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The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) recently welcomed Gregory K. Fritz, MD, as the organization’s newest president during AACAP’s 62nd Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
“I feel privileged to have been elected as AACAP president, and I am eager to see what we can do to reshape healthcare into what children need and deserve,” said Dr. Fritz. “I sincerely believe that we are in the most exciting period for the advancement of children’s mental health since I became a physician.”
In his inaugural address, “Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Era of Healthcare Reform,” Dr. Fritz called for a new level of collaboration between pediatricians, primary care providers, psychologists, and other mental health care professionals in order to effectively serve those in need: “There is a huge reservoir of kids with untreated mental illnesses. The workforce is minuscule compared to what is needed.” Dr. Fritz cites a shortage of psychiatrists along with the negative stigma associated with mental illnesses as barriers to accessing appropriate care.
To combat these challenges and better serve children and their families, Dr. Fritz will focus on integrated care as his presidential initiative. He emphasizes the need for empirical evidence of improved outcomes and/or cost savings if integrated care is ever to be widely applied, and for advocacy to remove the many administrative and financial barriers that currently exist. The initiative will be organized around four areas: advocacy, education, evaluation, and creation of a resource center.
Dr. Fritz is the academic director of Bradley Hospital and the director of the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center. He is the director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital as well as in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Fritz is also a professor and the vice chair of the department.
Dr. Fritz has been awarded grant support from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for his research on mind-body interactions in chronic pediatric illness. He has published extensively on the psychophysiology of respiration, perception of physical symptoms, and minority disparities in pediatric asthma.