Saturday, November 16, 2013

Forensic Psychiatrist Honored for Years of Service at AMA

Howard Zonana, M.D. (center), was honored at a reception last night at the AMA's Interim Meeting in Washington, D.C. Zonana is retiring as medical director of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL) and will no longer be serving on the Section Council on Psychiatry. Pictured with Zonana in the front row (from left) are Carolyn Robinowitz, M.D., chair of the section council; Robert Phillips, M.D., Ph.D., AAPL's delegate; and Jacquelyn Coleman, executive director of AAPL; in the back row are Barry Wall, M.D., AAPL's alternate delegate; and Ryan Hall, M.D., and Jennifer Piel, M.D., AAPL's young physician delegates.

Zonana, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University and clinical professor (adjunct) of law at Yale Law School, has helped bring the expertise of AAPL to issues of psychiatry and the law addressed by the AMA. He also has been a passionate voice for the rights of people with mental illness. At the 2007 AMA Annual Meeting, the House of Delegates approved a resolution brought by the Section Council on Psychiatry that reaffirmed the organization's prohibition on physician involvement in the execution of defendants convicted of capital offenses. At that meeting, Zonana also spoke on behalf of a resolution calling for a national moratorium on executions generally. "The politics of the death penalty has shifted dramatically in favor of death," he said at the meeting. "Legislators have consistently strengthened the number of crimes [punishable by death] and cut back the funding for defense of capital defendants. This has resulted in a process whereby you get death not for having committed the worst crime, but for having been assigned the worst lawyer."

Zonana has also been a prominent speaker at APA meetings, talking about psychiatry, ethics, and the law. For more information, see the Psychiatric News articles and

 (Image: Mark Moran)