Research plays a vital role in the understanding of the causes of mental illnesses, the development of treatments and preventive strategies, and the promotion of mental health. Research also provides information about how to effectively organize and structure the delivery of services for mental disorders, including substance abuse. To a greater extent than ever before, research informs public and private sector policies that affect persons with mental disorders and their families, as well as mental health care providers, insurers, and agencies at all levels of government.
APA's reasearch contributes to the science of psychiatric practice and mental health policy and aims to
- conduct clinical and health services research to bridge the gap between research and practice and to inform health policy
- enhance research capacities to improve the quality of psychiatric care
- identify scientific opportunities and stimulate research in psychiatry to further our understanding of mental and behavioral disorders across the lifespan
APA generates services and health policy research through its Psychiatric Practice Research group; produces evidenced-based quality indicators of practice, which help members maintain certification and meet licensing standards; and researches psychiatric workforce patterns.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
The Division of Research oversees the maintenance and future revisions of the DSM. This includes (1) integrating with ICD-10 coding changes, (2) analyzing field trial data, (3) evaluating quality and outcome measures proposed in DSM, (4) developing an electronic platform for use of the DSM in HER and research implementation of DSM in specialty and primary care practices, and (5) future revisions of the DSM.
Programs and Research Initiatives
A collaborative initiative from APA, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), Friends Research Institute (FRI), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), AMNet is seeking addiction medicine providers from a range of practices to participate in a practice-based research network. The network is focused on measuring and improving patient outcomes through the collection of data in PsychPRO - APA's CMS-Qualified Clinical Data Registry. AMNet will be able to serve as a platform for future research studies.
PsychPRO is APA's national mental health registry - a flexible tool that captures data to help psychiatrists and all behavioral health providers make optimal patient care decisions, further research and develop new measurements of quality.
Research Colloquium for Junior Psychiatrists
Since 1996, the mission of the Research Colloquium for Junior Psychiatrist Investigators has been to promote the research career development for early career psychiatrists through mentoring and networking activities.
Psychiatric Research Fellowship
The APA/APAF Psychiatric Research Fellowship provides funding for an early research career psychiatrist to design and conduct a health services/policy-related research study using national data housed at the APA. The fellow's research activities will be carried out under the supervision and guidance of a mentor at his/her institution in collaboration with his/her mentor(s) at the APA Division of Research. Early research career psychiatrists in traditionally underrepresented groups will be given high priority. This vital program will enable the APA and APA Foundation to actively participate in diversifying, sustaining and strengthening the clinical investigators workforce specifically in psychiatry.
Early Career Research Breakfast
Research Colloquium participants can network with additional senior research mentors in a round table discussion with 11 different research topics in psychiatry. This year's topics include:
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research
- Epidemiology and Health Services Research
- Geriatric Research
- Neuroscience and Basic Science Research
- Psychopharmacology Research
- Psychosocial Research
- Global Mental Health Research
- Health Disparities and Diversity Issues
- Suicide and Suicide Prevention Research
- Health Policy Research or Informatics Research
Leadership and Recognition
Council on Research
The Council on Research continues to help ensure that research on mental health remains integral to the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) mission and in the forefront of the national health agenda. These areas are represented by the committees, caucuses, and task forces under the Council's Jurisdiction, including:
- Committee on Psychiatric Dimensions of Disaster
- Caucus of Psychiatrists Treating Persons with Eating Disorders
- Caucus on Integrative Psychiatry
- Caucus on Climate Change and Mental Health
APA awards strengthen and diversify the psychiatric workforce and recognize significant contributions to psychiatric knowledge and practice. APA and the Department of Research helps facilitate and fund the following research-related awards:
- Award for Research in Psychiatry
Recognizes a single distinguished contribution, a body of work, or a lifetime contribution that has had a significant impact on the field and/or altered the practice of psychiatry.
- Gralnick (Alexander) Award for Research in Schizophrenia
Acknowledges research achievements in the treatment of schizophrenia, emphasizing early diagnosis and treatment and psychosocial aspects of the disease process.
- Health Services Research Awards
Honors an early career psychiatrist and a senior APA member for outstanding contributions to the field of psychiatric health services research.
- Ittleson (Blanche) Award for Research in Child/Adolescent Psychiatry
Recognizes a child psychiatrist or group of investigators for outstanding research pertaining to the mental health of children and adolescents.
- Kempf Awards for Research Development in Psychobiological Psychiatry
Recognizes research on the psychobiological, psychological, and/or sociological causes and treatment for schizophrenia. An award goes to a senior researcher and to his/her mentee.
- Marmor (Judd) Award
Honors an individual who has contributed to research advancing the biopsychosocial aspects of psychiatry.
- Meyer (Adolph) Award
Honors outstanding research investigators from throughout the world for lifetime achievement in psychiatric research.
- Research Mentorship Award
Honors an academic psychiatrist who has fostered the research of of a student, Resident-Fellow Member, or early career psychiatrist in a significant manner through direct mentorship or by the promotion of novel research-oriented training activities.