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Council on Advocacy and Government Relations

The Council on Advocacy and Government Relations advocates at the state and federal levels on all issues of importance to APA and the field of psychiatry. The council defines and recommends action to meet the mental health needs of veterans and military personnel and their families. The council serves as APA's coordinating body for all legislative activities and actively collaborates with allied groups to work toward the goal of improved quality of care and treatment.

Highlights of Responsibilities

  • Proactively analyze problems and anticipating needs for policies & planning strategies regarding current and anticipated legislative and political situations
  • Assist the association to bring to fruition resolutions of issues critical to patients and psychiatrists traditionally functioning within public sector psychiatry and keeping the association abreast of emergent public psychiatric issues and next-generation issues
  • Educate members on the identification of and the unique challenges facing military personnel, veterans, and their family members in community settings and existing barriers to their care
  • Define and recommend action to meet the mental health needs of veterans and military personnel and their families
  • Work with agencies that set policy on funding, access & quality of psychiatric services at the federal, state, and local levels to affect legislation, regulations, and guidelines
  • Recognize, promote and support the efforts and expertise of Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs psychiatrists in clinical, research, academic and administrative roles and develop methods for increasing their participation and leadership

Committees and Caucuses

  • Committee on Advocacy and Litigation Funding (CALF)
  • Caucus of VA Psychiatrists

Council Members

  • Katherine Gershman Kennedy, M.D. – Chair
  • William Arroyo, M.D.
  • Enrico Castillo, M.D.
  • Jasleen Chhatwal, M.D., MBBS
  • Mary Helen Davis, M.D.
  • Matthew Goldman, M.D.
  • Dionne Hart, M.D. (ASM)
  • Debra Koss, M.D.
  • Michael Mensah, M.D., M.P.H. (ECP)
  • Karen Pierce, M.D.
  • Patrick Runnels, M.D., M.B.A.
  • Veronica Searles-Quick, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Laura Willing, M.D.
  • Eric Rafla Yuan, M.D.

Corresponding Members

  • Brian Hart, M.D. - APAPAC Chair
  • Steve Koh, M.D.
  • Lannis L. (Lee) Tynes, M.D.


  • John Wesley Boyd, M.D.
  • Micah Hoffman, M.D.


  • Omotola Ajibade, M.D.
  • Taiwo Alonge, M.D.
  • Nicholas Apping, M.D.
  • Amanda Benavides, M.D.
  • Adam Chan, M.D.
  • Helen Liljenwall, M.D.
  • Celeste Peay, M.D.
  • Cecilia Rangel-Garcia, M.D.
  • Ashley Shatola, M.D.
  • Jessica Steinsiek, M.D.
  • Alyssa Tate, M.D.
  • Carolina Vicens Cardona, M.D.
  • Chidi Wamuo, M.D.

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