Shaping the Future of Psychiatry

Each year, the Foundation sponsors over $600,000 in grants, fellowships and awards. With your donation, we can continue to foster advancement and interest in the field of psychiatry and support the next generation of psychiatric community leaders.


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Meet some of the everyday heroes who have benefited from APA Foundation grants and awards:

 

 

Kenneth Fung, MD

Recipient, APA Foundation Award for Advancing Minority Health

Dr. Kenneth Fung is the recipient of a 2016 APA Foundation Award for Advancing Minority Mental Health. This award recognizes psychiatrists, other health professionals, mental health programs and other organizations that have undertaken innovative and supportive efforts to raise mental illness awareness, increase access, and improve quality of care for underserved minorities.

As the co-founder of the Asian Initiative in Mental Health Program (AIM) at the Toronto Western Hospital, Dr. Fung has built his career around his passion to foster mental health awareness and improve access to cultural competent care in the Asian community as well as other minority groups. His clinical program serves the local underserved Cantonese- and Mandarin-speaking communities and is a training ground for medical students and residents interested in cross-cultural psychiatry. In addition to conducting community-based research in the area, Dr. Fung provides psychiatric consultation to minority mental health care service organizations, conducts cultural competence training for residents and mainstream mental health care organizations, and engages local media and other venues to promote mental health and advocate for stigma reduction.

Dr. Fung first learned of the Awards for Advancing Minority Mental Health ten years ago when he wrote a letter of support for a colleague's nomination. Now, having been awarded himself, he shares;

"It is rare to have this kind of recognition for our work in minority mental health. The work we do may not be high profile like genetics research, and yet it is highly relevant on the frontlines in the face of everyday systemic inequities and the issues of unaddressed stigma. This often neglected area deserves attention and together we can drive change. My efforts are not about me alone changing the world-only with a lot of work with a lot of people can the inequities diminish. It is about engaging the world to change the world."




 

Lynneice Bowen, MD

Current Fellow, APA / APAF Diversity Leadership Fellow

Dr. Lynneice Bowen is a 3rd year resident at the Medical University of South Carolina and a 2nd year Diversity Leadership Fellow. The Diversity Leadership Fellowship supports psychiatric residents who want to foster culturally sensitive mental health services among diverse and underserved populations. It is one of seven fellowships the APA Foundation provides to residents.

Dr. Bowen’s pursuit of psychiatry took careful consideration and determination. After attending Florida A&M University as an undergraduate, she spent 9 years teaching middle and high school. She began to realize she wanted a larger platform to influence the lives of individuals and communities, and that medicine was an ideal opportunity. In medical school, she found psychiatry best aligned with her teaching experience and interest in women’s mental health and the social determinants of health. Dr. Bowen explains, “Psychiatrists work alongside their patients in a way that is different from other physicians; we place additional value on maximizing patient strengths and resilience."

Becoming involved in the APA was transformational for Dr. Bowen. As a medical student, she learned of the APA and attended the 2014 Annual Meeting. There, she was introduced to the Diversity Leadership Fellowship Program and began to expand her network. Today, she serves on the Council on Medical Education and Lifelong Learning and was recently appointed as a resident representative to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) on Psychiatry.

Dr. Bowen says, "The APA has opened doors I couldn't have imagined possible when I first attended the Annual Meeting." Her fellowship from the APA Foundation then opened more doors. "That really is the beauty of the Diversity Leadership Fellowship. It provided me with connections to the larger psychiatric community, comfort in expanding relationships and new perspective as I pursue my career."

As her two-year fellowship sunsets, she shares advice with future residents and fellows: "Be persistent in your quest to find professional opportunities and connections. People are busy and it can sometimes take time to get useful (and accurate) information as you manage career choices. However, those relationships, knowledge and enhanced perspective will pay off in the end."




 

Rachel Robitz, MD

Current Fellow, APA / APAF Public Psychiatry Fellowship
Recipient, APA Foundation Helping Hands Grant

Dr. Rachel Robitz is a co-chief of the combined psychiatry and family medicine resident at UCSD and UCSD community psychiatry fellow. She currently serves as an APA public psychiatry fellow, the fellowship's representative to the Board of Trustees, and RFM representative on the APA Council of Psychiatry and the Law.

Dr. Robitz received an APA Foundation Helping Hands grant in 2011 to develop a medical student-driven education program focused on using women engaged in commercial sex as educators of medical students. This program provides grants of up to $5,000 to medical schools for mental health and substance use disorder projects, particularly in underserved minority communities. Funded projects are created and managed by medical students and can be conducted in partnership with community agencies, or in conjunction with ongoing medical school outreach activities. "The grant helped us put pen to paper to make the Women Leading Healthy Change program happen, and provided essential funding for a peer educator and supplies," says Dr. Robitz.

For Dr. Robitz, it was the first time she created a research project-and service learning program-from scratch. Being the principal investigator, applying for the grant, engaging academic leaders and peers, recruiting students and partnering with a community-based organization provided an incredible learning experience, helping to shape her interest in academics. Dr. Robitz plans to continue research on vulnerable populations (especially women with trauma) and the intersection of psychiatry and medicine.

Five years later, Women Leading Healthy Change continues to flourish as a model program for the University of Cincinnati. "I've learned how to treat people and not their disease. When I have a rough day at work, I recall the strength of the peer educators-who had previous engagement in commercial sex-and am grounded. Psychiatry allows me to explore people, share in their vulnerable moments and celebrate their recovery."

 

If you, or someone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, click here for a list of resources.