RxP's Shining Light

On behalf of the psychopharmacology committee, please note recent attention for the RxP movement by Dr. Beth Rom-Rymer (our Illinois neighbor), as highlighted in a recent newsletter from former APA President Pat DeLeon. 

Beth Rom-Rymer, who came in second in this year’s APA Presidential race: “South Africa – Throughout my early training and professional career, I have sought to form international partnerships.  The richness of these cultural, linguistic relationships continually advance my work.  In October of this year, I had the remarkable opportunity to travel to South Africa to speak on a panel, focused on Prescriptive Authority (RxP), with the leaders of the RxP movement in South Africa, Joachim Mureriwa and Thabiso Rapapali.  It was thrilling to speak to an overflow crowd of South African psychologists, all eager to train to become prescribing psychologists.  The need for more accessible and comprehensive mental health treatment is at crisis proportions in South Africa as it is in the US.  A global perspective will serve as a foundation for the future of psychology and APA.  It is critical that we approach our numerous international partnerships with an attitude of collaborative science, flexibility, and honesty, via a commitment to reciprocity and respect and a desire to learn from our global partners, as well as contribute.  My experience in South Africa personified this philosophy.  I was embraced by my colleagues and gained a richness in experience that could only be realized by international collaboration.  I have been transformed by my experience.

“CATO Institute – It is quite exciting when one’s life passion and achievements become recognized by the larger world.  When I received an email from Jeffrey A. Singer, MD, a general surgeon in Arizona in early September, who is also a senior research Fellow at the CATO Institute, asking me to participate in a live-streamed panel on RxP, I jumped on the opportunity.  Over time, we developed a prestigious panel that included Illinois psychiatrist, Thomas Lee, MD, a supporter of psychologist’s prescriptive authority; Claudia Mosier, a highly respected prescribing psychologist in both Louisiana and Illinois; and Rebecca (Becca) Weintraub Brendel, MD, JD, President of the American Psychiatric Association.  Although not billed as a debate, it was a highly ‘animated’ discussion about the viability of RxP.  Becca focused on the timeworn tropes that: prescribing psychologists’ work was not safe; that the numbers of prescribing psychologists would never reach a threshold high enough to provide care to the most underserved populations; and that if psychologists would only submit to the psychiatrists’ ‘leadership’, all of us could work ‘more collaboratively and more effectively’ because medical school was a ‘proven’ training ground for mental health prescribers.

“Our team of pro-prescriptive authority psychologists, with myself in the lead, opened up the conversation with statistics demonstrating the dramatically low numbers of treating psychiatrists, especially for children, adolescents, and older adults; a description of the warm welcome that prescribing psychologists have been given by frontline psychiatrists and other healthcare providers throughout Illinois; and, an enumeration of the numbers of hours of training that prescribing psychologists, especially those in Illinois, receive: up to 20,000 hours as compared with 10,000-16,000 hours of training that psychiatrists receive.  When Becca complained about the low numbers of prescribing psychologists, Claudia made the excellent point: ‘You’re really just giving a circular argument: psychiatrists block prescribing psychologists’ legislative bills at every turn and then you say that we don’t have enough bills that have passed.’  As the coup de grace, Claudia said: ‘You say that there are not enough of us to make a difference, but I am in the field, with a schedule that is filled with patients, and psychiatrists are just not there.’”  Beth’s similarly inspiring presentation before interested members of the New York State legislature can be seen at https://youtu.be/34tac4dQuYI .

You can learn more about RxP in Iowa here


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