Thomas G. Schulze, James B. Potash, Vishwajit L. Nimgaonkar
Since the establishment of a new leadership at the WPA-congress in Buenos Aires in 2011, the Section has been very active in promoting its primary goal: spreading knowledge about genetic research into psychiatric disorders around the globe. Over the last 4 years, the Section has been present at WPA in the following cities: Buenos Aires (2011), Athens (2012 & 2014), Bucharest (2013 & 2015), Yerevan (2013), and Madrid (2014). As regards upcoming WPA meetings, we will participate at the meetings in Taipeh (2015), Manila (2016), Colombo (2016), and Istanbul (2016). At these meeting, our Section has organized and been part of symposia or plenary lectures. In addition to these traditional formats and with the help of the WPA, namely Dr. Afzal Javed, the WPA Chair for Sections, we have explored novel educational formats, moving away from purely data driven and offering sort of “Genetics 101” workshops allowing ample time for Q & A instead. At the Yerevan meeting, we were able to hold such session for the first time within the framework of an intersectional educational activity. We would like to extend our special thanks to Armen Soghoyan, WPA Chair of Finances and then congress chair of the Yerevan meeting, for giving us a slot to “beta test” our idea. This idea has taken on and has so far been put into practice at many recent WPA meetings. Thanks to Constantin Soldatos and Eliot Sorel for giving us multi-hour slots at the meetings in Athens and Bucharest, respectively! The unique set-up of various sections presenting in a “101 style” has drawn an increasing number of attendees who actively engaged in lively discussions with the presenters. At the intersectional educational session in Bucharest last June, we had a record attendance of well over 50 participants, the majority of them being future leaders in the field: medical students and residents. The Section on Genetics in Psychiatry is happy to be part of this novel framework and is looking forward to making it a staple of future WPA meetings. Thanks again to Dr. Javed for facilitating this educational event!
Section members have recently been actively promoting the mission of the Section and the WPA as a whole via similar educational events in India, Egypt, and China. Workshops to be held in Peru and Sudan in 2016 are currently in planning. We would like to highlight a special half-day workshop that was held at the Department of Psychiatry at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, on March 25th: At the kind invitation of Dr. Soraya Seedat, Chair of the Department, Dr. Vishwajit Nimgaonkar (Pittsburg, PA, USA; Section Co-Chair) and Dr. Thomas G. Schulze (Munich, Germany; Section Chair) gave a workshop covering all aspects of psychiatric genetics: formal genetic studies, statistical approaches, molecular methodology, phenotyping, biobanking, as well as ethical, legal, and societal issues. The course was well received by the attendees, hailing from various backgrounds (residents in psychiatry, molecular geneticists, neurobiologists). Instructors and audience enjoyed a great deal of Q&A and challenging debates, leaving no thorny issue untouched…
Finally, the Section is announcing an intersectional meeting on “Psychiatric epidemiology meets genetics: the public health consequences”, jointly organized with the Section on Epidemiology and Public Health, and taking place in Munich, Germany, from March 29th through April 1st, 2016. For more information, please go to www.wpaepi2016.org. We are looking forward to welcoming you to Munich!
Cape Town, March 2015
Bucharest, June 2015