I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their help and support in my election to the post of President-elect of the World Psychiatric Association. I am grateful to Professor Herrman for her contribution to the WPA over the years and for a clean election. I recognise that many members of the WPA were active participants in the canvassing, voting and smooth running of the voting process. I would like to add my appreciation and thanks for that. I would also like to pay tribute to Professor Mario Maj for his tremendous contribution and to Professor Pedro Ruiz for his vision; I am looking forward to working with him and with the members of the Executive Committee and the Board.
I would like to renew my commitment to my work plan, which includes patient and family/carer empowerment, professionalism, ethical and transparent practice, quality improvement and service development, policy development and training and education. As a cultural psychiatrist I am aware of the relative strengths across cultures and health care systems and I will ensure that organisations and individuals feel that the WPA is THEIR organisation, providing added value to their national organisations. I will be approaching various organisations again to determine how we can work together. My working and leadership style is collaborative and builds on consensus, and I will ensure that this large family of psychiatrists pulls together. With my roots in India and working environment in the UK I promise to bring the best of both worlds closer together.
There is no doubt that the work ahead will be tough but I am looking forward challenges and to working with colleagues to deliver what is best for our patients and for their carers no matter where they live. We need to have services of which we are proud and that meet the needs of our patients and that they will be willing to use. To my mind psychiatry is the best medical speciality: it deals with most the complex and intellectually demanding patients but the results can be truly gratifying. I want to convey this message to medical students around the globe in order to improve recruitment and retention, and any help that you are able to provide will be most welcome. This involves ensuring that the curricula for psychiatry at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels are updated regularly and that we build on our professionalism. Quality improvement within the level of resources available will be a key theme of my work plan. This is where we can support each other and go forward building on our respective strengths. I have been passionate about training and education over most of my career and I plan to develop training hubs around the globe which will provide resources of information and learning. In addition, research into aetiology and service provision will be a key feature of my work plan. I aim to create a repository and a library of policy documents in various languages. I will contact all organisations to gather that information so that we have a central resource for such materials that is easy to share and that we can encourage each other to adapt models of good clinical practice.
Once again, I am grateful to you for giving me this opportunity and I promise to do my best.
Professor of Mental Health & Cultural Diversity
Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London