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The Research Role of the American Psychiatric Association

August 29, 2012 Leave a comment

By Thomas Gazda, M.D.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) performs research that generates information to guide the treatment of mental and addictive disorders. APA research findings also serve as the basis for designing innovations in delivery systems and for influencing policy that affects those with mental illness, their families, service providers, insurers, and all levels of government.

In the past decade, APA research has spanned eight areas. The first important research function is to review scientific findings that present evidence for changes in diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This elaborate project draws upon the expertise of national and international research investigators from multiple disciplines. Similarly, the APA relies upon national and international experts for the development of practice guidelines, which assess the efficacy of treatments studied in clinical trials. In its third research function, the APA has focused on service and health policy research, such as that conducted concerning access to care and access to protected medications.

The fourth and fifth areas of research include the development of standards for quality psychiatric care as well as licensure and certification requirements. Additionally, the APA has developed a sixth area of research activity devoted to promoting research training. In order to understand changes and trends in the psychiatric workforce, the APA conducts a seventh area of research on its professionals. Finally, the study of under-resourced areas, such as HIV/AIDS training, comprises the eighth research area.

About the Author: With more than 20 years of experience in psychiatry, Thomas Gazda maintains membership in the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Gazda has special expertise in the treatment of anxiety disorders, as well as affective and psychotic disorders. Dr. Thomas Gazda currently serves as a Psychiatric Consultant at Banner Desert Hospital in Mesa, Arizona, and as a Staff Psychiatrist at Banner Behavioral Health Hospital in Scottsdale.