Updated MPS Committee Goals for Addressing Structural Racism and Inclusion

At the request of MPS Council each MPS committee has identified steps it will take to address structural racism and inclusion within the organization.  Updated plans for 2023-24 are as follows:

Academic Psychiatry

Matthew Peters, M.D., Co-Chair

Traci Speed, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Chair

  1. Commit to publicizing recent papers by psychiatrists of color, including non-members (including contacting regional institutions for information)
  2. Enhance the diversity of the committee, with emphasis on recruiting and retaining member researchers of color and those from underrepresented communities


Community Psychiatry & Diversity Coalition

Theodora Balis, M.D., Co-Chair

Ann Hackman, M.D., Co-Chair

  1. Enhance the diversity of the coalition so that it is more reflective of the people we serve, including intentionally work to recruit residents and fellows from underrepresented groups
  2. Connect in an organized way with other groups that work to address social determinants of health, equity and related problems to create linkages for MPS members to resources and opportunities for advocacy.
  3. Advocate for social justice, for the dismantling of structural racism within psychiatry and for accessible and non-discriminatory services for all citizens of Maryland
  4. Collaborate with other committees across the MPS organization around these issues and initiatives to create synergies that maximize our effectiveness as a group of dedicated psychiatrists


Distinguished Fellowship

Karen Swartz, M.D., Chair

MPS has a terrific Distinguished Fellowship (DF) committee with a diverse membership.  The committee continues to work hard to have MPS nominees for Distinguished Fellowship reflect the diversity of our talented membership.


Editorial Advisory Board

Bruce Hershfield, M.D., Editor, The Maryland Psychiatrist

  1. Publish interviews with members and non-members who can address these issues, either because of their own backgrounds or their research/practice.
  2. Include members on the EAB who come from minority backgrounds and/or have worked in the appropriate settings.
  3. Have regular contributions from the MPS Community Psychiatry & Diversity Coalition, local members of Black Psychiatrists of America, and other groups.



Joanna Brandt, M.D., Co-Chair
Ronald Means, M.D., Co-Chair

  1. The committee will strive to maintain diversity among its members as well as representation from a mix of practitioner types. Additionally, the ratio of new and experienced committee members should be balanced.
  2. When planning CME programs with ethical implications, the committee will specifically consider the impact of structural racism in all topics discussed.



Carol Vidal, M.D., Ph.D., Theodora Balis, M.D., Ronald Means, M.D., and Jessica Merkel-Keller, M.D.

Continue to follow up regularly with MPS committees to ensure that all MPS’ committees are addressing these areas.

President and President-elect will continue to attend Nominations & Elections Committee meetings as ex-officio and invited guest participants to support the appointment of a diverse group of members on the annual election ballot for top MPS leadership positions.

Continue to track progress of participation by underrepresented MPS members (these will be absolute numbers due to incomplete member data):

  • Executive Committee
  • Councilors
  • Assembly Reps/MedChi Delegates
  • Committee Chairs
  • Committee Members
  • Member Advancements to Distinguished Fellow

Host/Coordinate Annual MPS General Membership Meeting, which will include discussion of recent Maryland bills/initiatives that highlight issues relevant to minorities.

These Executive Committee goals below are to be postponed until a later date:

Expand member demographic data to enable metrics that include calculations of percentage representation of minority members vs non-minority for the items noted below:

  • Referral Service
  • Listserv
  • Interest Groups
  • Member Advancements to Fellow
  • CME Programs
  • Annual Dinner Meeting
  • Other MPS Events



Annette L. Hanson, M.D., Co-Chair
Michael Young, M.D., Co-Chair

We are already, and have consistently supported, legislation regarding improved pretrial and pre-arrest diversion programs to decriminalize mental illness. We endorse and support legislation for grants to improve psychiatric services in correctional facilities as well as CIT training programs for law enforcement to reduce the likelihood of deadly encounters between police and people with mental illness in communities with racial disparities. Issues related to voter suppression, immigration, and sentencing are beyond the scope of our committee’s abilities except as these issues relate to people with mental illness. We continue to support bills that increase access to care for underserved communities (like through telehealth and workforce expansion bills). We also reached out and included residents with the aim of including more MUR members.


Membership & Recruitment

Karen Dionesotes, M.D., M.P.H. Co-Chair
Theodora Balis, M.D., Co-Chair

1.     Continue to recruit psychiatrists that reflect the diversity of psychiatrists practicing in Maryland in order to diversify MPS membership

2.     Ensure that both new members and potential members have a warm handoff as an introduction to MPS, from a current MPS member. Implement an “ambassador” program to support in diversifying MPS membership. 

3.     Identify any demographic gaps in members of the Membership Committee and recruit new committee members so the group is more representative of MPS membership.


Program & Continuing Medical Education

Joshua Chiappelli, M.D., Co-Chair
Paul Nestadt, M.D., Co-Chair
The CME committee is in full support of promoting anti-racism and social justice. We will continue to center the voices of people of color and people from marginalized communities. This not only includes highlighting speakers from diverse backgrounds, but also topics relevant to social justice and health care disparities as part of our broader curriculum. We will continue to examine how CME projects are chosen in order to promote understanding about different cultures. We are exploring the feasibility of a joint conference with MedChi focused on disparities in access to care as well as the history of racism in medicine and psychiatry. We welcome members to suggest and spearhead other relevant webinars and events.