about this viral pandemic, and this symposium’s sessions will explore all of that, as well as the psychiatric implications of COVID-19.

In another vein, the conference will feature a series of presentations examining what we know about cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol, and cannabidiol, a timely focus with cannabis legalized—both medically and recreationally—in a rapidly growing number of states. In the not-so-distant future, it could be legalized throughout the United States. Similarly, psychedelics, which had been marginalized since the 1960s, have resurfaced with possible benefits for some psychiatric disorders. For instance, more than 50 clinical trials are currently registered with the US Food and Drug Administration researching the putative benefits of psilocybin for various indications. How might psychedelics become a novel psychiatric treatment in our toolbox? The conference will explore new research and what you need to know.

So many more equally fascinating talks are scheduled. In partnership with Physicians’ Education Resource® (PER®), we are continuing our conference model of presenting many diverse topics in briefer time intervals to allow for a broad curriculum, providing you with key take-home points in a clear and focused manner. I invite you to review our entire conference schedule online and consider registering to attend either in person or virtually.

My favorite part of our annual conference is the ample time for faculty interaction with attendees to discuss cases or delve deeper into topics of interest. For participants attending in person, please join us for a networking reception on the evening of Friday, October 1. If you have previously visited San Diego, you already know why it is such a special city. If you haven’t, it is time to find out.

I look forward to seeing you there—and learning together! ❒


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