April 2010
Report of the WPA Board Meeting of Zonal Representatives, 31 March 2009, Florence, Italy

Meeting called to order by the Chair, Dr Julian Freidin

Zones 1 (Prof. Raymond Tempier); 2 (Prof. Michelle Riba); 3 (Dr. Mauricio Sanchez); 4 (Dr. Fabrizio Delgado); 5 (Dr. Luis Risco); 6 (Prof. Linda Gask); 7 (Dr. Henrik Wahlberg); 9 (Prof. Dusica Lecic-Tosevski); 10 (Prof. Armen Soghoyan); 11 (Prof. Driss Moussaoui ); 14 (Prof. Solomon Rataemane); 15 (Dr. Ahmad Jalili); 16 (Dr. E. Mohandas); 17 (Prof. Naotaka Shinfuku); 18 (Dr. Julian Freidin)

Zones 8 (Prof. Miguel Roca Bennasar); 12 (Prof. Charles Baddoura); 13 (Dr. Joseph Adyemi from Nigeria.

1. Introduction

Minutes of the WPA Board Meeting, Prague September 20, 2008 were reviewed and approved with the inclusion of Professors Henrik Wahlberg, Dusica Lecic- Tosevksi, Naotaka Shinfuku and Armen Soghoyan being in attendance;

Highlights of the zonal reports were presented by the representatives. Copies of the zonal plans from zones 11 and 12 were distributed.

The Board noted that it was very encouraging that the new Executive Committee under the leadership of Prof Mario Maj had arranged for a full day meeting. This was a historical meeting as it was the first time the zonal representatives had met without the Executive Committee. The Board thanked Prof Mario Maj and the Executive Committee for this opportunity.

2. Role and Function of the WPA Board

The Board noted that the WPA Statutes listed seven functions of the Board and formed the view that in the new structure of the Board it now had the capacity to fulfill these responsibilities for the WPA “The Board considers and advises the Executive Committee and the Assembly on the work of the WPA, including in particular, (1) its efforts to strengthen collaboration among Member Societies in the WPA zones; (2) the admission or suspension of Member Societies; (3) the creation of Sections; (4) the Plan of Action of the Executive Committee, including its financial aspects; (5) WPA budget and accounts; (6) the agenda of the General Assemblies; and (7) the report of the Nomination Committee concerning candidates for elective posts and recommendations concerning the voting procedures.”

The Board discussed how it could meet these responsibilities and whether it should have some additional role in WPA as representatives of the Member Societies in each zone. It was considered that there was the opportunity for zone rRepresentatives to partner with other zones regarding research collaborations, educational projects, and clinical programs that could further the goals and objectives of the WPA's Action Plan and the blueprint provided by Professor Maj. Working by email between formal meetings, and then optimally using time together at WPA and other meetings would be very efficient.

Recommendation 2.1: That the Board meets once a year and that this is put into the WPA budget as an annually funded meeting. The meeting should be for a full day and have secretarial support.

Recommendation 2.2: That the chairmanship of the Board changes from meeting to meeting.

Recommendation 2.3: That the Chair of the annual meeting act as a coordinator until the next Board Meeting. Each Board meeting will have a new Chair, and from the time of the meeting until the next meeting, the Chair of the meeting will act as coordinator.

Recommendation 2.4: That the WPA secretariat set up an email listserv group for Board members. The email communication will be for distribution of information, discussion and the development of Board recommendations.

3. Role of Zone Representatives in Relation to EC Activities

The Board considered that each zone representative had a critical role in linking the Member Societies of the zone to the WPA. Any activities of the WPA and decisions of the Executive Committee that affects the zone should be discussed with the zone representative in order to facilitate communication and ensure proper implementation. This would be particularly important is when there is a need for rapid action by the WPA such as when there is a disaster or emergency that requires urgent psychiatric intervention.

Recommendation 3.1: When any WPA activity occurs in particular zonal areas, the WPA Executive Committee should contact the zonal representative so that representative can be actively involved in the matters. This would include, but not be limited to, educational activities, review of research proposals, cosponsored Congresses and requests for expert advisors on task forces. It is preferable that the zonal representative be contacted in advance of any formal endorsement by WPA of an activity by an external organization.

Recommendation 3.2: When there is a disaster or emergency that requires the need for psychiatric care, the relevant zone representatives should be central in helping address such emergencies.

4. Inter-zonal Collaboration in Selected Activities

The Board considered that it had a critical role in encouraging collaboration between zones to achieve the goals of the zone plans and the WPA plan. Zonal representatives intend to play more active roles to promote collaboration in research and training among members societies in the Zones, promote dialogues between Zones of the four WPA Regions and to contribute to the WPA global program in a concerted and organized manner.

The Board considered that it should commence a collaborative project by Board members in order to further understand the processes and issues relating to inter-zonal collaboration. The project should also further the aims of the WPA. The Board considered that it was not currently in a position to seek research funding from the WPA to undertake an activity, however individual or small groups of zone representatives may choose to do so. The Board considered a range of projects that they could undertake that would draw on information and knowledge held by many members societies. The Board considered that over time it may undertake a number of these activities.

The range of projects discussed by the Board were:

  • Perinatal mental health
  • Primary care
  • Long term consequences of trauma
  • Acute consequences of trauma
  • Dementia
  • Mental Health in developing countries
  • Choosing psychiatry as a career
  • Psychiatry and cardiology
  • Primary care
  • Community psychiatry
  • Child psychiatry

The Board considered that the issue of choosing psychiatry as a career was an appropriate initial collaborative project, with the aim being to collect existing documentation of member societies about how they promote psychiatry to medical students. The information collected would be made available to those individuals or groups who are funded by WPA to research how to better promote psychiatry.

The Board considered that if this process was successful, it would then be in a position to further develop a methodology by which zone representatives good collectively collect information from members societies and be a conduit of information to the Executive Committee of the WPA.

Recommendation 4.1: That as an initial collaborative activity, zone representatives collect existing materials used by Member Societies to recruit medical students into psychiatry. This information would be made available to inform the WPA research project.

5. Meeting with the Executive Committee

The Board welcomed the opportunity to report on its discussions to the Executive Committee. The Board was pleased to receive and endorse the following additional recommendations from the WPA President, Prof. Mario Maj, regarding activities and responsibilities of the Board and its members.

Recommendation 5.1: That each zonal representative identify an isolated country or a problematic country in their zone and focus on supporting it.

Recommendation 5.2: That as some countries are not covered by WPA due to not having member societies, zone Representatives should try to identify those countries in their zone and provide support.

Recommendation 5.3: That the Board and Zone Representatives maintain their enthusiasm for WPA activities and provide concrete and specific advice to the WPA executive.

Dr. Julian Freidin
WPA 2009 Board Meeting




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