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PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS
WILLIAM C. MENNINGER
Am J Psychiatry 1949;106:xii-2-12.
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Abstract

As physicians, we are proud of the phenomenal progress that medicine has made in the relief of suffering, the cure of illness, and the prevention of disease. By comparison with the total field of medicine, we in psychiatry have shared this progress only in recent years. After a slow and traumatic beginning, we are making rapid strides. We have accumulated a useful and effective, although incomplete, body of knowledge about mental illness of practical value in the practice of medicine and in solving the everyday problems of present-day living.We psychiatrists find ourselves unwillingly and unwittingly in the limelight. The only hope of living up to the expectations of ourselves and the public lies in a clear vision of our responsibility and a willingness to work very hard. Some of these needs we must meet individually. Some of them can only be met cooperatively. Particularly these latter will require that each of us give liberally of our time and energy toward the achievement of the objectives of our Association. Even though we as individuals represent many different specialized interests and approaches, our organization must permit all of us to work for the benefit of psychiatry and the satisfaction of ourselves.As physicians, we must continue to dedicate ourselves to the alleviation of the suffering of humanity. To do so requires that we must ignore personal gain and must willingly make personal sacrifice. With so few of us to face such great opportunities and enormous responsibilities, it is essential that we agree upon our priorities. We must pursue them with vigor and devotion. We must maintain our mutual respect and tolerance. If we can agree on these, and go forth with dignity, integrity, and humility, we can meet and solve the problems that face us.

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