UH Med Now
University of Hawaiʻi medical professor elected President of American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry; Will host 2018 annual meeting here in Honolulu
Pictured: Dr. Iqbal Ahmed, President of the AAGP.
By Tina Shelton, JABSOM Communications Director
AAGP national president Dr. Iqbal “Ike” Ahmed, a longtime Hawai’i psychiatrist and a University of Hawaiʻi faculty member, worked with the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, Hawaiʻi Convention Center and the Hilton to bring the 2018 annual meeting to Honolulu. The gathering is expected to bring about 1,000 geriatric mental health professionals, and their families, to Oʻahu, with an estimated $3.3 million impact on the local economy, according to the Hawaiʻi Convention Center.
Promoting care for elderly, increasingly from minority backgrounds
Dr. Ahmed, a past recipient of the AAGP national “Diversity Award” has been at the forefront of treating the mental health needs of elderly minorities. He is a faculty psychiatrist at the Tripler Army Medical Center and a Clinical Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Hawai’i John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), as well as a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Uniformed Services of Health Sciences (USUHS).
Ahmed, recognized for diversity, notes that over 25% of U.S. psychiatrists are immigrants
In addition to promoting an appreciation for the cultural and ethnic diversity of patients in the U.S., Dr. Ahmed from his own experience as an international medical graduate (IMG) appreciates some of the challenges faced by other IMGs. International medical graduates are primarily ethnic minorities who come from a number of developing countries for further medical training and to work as physicians in the U.S. They make up more than 25% of the U.S. psychiatrist workforce. More than half of all trainees and practitioners in geriatric psychiatry in the U.S. are ethnic minorities, including minority IMGs. Proposed restrictions on U.S. immigration have caused organizations including the American Association of Academic Medical Colleges (AAMC) to express deep concern that these restrictions will disrupt education and research and have a damaging long-term impact on patients and health care.
“International medical graduates work longer hours, work more frequently in the public sector, and treat a higher proportion of patients with psychotic disorders,” said Dr. Ahmed. He said those MDs also receive a higher percentage of their income from Medicaid and Medicare than U.S.-trained medical graduates, and they are under-represented in academia and in medical organizations.
“We need to be able to respect our differences, be thoughtful of our biases and prejudices, be able to listen to each other, and keep in mind our organizational culture so that we make our diversity our strength. Our diversity is our strength. My hope is that by being mindful of our diversity amongst us and our patients we can provide better care,” Dr. Ahmed told the AAGP members.
About the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry