Residents as Advocates

Northwestern residents and faculty have a long tradition of becoming involved in mental health advocacy through both the American Psychiatric Association and the Illinois Psychiatric Society. Through providing inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment at a major downtown hospital and research institution, a community mental health center, and a Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Northwestern residents and their patients are directly impacted by decisions made in Washington and in Springfield.

Recent and ongoing political issues directly affecting patient care include:

- Funding for Medicaid and community mental health centers

- Federal and state “parity” legislation influencing insurance company prior authorization requirements for psychiatric treatment

- Reporting of patients to agencies regulating the ownership of firearms

- Legislation allowing the use of telepsychiatry to provide psychiatric treatment in rural areas

- Protecting patient safety through ensuring the proper training and regulation of non-physician prescribers of psychotropic medications

- Identifying means of meeting an increased demand for psychiatric treatment of veterans returning from the military conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq

Northwestern faculty lead by example in encouraging residents to become involved in advocacy work, with Program Director Dr. Joan Anzia having served as President of the Illinois Psychiatric Society, Child and Adolescent Consultation Liaison Attending Dr. Jim MacKenzie recently completing his tenure as President, and inpatient attending Dr. Guarava Agarwal currently serving as a voting council member.

Alison Greenfeder, MD at Springfield