My main objective when elected World Psychiatric Association (WPA) Secretary for Sections six years ago was to consolidate the work of our Sections through initiatives to enhance their activities and visibility.
Some issues were considered important in this sense such as to increase Sections membership across different regions of the world, to improve their electoral process and promote a rotation of their leadership, to regularly engage them in the World Congress of Psychiatry (WCP) and other WPA scientific meetings, to support their research activities, to promote intersectional collaboration, to provide greater visibility to Sections activities, to institutionalize their journals, to involve them in tasks wherever their expertise would be essential, and to evaluate their work.
Major initiatives in those directions were taken by the WPA Executive Committee as a whole and/or by the Secretary for Sections such as:
- to create a form “Join the Sections”, now always available at the WPA website to be completed by every member of the Association wishing to join a specific WPA Section;
- to allow electronic voting process besides during a specific meeting in the WCPs and to adopt a rule limiting anyone to stay as Section Chair for more than six years and as Section Officer for more than nine years;
- to promote and support intersectional collaboration particularly on research activities and in scientific meetings presentations;
- to promote a Sections Forum during WCPs and WPA International Congresses as well as to schedule Sections business meeting during WCPs;
- to create a specific area of communication at the WPA website as well as in the WPA News and E-Bulletin, and in World Psychiatry;
- to stimulate Sections publications and institutionalize their own journals or journals to which they have a close and official link;
- to involve specific Sections in producing statements and educational programs, participating in the elaboration of guidances, and in the revision of ICD-10 and production of ICD-11 specific chapters;
- to conduct two reinstatement of Sections processes (in 2007 and in 2010) in order to evaluate the work done by them in previous trienniums.
At the end of my period as WPA Secretary for Sections, I hope to have contributed to the work of our Sections and of the WPA as a whole. It was a period of hard work and great learning for me, and I thank you all for your support and collaboration.
I am looking forward to be involved in other activities of our Association and collaborate with their leaders and membership.
Prof. Miguel R. Jorge, M.D., Ph.D.
WPA Secretary for Sections 2005-2011