Newletter Masthead
April 2000· Vol. 25, No. 2, p. 12

A brief history of the Tri-State Chapter of AAPL

as recollected by Richard Rosner, MD

The Tri-State Chapter was conceived at the 1975 Boston, Massachusetts meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. There was initial skepticism among senior practitioners about the prospects for a local chapter of AAPL because a prior New York forensic psychiatry educational group, The Isaac Ray Society, had failed to thrive.

There was initial opposition from national AAPL because of concern that local chapters might become competitors for members and dues. It was decided to poll by mail all of the AAPL members in New York State to determine if there was interest in the formation of a local forensic society; the results of the poll indicated strong support. An organizational meeting was held, to which all New York State members of AAPL were invited to attend. At that meeting, it was determined to call the society the New York State Membership Group of AAPL, because national AAPL had indicated that the AAPL Bylaws did not permit the creation of official chapters. The meeting also generated a slate of candidates for elective office for the society, and a mail ballot was sent to a New York State AAPL members; the election yielded the first officers of the society. It was decided that there would be no membership dues, that a AAPL members residing or working in New York State would automatically be members of the New York State Membership Group.

The interest of AAPL members in New Jersey and Connecticut in participating in the educational programs of the New York State Membership Group led to a motion to expand the society. A mail ballot was sent to all AAPL members in New Jersey and Connecticut, inquiring if they wished to join a Tri-State Membership Group of AAPL; the results of the poll indicated strong support for an expanded society. In subsequent elections, care was taken to insure that at least one representative from New Jersey and one representative from Connecticut were officers of the society.

The success of the New York State and subsequent Tri-State Membership Group led to a request that national AAPL explore the creation of local chapters. A Task Force was appointed and recommended that an appropriate Bylaws modification be developed and submitted for ratification to the AAPL membership. On May 4, 1980, following approval of the new Bylaw authorizing local chapters, AAPL authorized our Membership Group to be re-named a Chapter of AAPL.

The educational core of Tri-State AAPL has been its annual one-day educational program in January and its annual two-semester course on forensic psychiatry. As an outgrowth of those training programs, Tri-State published its first book: Critical Issues in American Psychiatry and the Law (1982). There followed: Critical Issues in American Psychiatry and the Law, Volume Two (1985), Geriatric Psychiatry and the Law (1987), Juvenile Psychiatry and the Law (1989), Criminal Court Consultation (1989), Correctional Psychiatry (1989), Ethical Practice in Psychiatry and the Law (I 990), and Principles and Practice of Forensic Psychiatry (1994, republished 1998, presently being revised for a second edition).

In December 1999, the celebration of its 25th anniversary, Tri-State sponsored its first meeting outside of the New York metropolitan area, a three- day conference on Clinical Forensic Psychiatry, Civil and Criminal Cases, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.