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Ramaswamy Viswanathan, M.D., Dr.Med.Sc.

Ramaswamy Viswanathan, M.D., Dr.Med.Sc.

President-Elect, 2023 – 2024

Ramaswamy Viswanathan, M.D., Dr.Med.Sc., served as elected Trustee of Minority and Under-Represented Groups on the APA Board in the years 2017-2019. He was a longstanding representative in the APA Assembly (1996-2017, 2019-2023), authoring several influential action papers, including one in the year 2002 foresightfully advocating for telehealth to improve access to care. In 2016-18 he was Secretary of the New York State Psychiatric Association (NYSPA). In the APA he has served as Chair of the Bylaws Committee, Vice-Chair of the Council on Member and DB Relations, APA’s representative on AMA IMG Section, and on Finance and Budget Committee, Council on Global Psychiatry, Committee on C-L Psychiatry, Nominating Committees, Assembly Committee on MOC, and Board and Assembly workgroups. He founded and conducted an annual RFM Posters contest for the thirty residency programs in New York State (2016-2023). He founded and conducted a pioneering, innovative annual Residents’ Scholarly Presentations contest for the four residency programs in the Brooklyn District Branch (1992-2023). It was the first such program to be organized by a district branch of the APA. He served on the NYSPA Legislative Committee for more than 25 years, doing federal and state legislative advocacy, e.g. for parity. He founded the APA Caucus on Maintenance of Board Certification to have grassroots input into the process, including reducing financial and other burdens of certification. He is Chair, Committee on C-L Psychiatry, Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry. He is a past Chair, Finance Committee, Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture. He is a member of AAAP, AACP, AADPRT, AAGP, AAPL, ACLP, ACPsych, AMA, and Climate Psychiatry Alliance.

Dr. Viswanathan is Board Certified in Psychiatry, Internal Medicine, Consultation-Liaison, Geriatric, Addiction and Forensic Psychiatry. He is a tenured Professor and Interim Chair of Psychiatry, and Director of C-L Psychiatry and C-L Psychiatry Fellowship at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Health Sciences University. He was the Presiding Officer of the Faculty and Professional Staff of the College of Medicine (2020 – 2022). He now serves as a Senator from this campus on the 64-campus SUNY Faculty Senate (2022 – 2025). His research has been in physician communication, ethics, innovations in psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, treatment adherence in gynecologic cancers, children’s sickle cell disease, HIV, and substance use. He has numerous publications and presentations, and appearances in the media. From the beginning of the COVID pandemic he pioneered support groups for physicians and nurses, and published on this topic. He provided post-tsunami disaster relief in India. He practices public and private psychiatry. His vision is to advance science and practice without unnecessary intrusions by third-parties, prevention, access to care, social justice, empowerment of minorities and women, diversity, inclusion, physician wellness, positive psychiatry and environmental psychiatry.


  • Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, Madras Medical College, University of Madras, India
  • Doctor of Medicine, The University of the State of New York Education Department, recognizing above education
  • Straight Medical Internship, Brooklyn-Cumberland Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
  • Residency in Internal Medicine, Long Island Jewish — Hillside Medical Center, Queens Hospital, NY
  • Residency in Psychiatry, State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
  • Fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine: SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
  • Certificate Program in Sex Therapy, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
  • Doctor of Medical Science, SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn, obtained after post-residency research training in the School of Graduate Studies, with a dissertation "Communication About Death: An Ethical Dilemma for Physicians"

Awards and Honors

  • Society for Liaison Psychiatry Lifetime Achievement Award (2023)
  • APA Assembly Resident-Fellow Member (RFM) Mentor Award (2022)
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, as a Faculty Member (2022)
  • APA Irma Bland Award for Excellence in Psychiatry Residency Education (2019)
  • State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service (2018)
  • SUNY Downstate Medical Center Faculty Award for Commitment to Excellence in Graduate Medical Education (2017)
  • APA Ronald A. Shellow Award for outstanding service to the APA Assembly (2017)
  • APA George Tarjan Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Integration of International Medical Graduates into American Psychiatry. (Award Lecture delivered on 5/22/17 at the Annual Meeting of the Association at San Diego, CA) (2016)
  • American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, Certificate of Recognition for Contributions to Mental Health (2016)
  • Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association (2011)
  • APA Representative to the Tsunami Disaster Relief Conference, Chennai, India (2005)
  • Physician of the Year Award, Kings County Hospital (2001)
  • Marquis "Who's Who in America" (2000)
  • APA Nancy Roeske Certificate for Excellence in Medical Student Education (1999)
  • Fellow, Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (renamed in 2018 as Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry) (1996)
  • Castle Connolly Guide: The Best Doctors - New York Metro Area (1994 - Present)
  • American Association of Psychiatrists from India Outstanding Academician Award for distinguished contributions to mental health science (1990)
  • Fellow (later relabeled Distinguished Fellow), APA (1989)
  • Marquis "Who's Who in the World" (1988)
  • Marquis "Who's Who in the East" (1981)

Medical leadership for mind, brain and body.

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