"...Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
November 2012
Victoria I. Pham, D.O.

Life Member LogoIn many ways, Ralph Waldo Emerson nicely captures one of the goals of the Life Members Subcommittee, "...go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Life Members are pioneers and distinguished leaders. Many of them, through research and leadership endeavors, push through boundaries to further the knowledge of child psychiatry. The trails they leave behind are the knowledge that we learn in text books, and the ways in which we caringly help our patients today.

I am honored and humbled to be one of the recipients of the AACAP Educational Outreach Program for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residents, which was co-sponsored by the Life Members Subcommittee. It is the travel grant that provides trainees with educational opportunities and financial support to come to the Annual Meeting each year. My travel to the 59th Annual AACAP Meeting in San Francisco would not be possible without this grant.

I came to the Annual AACAP Meeting early in order to participate in the Assembly meeting as a Member-In-Training delegate from the New York Council on Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. The Assembly was lively, and I learned a lot. I also went to other sessions, and found the Mentorship Program, the Members Wisdom Clinical Perspectives: Early Contributions to Scientific Evolution in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Life Members Reception & Dinner to be most informative and fun.

The AACAP Mentorship Program allows me to seek guidance from leaders in our field, such as Drs. Dorothy Stubbe, Andres Martin, Harsh Trivedi, Timothy Wilens, Schuyler Henderson, David Rubin and Alex Kolevzon. Among many things, we discussed contract negotiation, job search, balancing family and career, and the future of health care. The combination of good snacks, great mentors and lively colleagues, all contributed to make excellent discussions.

Despite having heard about Dr. James Anthony, I had the opportunity to see him for the first time at the Life Members Wisdom Clinical Perspectives session. He is one of the giants in our field. One of his mentees, Dr. Stacy Drury, brilliantly spoke about the biological and scientific aspects of Vulnerability and Resilience. Similarly, Dr. Peter Tanguay and his mentee, Dr. Bryan King, outstandingly presented the transformation of Social Communication Deficits in Autism (ASD). As Drs. Anthony and Tanguay are pioneers in our field, their mentees will follow their trails to be innovators themselves.

During the Life Members Reception & Dinner at the City Club restaurant, I had the pleasure of meeting with many "owls," including Drs. Wender, Schowalter, Bach, etc. On the bus, Dr. John Sikorski taught me many wonderful lessons, including: be prepared to take opportunity as it comes, get to know the key players, etc. As I said good bye to Dr. Donald Gair and his wife that evening, he gave me a flower & a peck on my cheek. In addition, I was glad to see many of my mentors, such as Drs. Larry Greenhill, Clarice Kestenbaum, Jerome Liebowitz, and Ted Shapiro at Life Members' events.

As I learned about the requirements to be a Life Member, I may qualify to be a Lifer when I turned 63. With this trajectory, I will have the next 30+ years to make something of myself in order to achieve this goal. And as Dr. Seuss would say, "Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way."

Dr. Victoria Pham is a second year Child & Adolescent fellow at New York Presbyterian, University Hospital of Columbia & Cornell. She may be reached at vip9034@nyp.org.

Hanging out with my Life Member mentors, Drs. Kestenbaum and Greenhill, after our weekly supervisions.