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Presidential Addresses   |    
Carolyn Robinowitz, M.D., 134th President, 2007–2008
Paul Jay Fink, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2008;165:1271-1271. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2008.165.10.1271
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I am very honored to have the opportunity to introduce our wonderful President, Carolyn Robinowitz, and to do as good a job for her as she did for me 19 years ago. Over the years, Carolyn has been my friend, my buddy, my helper, my co-conspirator, and my trusted companion—always there, always ready, steadfast, hard working, demanding, honest, and extraordinarily loyal. I have known and worked with Carolyn on innumerable projects over the last 40 years and, as I will tell you, she has extraordinary attributes. First of all, she is beautiful, as you can see.

Over the years, her heart has been in academia. She stimulated the growth of the academic side of APA at the beginning of her long tenure as a Deputy Medical Director, and her innovation to bring all the relevant resident and medical student societies into the same room and rely upon their deliberations was unique. I was on the council and Chair of the then-Council of Medical Education and Career Development, which was the first venue in which Carolyn and I truly worked hand-in-hand. Her idea that APA should assume the leadership in academic psychiatry was a real breakthrough because it said we, APA, are the premier psychiatric organization in the country and must have a voice. She has continued with this theme throughout her career, helping start the Association for Academic Psychiatry and working to bring all voices interested in training and education to the table. She served on the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and was its President for 2 years, as well as President of the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, and the American College of Psychiatrists.

All of that might have been enough to establish her academic credentials, but she has also served as Professor of Psychiatry and Dean of Georgetown Medical School. So she has achieved this credential from every angle and through every avenue.

The second role Carolyn has played in her distinguished career is that of advocate. In one of her recent presidential articles titled, “When Our Voice is Raised, Treatment and Science Benefit,” she lays out her oft-repeated idea that we must all advocate psychiatry. We must follow in her footsteps, always promoting the field and our colleagues. It was inherent in her theme during her presidency and this meeting, and she believes, and hopefully we all agree, that advocacy is the responsibility of every psychiatrist in America for the sake of the profession and, more importantly, for the sake of all mentally ill patients.

Carolyn’s third attribute is caretaking. She is the organization’s mother. Not only as a mother to her two sons, Mark and David, but also to her husband, Max, and her three wonderful grandchildren, the lights of her life. She also is often a mother to friends (like me), people she works with, and ostensibly all 40,000-plus members of APA. Carolyn cares about people and knows how to love them and make them feel valued.

Carolyn is beautiful, bright, and caring. What more could we ask for? We could ask that she be a great APA President, and she was. I am proud to present our incredible 134th APA President—our academic, our advocate, our surrogate mother—Carolyn B. Robinowitz.

+Presented at the 161st Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C., May 3–8, 2008. Dr. Fink is APA’s 115th President and currently Professor of Psychiatry at Temple University. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Fink, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Temple University School of Medicine, 100 East Lehigh Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19125; pjayfink@aol.com (e-mail).

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