Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., Elected APA President-Elect

Mon March 16, 2015

For Information Contact:
Glenn O'Neal, 703-907-8640
Erin Connors, 703-907-8562

ARLINGTON, Va. — The membership of the American Psychiatric Association has chosen Maria Oquendo, M.D., as its next president-elect. Oquendo is currently residency training director at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, where she started as a community psychiatrist. She is professor and vice chair for education at Columbia University, conducting research on treatment and neurobiology of mood disorders, suicide and global mental health.

Oquendo has held several leadership roles at APA. She is secretary of the Board of Trustees and chairs APA’s Conflict of Interest Committee. She formerly chaired APA’s SAMHSA Fellowship Selection Committee and served as associate editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Oquendo also serves as vice president of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is past president of the American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry, and serves on the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology’s Council and the National Institute of Mental Health’s National Advisory Mental Health Council.

“I am honored and grateful to have been elected to lead APA,” Oquendo said. “This is an exciting time to practice psychiatry. Our knowledge base has grown exponentially in the last decades, and we still have the privilege of forming close therapeutic alliances with our patients and their families, offering relief for suffering. Yet, APA has much work to do.”

Among Oquendo’s priorities as APA president, when she assumes that role in May 2016, are to:

  • Secure a key role for psychiatrists as health care reform is implemented while ensuring high quality care for all, particularly persons with the most severe mental illnesses
  • Pursue equitable reimbursement and true parity for psychiatric care
  • Secure robust federal funding for education and research, coordinating efforts with advocacy groups
  • Strengthen collaboration with psychiatric subspecialties and primary care, and
  • Pursue active communication with all members.

“Importantly, I believe APA can continue to strive for diversity at all levels of the organization, including representation from women, minority psychiatrists, international medical graduates, and LGBT members. I hope to harness my experience in teaching and mentoring to engage our trainee members and early career psychiatrists. They are our future,” noted Oquendo.

Her term as president-elect of the APA, confirmed by the APA Board of Trustees on Saturday, March14, will begin in May at the conclusion of the APA Annual Meeting, when president-elect Renée Binder, M.D., begins her one-year term as president.

Other successful APA leadership candidates who will take office after the annual meeting include:

Altha J. Stewart, M.D.

Early Career Psychiatrist Trustee-at-Large
Lama Bazzi, M.D.

Minority/Underrepresented Representative Trustee
Gail Erlick Robinson, M.D., D.Psych.

Area 1 Trustee
Jeffrey L. Geller, M.D., M.P.H.

Area 4 Trustee
Ronald M. Burd, M.D.

Area 7 Trustee
Jeffrey Akaka, M.D.

Resident-Fellow Member Trustee-Elect
Stella Cai, M.D.

The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose more than 36,000 physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at


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