History, Mission and Facts

The Association of Women Psychiatrists (AWP) was founded in 1983 by Alexandra ("Allie") Symonds along with a small group of other dynamic women psychiatrists. At that time there was not an independent organization for women psychiatrists. AWP was designed to meet the following identified needs for women psychiatrists: 1) national and international mentoring and professional development opportunities; 2) the recognition of women psychiatrists at every level of professional training; 3) promotion of leadership opportunities for women psychiatrists; and 4) to address important health needs for women patients. Twenty five years later AWP remains a vibrant and active organization of more than 2500 members. Its membership is comprised of women psychiatrists at every professional level (residents, early-, mid- and senior- career psychiatrists) from across the United States and abroad.

This website is designed to help you learn more about our organization as well as access the archives of our newsletter entitled, News for Women in Psychiatry (NWP). You can also access a downloadable PDF version of our updated brochure and membership application. One major goal of our website is to enhance communication among members and non-members alike. Moreover, we hope to that it will foster connection among our membership and help others become aware of our organization and its goals.

Our Mission

To mobilize women psychiatrists to work together for quality mental health care of all persons, particularly women. AWP promotes inclusive leadership, professional development, and networking among women psychiatrists. AWP advocates for women psychiatrists and patients alike, through supporting mental health: research, education, and clinical care, informed by gender.

Our aims are to:

  • form a national and international network of women psychiatrists
  • improve communication and support for women psychiatrists
  • promote women psychiatrists into leadership positions
  • collect and disseminate information on women's mental health issues
  • support research in women's mental health
  • support education and mentoring of women psychiatrists
  • advocate for just legislation for women
  • encourage women psychiatrists to participate in American Psychiatric Association and influence the policies and procedures of APA to meet the needs of women

Our Accomplishments include:

  • Endowing the only lectureship named after a woman psychiatrist and honoring women in psychiatry-the Alexandra Symonds Award Lecture
  • Endowing the first fellowships honoring outstanding women psychiatry residents: The AWP Wyeth-Ayerst Fellowship
  • Honoring outstanding women medical students for leadership through: The Dickstein Award
  • Facilitating the development of the APA office of Women's Issues and Career Development
  • Supporting the tracking of women psychiatrists in leadership positions in APA, in NIMH funding, in Academic Departments, and in practicing clinical psychiatry
  • Liaisoning or cosponsoring educational activities with APA Committee on Women, APA Council of National Affairs, The Society for Women's Health Research, American Medical Women's Association AMA, US Psychiatric Congress, the American Psychological Association, American Academy of Psychoanalysis.
  • Providing networking opportunities for women psychiatrists at our annual meeting (held at the APA Annual Meeting in May).

Our Membership Benefits include:

  • Subscription to our quarterly newsletter
  • Membership directory, an important referral resource
  • Invitation to our annual reception
  • Continuing Education on Women's health and mental health through our book reviews and information articles in our newsletter as well as symposium and workshops at the APA annual meeting
  • Supporting the advancement of Women in Psychiatry
  • Opportunities to network with colleagues electronically via our annual meeting, newsletter, email, web page and developing list serve.
  • Opportunity for voting on officers and shaping AWP policy through participation in our annual meeting, held annually during the APA Annual Meeting.

Organizations/Structures Focused on the Concerns of Women as Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Patients

APA Caucus of Women Psychiatrists

  • established to address under-representation of women in APA district branches
  • membership - APA women members who enroll in caucus
  • APA women members in good standing can register for the caucus by completing form available from the Office of Minority/National Affairs (OMNA) or at OMNA booth in the APA Resource Center at annual meetings
  • elects representative and deputy representative to APA assembly
  • both representatives are members of Assembly Committee of Minority and Underrepresented Groups (M/UR)
  • can propose APA activities and positions through M/UR

Association of Women Psychiatrists

  • independent membership organization
  • members elect officers
  • membership - complete application form and pay dues (exhibit booth at APA annual meetings or call AWP president)
  • newsletter
  • adopts positions and activities through own structure