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Ramaswamy Viswanathan, M.D., Dr.Med.Sc., Assumes Office of APA President

  • May 09, 2024
headshot Ramaswamy Viswanathan, MD
Ramaswamy Viswanathan, M.D., Dr.Med.Sc.

Washington, D.C. — Ramaswamy Viswanathan, M.D., Dr.Med.Sc., a longtime advocate for mental health, medical educator, and clinician-researcher, began his term as president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) at the conclusion of the organization’s 2024 Annual Meeting in New York City.

Viswanathan currently serves as interim chair of psychiatry at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Health Sciences University, where he also directs the Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service and its Fellowship Program. His involvement in the APA community spans decades, including but not limited to his roles as chair of the Bylaws Committee, vice-chair of the Council on Member and District Branch Relations, APA Board Trustee of Minority and Underrepresented Groups, and – for over 20 years – an APA Assembly representative, receiving the Ronald Shellow Award for outstanding service to the Assembly. He also served as secretary of the New York State Psychiatric Association (NYSPA) from 2016-2018.

He is board-certified in psychiatry, internal medicine, consultation-liaison psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, and forensic psychiatry.

Viswanathan’s research has focused on communication, medical ethics, and treatment adherence, but also extends to substance use, HIV, innovations in psychotherapy, and more. He is the 2016 winner of the APA’s George Tarjan Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Integration of International Medical Graduates into American Psychiatry, and an APA Distinguished Life Fellow. He received the State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service in 2018. He was presiding officer of the Faculty and Professional Staff of the College of Medicine at SUNY Downstate from 2020-2022 and is currently a senator from SUNY Downstate to the SUNY Faculty Senate.

“I am grateful for the trust my fellow APA members have placed in me by electing me to help lead our organization, and excited for the year ahead,” said Viswanathan. “This opportunity to advance the practice of psychiatry and have a positive impact on the mental health of so many people is a career highlight. I look forward to working closely with colleagues at APA and around the globe to affirm APA’s role as a leading voice in psychiatry.”

As the 2024-2025 APA President, Viswanathan’s priorities are to:

  • Focus on lifestyle interventions for positive mental and physical health through a holistic approach to wellness, including exercise, nutrition, sleep, social connectedness, stress reduction, and avoidance of risky behaviors. They will be promoted in conjunction with other treatment modalities such as psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy and neural stimulation.
  • Promote education, research, appropriate use of technology including AI.
  • Address practice burden, workforce issues, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Continue his existing legislative push for parity in mental health and access to care.
  • Elevate the voice of psychiatry in America on issues such as the youth mental health crisis, social determinants of health and climate change.

Other successful 2024 candidates for APA leadership who took office at the close of the APA Annual Meeting in Manhattan:

  • President-Elect: Teresa Miskimen Rivera, M.D.
  • Treasurer: Steve Koh, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.
  • Early Career Psychiatrist (ECP) Trustee: Sudhakar K. Shenoy, M.D.
  • Trustee-At-Large: Patricia Westmoreland, M.D.
  • Area 1 Trustee: John C. Bradley, M.D.
  • Area 4 Trustee: Dionne Hart, M.D.
  • Area 7 Trustee: Mary Hasbah Roessel, M.D.
  • Resident-Fellow Member Trustee-Elect (RFMTE): Nicolas K. Fletcher, M.D., M.H.S.A.

Born in India, Viswanathan immigrated to the U.S. after attaining his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree at Madras Medical College at the University of Madras, and then completed a Doctor of Medical Science Degree at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,900 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit

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