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Cheryl D. Wills, M.D.

Cheryl Wills

Candidate for 2024 Treasurer

A Message from the Candidate

Candidate Platform

Read candidates' platforms in the APA Election Guide to the Candidates (.pdf), including:

  • A message from each candidate
  • What is your most important achievement?
  • Where does the profession of psychiatry need to be in five years?
  • Something about yourself that most people don't know


Cheryl D. Wills, M.D., is a board certified general, child and adolescent, and forensic psychiatrist who practices community psychiatry in Cleveland, OH. She is serving a second elected term on the APA Board as Trustee of Area 4, the Midwestern U.S. (2018-). Dr. Wills is known for her strategic approach to governance and her ability to forge consensus among disparate stakeholders. She was awarded APA Special Presidential Commendations in 2021 and 2023 for her exemplary service as a Board member and on the Joint Reference Committee (2018-). This is a rare achievement, even for APA Board members.

In 2020-2021, Dr. Wills chaired the Presidential Task Force on Structural Racism, SRTF, which completed a data-driven systematic review of the APA's functioning and governance. This resulted in organization-wide reform and an historic 18 actions being approved by the Board. Under her leadership, the SRTF completed its work in seven of the 12 allotted months during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Wills was the forensic advisor to two DSM-5 workgroups (2012-2013). She served on the Assembly (2009-2016), Council on Psychiatry and the Law (2009-2013, 2016-2018), and other APA workgroups and committees.

Dr. Wills was appointed by three consecutive APA presidents to serve on the Finance and Budget Committee and was the only trustee invited to participate in financial negotiations to purchase the APA's $45 million headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Learning more about corporate governance, financial accountability and leadership has positioned Dr. Wills to meet the long-term needs of the APA. She completed executive education programs at the Weatherhead School of Business and Kellogg School of Business while serving on the APA Board.

She is Scientific Program Chair for the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (2023- ), is active in the American College of Psychiatrists, and serves on several editorial boards. She writes and lectures nationally and internationally about forensic and administrative psychiatry, risk management, professionalism and workplace culture, and health equity.

Her skillset makes her an effective advocate for psychiatrists, the profession of psychiatry, patients, and the public.

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  • Weatherhead School of Management, Executive Education, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH Executive Leadership Development Experience (2023)
  • Kellogg School of Management Executive Education Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. Women's Director Development Program (2023)
  • Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Coursework in public health (2004)
  • Case Western Reserve University, fellowship in forensic psychiatry (1996-1997)
  • Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Foundation, coursework in psychodynamic psychotherapy (1994-1996)
  • University Health System of Pittsburgh, combined residency in general and child psychiatry (1991-1996)
  • State University of New York, Upstate Medical University, MD (1991)
  • Barnard College, Columbia University, B.A. Biochemistry (1982-1986)

Awards and Honors

  • American Psychiatric Association Special Presidential Commendation (2023)
  • Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association (2022)
  • American Psychiatric Association Board of Trustees Distinguished Service Award (2022)
  • University of Florida College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry Special Lecturer Award (2022)
  • American Psychiatric Association Special Presidential Commendation (2021)
  • American Psychiatric Association Lifetime Membership and Service Award (2018)
  • Visiting Scholar in Child Forensic Psychiatry University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine (2017)
  • Best Doctors in Cleveland, OH, Cleveland Magazine (2015-2017)
  • Guest Editor, Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, DSM-5 and Forensic Psychiatry, special issue (2014)
  • Distinguished Fellow, American Psychiatric Association (2012)
  • Who's Who in America (2009)
  • Consumers Research Council "Guide to America's Top Psychiatrists" (2004)
  • "Remarkable Member," American Psychiatric Association (2004)
  • Profiled in The Daily Bulletin American Psychiatric Association (2004)
  • Profiled in Barnard College Alumnae Magazine, May 2004 (2004)
  • "Top Ten Graduates You Probably Never Heard of" Barnard Bulletin, orientation issue, September 2003 (2004)
  • Profiled in Inside Tulane magazine November 15, 2003 (2003)
  • Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Foundation Scholarship (1994)
  • Marc Hollander Psychiatry Award, State University of New York (1991)
  • New York State Regents Health Professions Scholarship (1989-1991)
  • National Medical Fellowship (1988-1989)
  • National Medical Fellowship (1986-1987)
  • Johnson and Johnson Health Care Scholarship (1986-1988)
  • Lucy Moses Pre-medical Award, Barnard College, Columbia University (1986)
  • New York State Regents Scholarship (1982-1986)
  • United Federation of Teachers Scholarship (1982-1986)

Medical leadership for mind, brain and body.

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