New MPS President: Theodora Balis, MD

As Dr. Theodora Balis begins her term as Maryland Psychiatric Society (MPS) President this month, she has enlisted a highly capable team of committee chairs who will head up important MPS efforts to better serve the MPS members and the mental health needs of the citizens of Maryland. Additional committee members will be appointed later this month. A member survey will go out soon to gain insights into their priorities for the coming year.

Dr. Balis comes into this new role with deep MPS experience, including serving in the community psychiatry and diversity and membership committees, and more recently as a member of the council. She is committed to doing what she can to increase MPS community presence and have more impact on changes that affect psychiatrists in Maryland.

In her inaugural column in the May 2024 MPS News, she notes, “ One of my goals is to increase our relevancy to those making policy decisions about how psychiatric care is provided. To do this, I recognize the importance of leadership and collaboration beyond our society. By engaging with and partnering with other psychiatric societies and organizations, such as MedChi, district branches, and other psychiatric groups like Black Psychiatrists of America, we can amplify our collective voice, advocate for our profession, and drive positive change in mental health care delivery in Maryland. When it comes to increasing our community presence, we must not only forge partnerships but also actively engage with community leaders, organizations, and grassroots initiatives. By being visible and accessible in our communities, we can foster trust, promote dialogue, and demonstrate that we are leaders in addressing the mental health needs of Maryland’s diverse populations. And we should not seek just to partner with organizations that agree with us, but also with those who could benefit from our expertise in treating people who live with mental illness. This may include collaboration with law enforcement and emergency medical services to ensure the best possible outcomes for individuals experiencing psychiatric emergencies.”

She completed her residency at the University of Maryland and then became faculty for 15 years working in community psychiatry and education. Dr. Balis then went to Bon Secours, now Grace Medical Center/Lifebridge Health for 10 years and did similar work as Medical Director of the ACT team and director of education, focusing on training off-shore medical students. Since 2023, she has been at MedStar Health as Regional Vice-Chair for Education in the Baltimore region, working to establish a new residency program in psychiatry, and as a psychiatrist in the mobile collaborative care HEART team.