Indo-American Psychiatric Association   
Annual Meeting & Banquet

31st IndoAmerican Psychiatric Association (IAPA) Scientific/Business Meeting  



Meeting Summary

The IndoAmerican Psychiatric Association (IAPA) held its annual scientific meeting at New Orleans on May 23rd 2010.

There were four excellent presentations which garnered interesting questions from the audience and lead to stimulating discussions.

The abstracts of the four presentations are described below:

The evening was colorful and entertaining. It started off with a cocktail hour followed by a presentation on the status of the organization by the President, Dr.Shiv Kumar Hatti and other IAPA office bearers. Achievement awards were presented to several IndoAmerican psychiatrists who have made significant contributions in the clinical and research area. The evening ended with a rich delicious Indian dinner followed by music and dancing.

ABSTRACTS of PRESENTATIONS: Dr. Nutan Atre Vaidya, MD, who received the 2010 IAPA outstanding academician award presented on the influence of stress and genes on brain and behavior. She reported that stress is neither simply a nervous system tension nor it is purely a psychological experience. Acute stress activates hypothalamic pituitary axis and releases cortisol and cytokines. Individuals vary in their responses to stress. Genetic variability, repeated environmental stressors, as well as early experiences set stress reactivity of the brain leading to inadequate or prolonged stress responses. Resilience is used to refer to the finding that some individuals have a relatively good psychological outcome despite suffering experiences that would be expected to bring about serious sequelae. Resilience occurs due to controlled exposure to stress than avoidance. Adequate sleep, physical activity, meditation, appropriate social interaction and balanced healthy diet may also serve as good stress busters.

Dr. Anand Kumar, MD, presented on ‘Late-life Depression: Clinical and Neurobiological Substrates’. The focus of his presentation was on the unique clinical features of MDD in the elderly and the neurobiological substrates that underlie this disorder.  Links between cognition (e.g. dementia, more specifically Alzheimer’s disease), medical co-morbidities (e.g. stroke, diabetes, cardiac disease), and anatomical/structural changes (e.g. smaller brain volumes in the prefrontal region, basal ganglia, and hippocampus and presence of white matter hyperintense lesions in the periventricular region, deep white matter and subcortical regions) were made in an attempt to clarify the underlying neuronal circuitry of depression in the elderly. Dr.Kumar concluded that the pathogenesis of late life depression is complex and includes a combination of vascular pathology, neurodegeneration and amyloidogenesis.

Razia Kosi, LCSW-C discussed ‘Collaborations with the Community- Demystifying Mental Health’. She spoke about her experiences as the founder and director of a non-profit organization based in Columbia, MD, called, Counselors Helping (South) Asians, Inc. (CHAI). Over the last several years CHAI’s mission, has evolved to address the mental health needs of the South Asian community in the Maryland area. To accomplish this goal, CHAI collaborates with other agencies such as South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a civil rights advocacy group, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), the Muslim Community Center Medical Center and the Maryland chapter of the Indo-American Psychiatric Association. The journey has been fruitful thus far and CHAI hopes to continue forging ties with other mental health organizations in order to capitalize on best practices in community collaborations from multiple perspectives.

Dr.Neha Navsaria, PhD, reported on ‘Culture and Resiliency: A Study of Young Adults in the South Asian Diaspora’. Existing research on the acculturative processes of Asian Indians often carry assumptions that acculturation is one-dimensional, linear and associated with a number of risk factors.  Problems that surface from these assumptions relate to 1) the failure to capture the multidimensional nature of acculturation, 2) the lack of understanding of the diasporic contexts and multiple migratory pathways for Asian Indians and 3) limited knowledge on how acculturation can promote positive functioning. Preliminary findings from Dr.Navsaria’s research reveals that acculturation levels are impacted by country of residence, but not parental country of origin and resiliency is universal for Asian Indians and is not impacted by country of residence or parental country of origin Total resiliency was significantly associated with preparation and consumption of food, interracial attitudes/cultural mistrust (negative relationship) and religious beliefs. Higher level of resiliency was associated with higher levels of adherence to traditional religious beliefs & preparation and consumption of food and lower levels of traditional interracial attitudes/decreased cultural mistrust.

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