Committee on Public Affairs

Mission:  To represent NYSPA and its DBs to the media in New York State by presenting a knowledgeable and positive view of psychiatry.  Committee members also serve their District Branches by providing a point of contact for education and training regarding interactions with media.

Accomplishments 2012-2013:

  1.  Letters to various newspapers and magazines (including New York Times) throughout the year on a variety of topics including gun violence, suicide, homeless mentally ill, DSM 5, psychopharmacology, etc.
  2. Appearances on various TV and radio shows, including Sue Varma, MD (NY County) on MSNBC, the Today Show, and the Dr. Oz Show; and Felix Torres, MD (NY County) on Telemundo.
  3. Several DBs have extensive interactions with local chapters of NAMI and promote such activities as jointly promoting Public Forums on mental health topics (e.g., West Hudson on 10/16/12 on Depression), giving talks in colleges and high schools on mental health topics; and co-hosting fund raisers such as walks with mental health coalitions.
  4. Mid-Hudson DB awards scholarships for high school graduates interested in mental health and holds fund raisers for the scholarships.
  5. Some DBs hold combined educational meetings with other organizations such as religious organizations (e.g., Clergy Breakfasts Westchester DB; Queens DB).
  6.  Several DBs host research paper contests for psychiatric residents.
  7. Several DBs provided CPT coding and DSM 5 training for members and non-members.

The current list of members of the NYSPA Committee on Public Affairs is as follows:

C. Deborah Cross, MD – Chair
Michael Scimeca, MD              Bronx
Robert B. Young, MD               Genesee Valley
Nalayini Sriskandarajah, MD    Mid-Hudson
Vivian Pender, MD                   NY County
Jeffrey Freedman, MD             NY County
Lawrence Farago, MD             Northern NY
Seeth Vivek, MD                      Queens
Lois Kroplick, DO                     West Hudson
Sebsastian Fasanello, MD       Western NY
C. Deborah Cross, MD            Westchester

Members In the News
Jeffrey Freedman, M.D., Has had a number of letters published in the New York Times. Most recently published were:

  • a response to the article "Where Mental Asylums Live On" 
  • a response to the article "For the Mentally Ill, It's Worse" 


Sue Varma, M.D. participated in a number of television interviews.  Some of the highlights are posted below:

The Today Show  "Are Mean Girls Getting Meaner?"
Katie Couric - "Sole Survivor of a Plane Crash"
ABC News - "Overcoming Blowout Addiction One Air-Dry at at Time" 


Proposed Agenda for October 26, 2013 NYSPA meeting:

Recognition of Visitors
Review of Minutes
Update of DB activities
Update of national APA activities (Jeff Borenstein, MD)

October 26, 2013 Minutes

Old Business:
Ways to encourage participation from DB PA reps, such as having reps join formal mtgs by phone
Review and update News Media List
Discuss/review draft letter for possible distribution to media list
Continue discussion regarding DB plans for e-communication to members (and non-member psychiatrists) through newsletters, blogs, social media, etc. 

New Business:
Review (revise) Mission Statement, and NYSPA Public Affairs Web Page
Consider possible state or DB media training
Other issues