Dr. Altha Stewart Takes Office as APA President, the First African-American to Lead the Organization

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Altha Stewart, M.D., began her one-year term as President of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) at the conclusion of the APA Annual Meeting in New York on May 9. At the same time Bruce Schwartz, M.D., began his term as APA President-elect.Stewart is the first African-American to lead the APA and the fourth consecutive woman chosen to lead the association. She is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth, at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. Her career has spanned three decades of public sector administration, including executive leadership positions in public behavioral health systems in Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.Stewart has held numerous APA leadership positions including secretary of the Board of Trustees; president of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation; chair of the Conflict of Interest Committee and the Minority Fellowship Selection Committee; and member of the Joint Reference Committee and the Council on Advocacy and Government Relations. She also served as president of Association of Women Psychiatrists and president of the Black Psychiatrists of America.In her address at the APA Annual Meeting on May 6, Stewart outlined three main areas of focus for her year as president:

  • Leadership opportunities for early career psychiatrists and residents and better reflecting their needs and the voices in APA strategies and actions
  • Global mental health where APA can and should lead the way for colleagues around the world in innovative treatment programs
  • Exploring social determinants of mental health, including racism, sexism, ageism and homophobia, that continue to affect the mental health and psychological well-being of many Americans, and how organized psychiatry can and should respond to these issues

“I am looking forward to working with our internal and external stakeholders over the next 12 months to advance the goals of our organization and the profession of psychiatry around the globe,” Stewart said. “The APA will be active in speaking out about the challenges facing the nation and how they affect mental health. I want to thank my colleagues for putting their trust in me to lead this organization.”Other APA leadership taking office after the APA Annual Meeting include:TreasurerGregory W. Dalack, M.D.Trustee-at-LargeRichard F. Summers, M.D.Early Career Psychiatrists Trustee-at-LargeAyana Jordan, M.D., Ph.D.Area 1 TrusteeEric M. Plakun, M.D.Area 4 TrusteeCheryl D. Wills, M.D.Area 7 TrusteeAnnette M. Matthews, M.D.Resident-Fellow Member Trustee-ElectRana Elmaghraby, M.D.