Campaign Statement - Full

Cheryl D. Wills, MD, DFAPA

Candidate for Area 4 Representative to the APA Board of Trustees

November 19, 2017.


I am campaigning to represent the Midwest region, APA Area 4, on the APA Board of Trustees and would appreciate your support. I completed my training 20 years ago and am board certified in General, Child and Adolescent, and Forensic Psychiatry. I currently practice general and child psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland. My patients are among those who desperately need increasingly hard to obtain combinations of mental health, forensic, and advocacy interventions. In addition to my clinical practice, I am on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University, where I serve as Director of Child and Adolescent Forensic Psychiatry at University Hospitals. I provide a seminar series on child psychiatry and the law during which I strive to reduce the anxiety that child psychiatry fellows often experience when working with challenging patients. My peers have voted me one of the best psychiatrists in Cleveland, OH, for the past three years.


My training and qualifications in forensic psychiatry have provided a unique perspective that allows me to consider complex clinical and legal issues when addressing Board matters that involve safe and competent psychiatric practice. For example, clinical issues with forensic implications include mental health care, medical licensure, reducing risk of litigation and reducing risk of burnout of healthcare professionals. I routinely use these skills when discussing relevant matters in the APA Assembly in a manner that is conducive to the practice of clinical, academic and administrative psychiatry. 


One particularly controversial issue and a leading reason for former members leaving the APA is maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements. Strategic approaches to managing the problems created by MOC requirements, such as whether they should be allowed to affect physician practice, should be a top priority. For example, this past year, at least ten states have crafted bills to prevent physicians who do not participate in MOC from being denied privileges by insurance companies and hospitals. Four of these bills have become law. The APA, by way of the District Branches, has had a central role in supporting such legislation, and I will continue to make sure that the APA continues to do so.


My background in child psychiatry is also an advantage in serving on the APA Board of Trustees. The complexity of psychiatric practice leaves little time to consider the salience of child development in organized psychiatry. We often forget that our patients are or were once children. Developmental phenomena should be a crucial consideration when formulating policy and practice protocols. I have served on the APA Guideline Writing Committee for several years and have been privileged to use my experience in forensic, child, community, academic, correctional and general psychiatry to make contributions and to influence how psychiatrists practice, particularly in communities where the need for such resources is dire.


I have been actively involved for eight years in the APA Assembly’s Committee of Representatives of Subspecialties and Sections, ACROSS. The Committee, which is comprised of 17 professional groups and organizations, represents subspecialty and regional practice interests of more than 14,000 APA members. ACROSS strives to identify common threads among subspecialty and regional psychiatric practice and to ensure that these groups have a platform and a voice in the APA Assembly. My membership on this committee allows me to be familiar with a wide variety of perspectives on important issues that arise in everyday practice and the APA.


In addition, I have been fortunate to have practiced child and adult general and forensic psychiatry in several states. As a result, I am sensitive to, and appreciative of, regional nuances that can affect the delivery of cost effective, quality psychiatric services in a variety of treatment settings. I would be honored to have the opportunity to hear your concerns and to present the perspectives of general and subspecialty psychiatrists in the Midwest. I will ensure that our needs, objectives and concerns, even if unique to Area 4, will not be overlooked when the APA Board of Trustees renders decisions that will affect our practices, our patients, and local and national policy. 


I have been an active member of the APA since 1993, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law since 1995 and Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry since 1993. I have had the privilege to serve in multiple ways in important professional groups. I am serving a second term on the Council on Psychiatry and the Law. I served as a forensic advisor to DSM-5 and on the Manfred S. Guttmacher Award Committee. In the APA Assembly, I have been involved in ACROSS, the Maintenance of Certification Committee, the Community Psychiatry Committee, the Women in Psychiatry group, and the Rules Committee. I have served the APA in District Branch Committees in several states, including the Forensics Committee and the Public Mental Health Committee of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association. I participate in, served on the Executive Council of and chaired committees related to my professional interests in the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. Additionally, I recently completed a decade of service as Book Review Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.


I welcome the opportunity to bring the breadth of my professional experience and perspectives and your goals, feedback and concerns to the APA Board of Trustees. As your representative, I will always be available to listen and speak with Area 4 members about your concerns and make sure the interests of our district will be vigorously represented on the APA Board.


Respectfully submitted,


Cheryl D. Wills, M.D.