Last updated December 2010.

by David Herzog, M.D.

Life Member LogoThree years ago, then AACAP President Bob Hendren had the vision to create a Development Committee and asked me to be the first chair and requested that John Schowalter, Alice Mao, Chris Kratochvil, Bennett Leventhal, and Larry Greenhill join me. The first question for the group was: what were we raising money for? We created our priorities - advocacy (including access to care), increasing our workforce, growing research, and enhancing consumer and professional education. We organized a sophisticated application process for evaluating proposals for funding from the Campaign for America's Kids (CFAK). We also developed new fundraising strategies.

Perry Bach, Ginger Anthony, John Schowalter and I grew passionate about building a community of our Life Members. Life Members are the foundation of the Academy. Over the years, they have taught and mentored a large number of today's members and the entire current Academy leadership. Yet many Life Members do not feel the connection to the Academy they did, or wish they would. I sensed what is possible in the Life Members community when I joined them for dinner at the last three Annual Meetings. Their warmth, humor and intellectual firepower are extraordinary.

Thus, you might ask, why is the Life Member Committee a sub-committee of the Development Committee? Does it create the reaction that Life Members are valued only for the money that they can contribute? The Development Committee is committed to helping the Life Members feel connected to one another and to the Academy. The Life Member Committee is attached to a wonderful Development Staff: Heidi Fordi, Hanna Smith, and Melinda Lim, who are well aware that making the community of Life Members stronger makes AACAP stronger. Ever dedicated and beloved as the Life Member Committee Leader, John Schowalter and his teammates Jack McDermott, Jackie Etemad, Lois Flaherty, and Ginger Anthony, have beaten the path and made great strides in understanding what the Life Members want, how they can best communicate with each other, and what kinds of activities they would like to be doing with and for the Academy.

We could not be more grateful for the fundraising efforts of the Life Members Committee. In their first year, their generosity awarded travel grants to the most recent Academy Annual Meeting to Drs. Dawn Brown and Chia Granda, who were thrilled to receive their awards and join in on the Life Members programs. In thanking the AACAP for her grant, Dr. Brown wrote "This award has become a defining moment that will help to shape my career as a psychiatrist." Both award recipients have expressed their desire to maintain their connection to the Life Members.

When we created the Life Member Committee, I never thought that our Life Members would be so positive, active, and generous, and I wholeheartedly agree with our emphasis on offering young people a helping hand as they enter our profession.