Last updated December 2013.

Life Member LogoAt our 2012 Life Members Annual Meeting, we ran out of time – just when a great question was posed by the audience: "What changes in child and adolescent psychiatry have surprised you the most over the last (+/-) 50 years?"

Think about it. Would Rip Van Winkle be surprised waking up today after a decades long sleep? Maybe he'd be puzzled by the change in our field from theory-based to evidence-based. You might explain that that was simply an evolution, not a dramatic shift. Maybe it just became apparent when we stopped confusing theory with evidence.

In any event, your Life Member planning committee thought that the question “What has surprised you the most?' was just too good to pass up without giving the wider audience of owls a chance at it. So the Academy has established a Google discussion board for our owl musings. It's our own venture into social media, called The Parliament of Owls. Think of it as your own Facebook, or like one of the sites our kids' and grandkids use to communicate with their contemporaries. It is called POO for short, with several dozen members so far---and growing. You can join too, and be part of the discussion. It’s easy.

All you have to do to is to click on the following link and apply: https://groups.google.com/forum/m/#!forum/parliamentofowls

It will take you to our Parliament of Owls website where you can register with your own user name and password. To learn about registering your non-Google email account with Google, just click here. Then just 'bookmark' the URL (web page address) so you can go to it whenever you feel like.

Once you “Request To Join,” give it until the next business day when our AACAP Development Coordinator, Stephen Major, will accept your application and grant you full access. Alternatively you could email Stephen directly at smajor@aacap.org and he will sign you up and help you get started. Feel free to email him with any questions you may have along the way and he will be delighted to assist you; we’re very glad to have him as our point person for all our technical questions and troubleshooting as we launch this new endeavor.

What are the discussions by our POOs so far? Well, one was whether Rip Van Winkle would wake up surprised by the change in the nature of therapy itself. Explaining to him how it went from long term to short term was hard enough. But how on earth did it shift from the 50 minute hour to the 15 minute med check? What happened to cause that?

Join in on the conversation stream on POO. Just register and read the threads your fellow POOs have created. Then look at the questions and replies so far. For example: “Do we need a new model for CAP to meet the demands of the changing health care system?

And, by the way, this 'chat room' type of discussion isn't restricted to “What surprised you the most?' It can range across the long view of our own professional careers. Think back. What did you learn from your first patient? Did you have a mentor in training and just how did that help shape your professional development? Do you recall your first AACAP annual meeting? What stood out?

Of course you can suggest new issues yourself, join in on the ongoing discussion, or just audit quietly. No obligation.

Hoot, hoot, my fellow owls!

Jack McDermott, M.D.