The Alberta Psychiatric Association is a non-profit society that both represents the interests of psychiatrists and advocates on issues regarding mental illness and mental health in the Province of Alberta. There is an executive body consisting of the president, president-elect, secretary-treasurer and past president. Other executive positions include provincial representatives to Canadian Psychiatric Association committees, a scientific program committee, and psychiatrist-in-training representatives from the two medical schools. There are no employees: all executive positions are volunteer.
The Association is autonomous but has close ties with the Canadian Psychiatric Association and the Alberta Medical Association. There is an Alberta Medical Association Section of Psychiatry that is separate from the APA but shares the same executive and handles issues such as fee negotiations.
The Association had a total membership of 238 out of approximately 300 psychiatrists and residents in the province. The membership consists of practicing psychiatrists, retired psychiatrists and psychiatrists in training. The Annual Meeting is held in March in Banff with nearly a full day of scientific presentations. Prizes are awarded for best papers presented by psychiatrists in training. This meeting is generally well attended.
The Association is committed to the provision of high quality mental health care for Albertans. The Scientific Assembly is an opportunity for psychiatrists to learn about the latest treatments and to exchange ideas. There is participation at the political level on mental health issues. We have had meetings in the past with the Minister of Health and with the Alberta Mental Health Board. We have recently endorsed a position paper advocating the divestment of mental health services from the Board to the regional health authorities. We see the need for a strong Mental Health Board that has the power to protect mental health funding and to ensure that regional health authorities comply with best practices in mental health care.