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Greetings from the New WPA President, Mario Maj

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy to inform you that the WPA has started the implementation of its Action Plan 2008-2011, approved by the General Assembly in Prague.

Mario Maj, WPA PresidentWe appointed the five centers of excellence with which we will collaborate in the programme of fellowships for young psychiatrists from low- and middle-income countries. They are the Institute of Psychiatry, London; the Western Psychiatric Institute, University of Pittsburgh, USA; the University of Melbourne, Australia; the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA; and the Mood Disorders Program, University of Cleveland, USA.

We started the production of four sets of guidelines, to be translated into several languages and posted on the WPA website. They will deal with: protection and promotion of mental health in children of persons with severe mental disorders (Coordinator: I. Brockington); steps, obstacles and mistakes to avoid in the implementation of community mental health care (Coordinator: G. Thornicroft); mental health and mental health care in migrants (Coordinator: D. Bhugra); and how to combat stigmatization of psychiatry and psychiatrists (Coordinator: N. Sartorius).

We will launch next January our “training the trainers” programme targeting nurses and clinical officers working in the community in low-income countries. The programme will start in Nigeria, under the leadership of O. Gureje and R. Jenkins.

We received from many Member Societies their feedback concerning the priority they have identified for collaboration with the WPA during the next triennium. Those Member Societies who have not responded yet are cordially welcome to do so, looking at Goal 2 of the Action Plan.

We are actively working at the organization of the WPA International Congress which will take place in Florence, Italy, from 1 to 4 April 2009. We have an outstanding scientific programme and expect more than 8,000 participants. Special arrangements can be made for groups of psychiatrists from individual countries or regions.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or the WPA Secretariat for your input concerning the points listed above and the whole Action Plan.

Mario Maj
President, World Psychiatric Association

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