The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has never had an African American president in its 173-year-history, but Dr. Altha Stewart just changed that with her recent election to the position. Stewart will now lead its 37,000 members in setting and establishing national and international policies and practice guidelines in the field of psychiatry. Stewart will also be the fourth consecutive woman to serve as the organization’s president.
In addition to being the chief of the Social and Community Psychiatry at the University of Tennessee Health Center, Stewart has also used her platform to advocate for juvenile justice, led the Association of Women Psychiatrists and the Black Psychiatrists of America as its president, and has been nationally recognized as an expert in public sector and minority issues in mental health care.
Stewart, whose been a member of the APA for 30 years, will assume the role of president-elect in May and then president in May 2018. She said of her new position: “My role will be standing at the intersection of race and gender in a national organization. It’s a unique position. … It’s an honor. I’m humbled and I’m happy to serve.”
Congratulations, Dr. Stewart! Thank you for blazing your own trail and being an inspiration to present and future psychiatrists.