May 19, 2016

Dr. Maria A. Oquendo Appointed First Latina President Of The American Psychiatric Association

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Maria Oquendo from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) on being elected the first Latina president of the American Psychiatric Association.


New York - 

Dr. Maria A. Oquendo was inducted in as American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) newest president at the organization’s annual meeting in Atlanta. It is the first time a Latina has ever been elected president of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Oquendo begins her term on May 18.

“I am thrilled to be appointed APA president, and I look forward to working with the psychiatric community to promote outstanding care,” said Dr. Oquendo, professor of psychiatry and vice chair for education at Columbia University Medical Center, director of residency training at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and an attending psychiatrist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. “Dr. Renée Binder has been phenomenal in her term as president, and I am honored to follow in her footsteps. The time has never been better for women in leadership. There have now been three female APA presidents in a row – an unprecedented occurrence. As we see diversity in the leadership at APA, there is a strong message of inclusiveness.”

The largest and oldest psychiatric organization in the world, APA now encompasses members practicing in more than 100 countries. In her role as president, Dr. Oquendo will place a newfound emphasis on global mental health initiatives that connect psychiatrists, experts and researchers with one another from around the world.

“This is an incredible opportunity to elevate the global conversation around psychiatric care, said Dr. Oquendo. “We must increase our international networks, maximize partnerships and create more opportunities for collaborative research.”

At this year’s meeting, Dr. Oquendo led numerous sessions and presentations that set the tone for her leadership. These initiatives focused on prevention in psychiatry, integrative health care, and the importance of global mental health. She chaired a new initiative called “Neuroscience-based Nomenclature” on May 17 that focused on shifting the way the psychiatric medical community labels its medications. She also piloted a brand new research colloquium on May 15 which partnered with the Society for Biological Psychiatry in France, Spain, Brazil and Colombia.

Dr. Oquendo is a recognized expert in the diagnosis, pharmacologic treatment and neurobiology of bipolar disorder and major depression, with a special focus on suicidal behavior as well as global mental health. Dr. Oquendo graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University in 1980 and received her MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1984.

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