Psychiatry Section Blog


A Meeting and A Group Like No Other

August 4, 2016

by Brian Briscoe, MD

There is no other meeting like ours in the world. Bringing together fellow Christians in psychiatry from around the world, our annual CMDA Psychiatry Section meeting (held every year alongside the annual APA meeting) offers a safe environment to explore the different ways in which our faith has come to affect our careers and clinical work. For our younger members and members-in- training, the annual meeting provides an opportunity to meet other Christians in the field and learn from more seasoned Christians in the field. For our more experienced psychiatrists, the meeting provides a chance to connect with old friends, refresh in rich discussions of integrating faith in practice and, if desired, mentor and teach the next generation of Christian healthcare professionals.

Thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of many of our members, our annual meeting in Atlanta this year was a huge success. More than 100 psychiatrists attended the meeting. A total of 70 new psychiatrists learned about our group at the booth and were added to our email list. We reached out to serve the local Christian community in Atlanta by hosting a one-day conference to help equip local clergy to better care for persons with mental illnesses. The next day, we gathered as a group to meet new members, reconnect with existing members and soak in the view from atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza Sundial Restaurant. On Monday and Tuesday, we heard from Dr. Franke Schaefer and Dr. Barney Davis about unique opportunities for psychiatrists in the mission field, as well as insight and resources to help with the challenges of caring for missionaries and psychiatric mission work. During our banquet dinner on Tuesday, Eric Johnson, PhD, a well-known academic and speaker in the world of psychology and Christian counseling, presented an engaging exploration of various models of integration. We concluded our meeting on Wednesday morning with an engaging group discussion of patient cases—brought to the table by our members—in which the integration of faith has brought unique challenges and/or opportunities.

After talking to many of you and gathering feedback in the days after the meeting, it was clear there is a palpable sense of energy and enthusiasm in our group. Based on the turnout at the meeting, the growing tide of resident and early career psychiatrists’ membership and a resurgence of interest amongst long-standing members of our group, there is a sense that a bright future lies ahead for our group.

The time is ripe for great things to happen with our group in the next few years. But we need YOUR involvement to make things happen. How can you help?

  • Make plans to attend our next annual meeting in May 2017.
  • Invite your colleagues to attend our annual meeting with you.
  • Spread the word about our group among your Christian colleagues, including fellow psychiatrists, residents and students in training, psychologists, Christian counselors, pastors, etc. Put us on the map and “front of mind” in the local and national Christian community.
  • Visit our website at
  • Send the link to our website to your Christian Colleagues and share our online resources with those who might benefit from them.
  • Check in with us. Send Marshall a note to tell us what you and your loved ones are up to these days. We love to post updates from our members in our newsletters.
  • Reach out to Psychiatry Section members you have met at our past meetings throughout the year. Revive old friendships and/or build new relationships. As Christians in a largely secular field, we can walk a lonely road without the support of one another year round.
  • Serve as a mentor to a resident or young psychiatrist who is eager to learn more about the integration of faith and practice. Mentorship can be effective even from a distance as modern video-conferencing technologies like Skype provide an easy way to converse with our younger members throughout the year. If you prefer to use the more ancient technology like a telephone, that works just as well. Email Marshall to learn more about how to serve as a mentor.
  • For our younger members seeking to learn more about integrating faith and practice, email Marshall to request to be connected with a mentor. We have a number of seasoned and experienced psychiatrists who are eager to share their wisdom and experience with the next generation of Christians in our field.
  • Get involved in your local CMDA group and find healthcare students and residents who are interested in psychiatry and send them our way.
  • Pay your membership dues. Consider making a donation. Our group will not flourish without your financial support.

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About Christian Medical & Dental Associations®

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations® (CMDA) is made up of the Christian Medical Association (CMA) and the Christian Dental Association (CDA). CMDA provides resources, networking opportunities, education and a public voice for Christian healthcare professionals and students.

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