Proposed PsychSIGN Constitution

Constitution of the Psychiatry Student Interest Group Network (PsychSIGN)

To be ratified at the PsychSIGN Annual Meeting by General Membership Vote on May 5th, 2018

Article I: Name of Organization

The name of this organization will be the Psychiatry Student Interest Group Network (“PsychSIGN”). This is a special interest group for medical students within in the American Psychiatric Association (“APA”).

Article II: Sponsorship and Affiliation

PsychSIGN will be sponsored by and affiliated with the American Psychiatric Association, operating with an annually ratified Memorandum of Understanding (Appendix A) between the President and President-elect and APA staff.

Article III: Purpose and Principles

PsychSIGN is a network of psychiatry interest groups at medical schools throughout North America that seeks to:

  1. promote medical student interest in psychiatry;
  2. further the creation and growth of psychiatry interest groups at medical schools internationally;
  3. foster connections between students with interest in psychiatry at medical schools internationally, as well as connections between psychiatry interest groups at medical schools internationally;
  4. serve as a central hub for information regarding organizing psychiatry interest groups, planning careers in psychiatry, and other topics relevant to medical students interested in psychiatry;
  5. create connections between medical students interested in psychiatry and psychiatry faculty members;
  6. serve as an intermediary between the APA and medical student leaders of psychiatry interest groups;
  7. provide a professional, respectful, and intellectually stimulating virtual and physical environment which recognizes the benefits of diversity throughout populations of patients, trainees, and professionals; and
  8. eliminate the negative stigma associated with mental illness and promote mental health as an integral part of overall health amongst medical trainees.

Article IV: Membership

  • Membership is open to any medical student enrolled in any medical school internationally with an interest in the field and subject matter of psychiatry.
  • Psychiatry Student Interest Group (PsychSIG) membership in the Psychiatry Interest Group Network is open to any psychiatry related interest group pre-approved by their corresponding medical school with a ratified constitution within the past 3 years. Group title of “Psychiatry Student Interest Group” is not a requirement for PsychSIGN affiliation.   

Article V: Officers

Designations

  • Local Officers
    1. PsychSIGN Affiliated Psychiatry Student Interest Group Leaders
  • National Officers
    1. PsychSIGN National Officers will consist of a President, President-elect, Regional Chairs and Special Interest Chairs. These officers will comprise voting members of the National Board (“the Board”).
    2. A PsychSIGN Facilitator, AMA MSS Delegate, and Resident Alumnus Liaison will serve as the non-voting members of the National Leadership.
    1. Regional Chairs will be selected for each of the eight geographic regions defined by the APA as follows:
      1. Region 1: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Newfoundland
      2. Region 2: New York
      3. Region 3: District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
      4. Region 4: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
      5. Region 5: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, and Uniformed Services
      6. Region 6: California
      7. Region 7: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
      8. International: Covering international medical students outside of the US and Canada
    2. Special Interest Chairs will be appointed for each of the following areas:
      1. Social Media
      2. Forum Moderator
      3. Mentorship
      4. Wellness and Burnout Prevention
      5. Residency Application
    3. External Liaisons will be appointed for each of the following areas:
      1. AMA MSS Delegate
      2. Resident Alumnus Liaison
    4. Requests for new/alterations to regional co-chairs, new Special Interest Chairs, or Liaisons other than those listed above must be submitted to the President for approval of the Board. Upon approval, the president in turn submits the request for APA approval. Without APA approval, newly-requested positions may not be filled.   

Qualifications

  • Local Officers
    1. PsychSIGN affiliated Psychiatry Student Interest Group Leaders
      1. PsychSIG Leaders will be identified in accordance with the policies and procedures of the medical student affairs at their respective home medical institutions. PsychSIGN will have no influence over leadership positions at the local level.
  • National Officers
    1. All members of the National Leadership must be members of PsychSIGN and of the American Psychiatric Association. They must also be full time students at their respective institutions in the pursuit of a MD degree.
    2. Regional Chairs
      1. Any medical student member of PsychSIGN and the APA is eligible for election to a Regional Chair position in accordance with the region of their medical school institution.
    3. Special Interest Chairs
      1. Any medical student member of PsychSIGN and the APA is eligible for appointment to the position of a Special Interest Chair.
    4. President-elect, President
      1. Any PsychSIGN members who have served one term as a Regional or Special Interest Chair and are able to commit to a two-year term as a medical student are eligible for the sequential positions of President-elect and President. If no member PsychSIGN who has served one term as a Regional or Special Interest Chair can commit to a two-year term, then any members who has served one term as a Regional or Special Interest Chair will be eligible serve a one-year term for the President-elect or the President.
    5. Facilitator
      1. PsychSIGN members or alumni who have served a full term as president are eligible for the position of Facilitator.
    6. AMA MSS Delegate
      1. Any medical student member of PsychSIGN, the APA, and the AMA is eligible for the position of AMA MSS Delegate.
    7. Resident Alumnus Liaison
      1. Any PsychSIGN Alumnus who have served one term as a Regional or Special Interest Chair and are currently enrolled in a psychiatry residency program in the United States or Canada are eligible for the position of Resident Alumnus Liaison.

Duties of Officers

  • Local Officers
    1. PsychSIGN affiliated Psychiatry Student Interest Group Leaders shall:
      1. Share PsychSIGN events, news, and opportunities with PsychSIG members.
      2. Maintain a reciprocal relationship with the respective Regional chair including
        1. Submission the PsychSIG constitution as pre-approved by the respective medical school every three years.
        2. Submission of PsychSIG membership rosters including % membership in PsychSIGN and the APA twice yearly in October and April.
        3. Submission of new leadership contacts with the transition of academic years.
      3. Attempt participation in the corresponding regional events and conferences as permitted by time and resources.
  • National Officers
    1. The Regional Chairs (excluding the International Chair) shall:
      1. Be a voting member of the Board and participate in biannual Board meetings.
      2. Participate with monthly leadership meetings.
      3. Represent the members of their respective regions and provide support and guidance to regional members including:
        1. Maintain a reciprocal relationship with the respective PsychSIG leaders including sharing PsychSIGN events, news, and opportunities with PsychSIG leaders.
        2. Host one digital leadership meeting of regional PsychSIG leaders annually
        3. Maintain rosters of affiliated PsychSIG chapters, member lists, and % membership in PsychSIGN and the APA per region.
      4. Maintain a reciprocal relationship with the respective APA State Association Liaison including sharing PsychSIGN events, news, and opportunities with the State Liaison.
      5. Organize a PsychSIGN Regional Conference tailored to all members of their respective region, but open to all PsychSIGN members.
      6. Participate with other National Officers to organize the PsychSIGN National Conference each year.
    2. The International Chair shall:
      1. Be a voting member of the Board and participate in biannual Board meetings.
      2. Participate with monthly leadership meetings.
      3. Represent the members of their respective regions and provide support and guidance to regional members including:
        1. Maintain rosters of affiliated medical schools, membership lists, and % membership in PsychSIGN and the APA per region.
      4. Organize a virtual PsychSIGN Regional Conference tailored to all members of their respective region, but open to all PsychSIGN members.
      5. Participate with other National Officers to organize the PsychSIGN National Conference each year.
    3. Special Interest Chairs
      1. The Social Media Chair shall:
        1. Be a voting member of the Board and participate in biannual Board meetings.
        2. Participate with monthly leadership meetings.
        3. Be responsible for accurate, timely representation of PsychSIGN news, opportunities, and events on PsychSIGN’s active social media platforms
        4. Be responsible for the overall design of the PsychSIGN website and information repository along with accurate, timely representation of PsychSIGN news, opportunities, and events therein.
        5. Assist in the development of graphics, flyers, and templates to promote PsychSIGN news, opportunities, and events at the request of other members of the board.
      2. The Forum Moderator Chair shall:
        1. Be a voting member of the Board and participate in biannual Board meetings.
        2. Participate with monthly leadership meetings.
        3. Monitor forums according to the PsychSIGN Principles of Online Discussion (Appendix B) and have the authority to block, ban, and remove postings and users who break these principles.
        4. Develop new forum headings in accordance with the Board and Network suggestions.
      3. The Mentorship Chair shall:
        1. Be a voting member of the Board and participate in biannual Board meetings.
        2. Participate with monthly leadership meetings.
        3. Participate with the President on the development of mentoring opportunities for PsychSIGN members.
        4. Maintain a roster of psychiatrists, fellows, residents, and medical students interested in serving as Career or Peer Mentors.
        5. Develop PsychSIGN specific materials on methods of successful mentorship to be available to PsychSIGN general members.
      4. The Wellness and Burnout Prevention Chair shall:
        1. Be a voting member of the Board and participate in biannual Board meetings.
        2. Participate with monthly leadership meetings.
        3. Maintain and update the PsychSIGN Wellness Manual yearly.
        4. Work with other associations and trainees on the development for further initiatives, including an Institutional Wellness Manual.
        5. Develop PsychSIGN specific materials on methods of wellness and burnout prevention to be available to PsychSIGN general members.
      5. The Residency Application Chair shall:
        1. Be a voting member of the Board and participate in biannual Board meetings.
        2. Participate with monthly leadership meetings.
        3. Develop PsychSIGN specific materials on methods of career and application development to be available to PsychSIGN general members, such as but not limited to: personal statement, CV preparation, and interview preparation.
        4. Work with the Forum Moderator Chair to create and maintain forums on the pre-, intra-, and post-match process for PsychSIGN members.
        5. Develop a PsychSIGN repository for members interested in hosting interviewing applicants at their institution.
    4. The AMA MSS Delegate shall:
      1. Be a non-voting member of the National Leadership.
      2. Participate in biannual Board meetings as a non-voting member.
      3. Provide PsychSIGN representation to the AMA Medical Student Section as guided by the Board.
      4. Fulfill the duties as specified by the AMA Medical Student Section for MSS Assemby Members.
      5. Be responsible for reviewing AMA criteria for PsychSIGN representation, the application of PsychSIGN for representation, and recommending change such that PsychSIGN will continue to meet such criteria.
    5. The Resident Alumnus Liaison shall:
      1. Be a non-voting member of the National Leadership.
      2. Participate in biannual Board meetings as a non-voting member.
      3. Maintain a roster of PsychSIGN alumni and PsychSIGN leadership alumni.
      4. Organize at least one PsychSIGN alumni event per year, one of which must be in association with the PsychSIGN annual meeting.
      5. Encourage peer mentorship communication amongst PsychSIGN alumni at large and amongst PsychSIGN leadership alumni via the PsychSIGN forums.
    6. The President-elect shall:
      1. Be a voting member of the Board and participate in biannual Board meetings.
      2. Be responsible for membership as follows:
        1. Maintain master rosters of active members of PsychSIGN including % membership in PsychSIGN and the APA per region.
        2. Publish a monthly membership newsletter sharing news, opportunities, and programming with the general PsychSIGN membership.
        3. Sponsor initiatives to encourage individiual PsychSIGN and APA membership.
        4. Collaborate with the Resident Alumnus Liaison on maintaining master rosters of alumni and alumni social events.
      3. Be responsible for regional functioning as follows:
        1. Host a monthly leadership meeting for Regional Chairs.
        2. Maintain master rosters of past and present PsychSIG affiliates.
        3. Review PsychSIG applications for new PsychSIGN membership.
        4. Mentor Regional Chairs in the development of regional conferences.
        5. Identify APA State Association Liaisons and facilitate respective introductions to new Regional Chairs
      4. Share equal responsibility with the PsychSIGN President for PsychSIGN annual meeting planning and execution.
      5. Participate in quarterly PsychSIGN review meetings with the PsychSIGN President and Facilitator.
    7. The President shall:
      1. Be a voting member of the Board and participate in biannual Board meetings.
      2. Be responsible for forming and maintaining relationships between PsychSIGN and psychiatric subspecialty associations as follows:
        1. Maintain annual updated master rosters of association liaisons.
        2. Publish and distribute quarterly reports of PsychSIGN goals and achievements to association liaisons.
        3. Encourage submission of subspecialty news, opportunities, and events for inclusion in the monthly membership newsletter.
        4. Attend the APA’s Council on Medical Education and Lifelong Learning digital meetings and shall participate in initiatives and governance meetings as appropriate.
        5. Attend the Annual Meeting of ADMSEP (the Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry) and present to the ADMSEP leadership as invited. (In the event that the president cannot be in direct attendance, the president shall be responsible for co-authoring the presentation and shall designate a surrogate representative from the Board.)
        6. Attend monthly recruitment meetings with AADPRT (American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training) and shall participate in initiatives and meetings as appropriate.
        7. Collaborate with the AMA MSS Delegate to maintain PsychSIGN’s representation within the MSS Assembly.
      3. Be responsible for PsychSIGN’s adherence to PsychSIGN’s Constitution and principles as follows:
        1. Host a monthly leadership meeting for the Special Interest Chairs.
        2. Provide mentorship to Special Chairs to achieve progress along PsychSIGN’s special interests.
        3. Host biannual Board meetings to discuss changes and updates to PsychSIGN structure and programming.
        4. Initiate biennal review the PsychSIGN Constitution with the Board.
      4. Be responsible for forming and maintaining relationships between PsychSIGN and the APA as follows
        1. Initiate annual ratification of the PsychSIGN Memorandum of Understanding with the PsychSIGN present-elect and APA staff and mentors for the following term of service.
        2. Publish an annual summary report of PsychSIGN goals and achievements.
        3. Participate in quarterly PsychSIGN review meetings with APA staff and mentors.
        4. Attend APA governance meetings as invited by the APA and shall advocate for placement as a non-voting member on the APA assembly.
      5. Provide ongoing mentorship to the PsychSIGN President-elect.
      6. Participate in quarterly PsychSIGN review meetings with the PsychSIGN President-elect and Facilitator.
      7. Share equal responsibility with the PsychSIGN President-elect for PsychSIGN annual meeting planning and execution.
    8. The Facilitator shall:
      1. Be a non-voting member of the National Leadership.
      2. Assist in transition of duty and PsychSIGN contacts to the subsequent President and President-elect.
      3. Provide mentorship and feedback to the Board regarding its operation and functioning.
      4. Participate in quarterly PsychSIGN review meetings with the PsychSIGN President and President-elect.
    9. The Board
      1. The National Board is comprised of the President, President-elect, Regional Chairs, and Special Interest Chairs.
      2. Under the leadership of the President and President, the Board is responsible for the PsychSIGN annual meeting planning and execution.
      3. The Board will meet a minimum of twice a year in September and March. Agenda and points of discussion will be set by the President and President-elect as per the requests by the general membership and national officers.
      4. The Board will review and reratify the PsychSIGN Constitution biennually.
      5. All members of the Board will have one vote and all votes will be determined by a simple majority unless determined otherwise by the Board in advance. A minimum of half the Board members must be present for a vote to be considered valid.
  1. Changes to Duties of Leadership
    1. Requests for new duties or alterations to the officer duties designated above must be submitted to the President for approval of the Board. Upon approval, the president will in turn submit the request for APA approval and changes will be reflected in the PsychSIGN Constitution according to the biennial review schedule.

Terms of Office

  • Local Officers
    1. PsychSIGN affiliated Psychiatry Student Interest Group Leaders terms will be set in accordance with the policies and procedures of the medical student affairs at their respective home medical institutions. PsychSIGN will have no influence over leadership positions at the local level.
  • National Officers
    1. Regional Chairs will be elected for a 13-month term that will begin immediately after elections at the National Conference. The 13th month, which occurs after the election of the following year’s officers, will focus on advising the newly-elected Regional Chairs from their respective regions.  There are no term limits for Regional Chairs.
    2. Special Interest Chairs will be elected for a 13-month term that will begin immediately after elections at the National Conference. The 13th month, which occurs after the election of the following year’s officers, will focus on advising the newly-elected Special Interest Chairs from their respective regions. Each individual may only serve once in their respective chair position.
    3. President-elect will be elected for a 12-month term that will begin immediately after elections at the National Conference. At the end of the 12 months, the President-elect will transition to the position of President following the elections at the subsequent National Conference.
    4. President will serve a 12 month term that will begin immediately after elections at the National Conference. At the end of the 12 months, the President will have the opportunity to transition to the position of Facilitator following the elections at the subsequent National Conference.
    5. Facilitator will serve a 12 month term that will begin immediately after elections at the National Conference and may be a transition from the PsychSIGN Presidency or may be an appointed position by the entering PsychSIGN president.
    6. AMA MSS Delegate will be elected for a 13-month term that will begin immediately after elections at the National Conference. The 13th month, which occurs after the election of the following year’s officers, will focus on advising the newly-elected Delegate.  There are no term limits for AMA MSS Delegate.
    7. Resident Alumnus Liaison will be elected for a 13-month term that will begin immediately after elections at the National Conference. The 13th month, which occurs after the election of the following year’s officers, will focus on advising the newly-elected Liaison.  There are no term limits for Resident Alumnus Liaison.

Removal of PsychSIG affiliates

  • Any PsychSIG affiliate organization which fails to fulfil the duties of an affiliate organization or PsychSIG Leader as listed in the PsychSIGN Constitution shall be placed on probation at the discretion of the President-elect. The probation period shall last 6 months during which the PsychSIG and its leader has the opportunity to fulfill the aforementioned duties. If the PsychSIG fails to meet these by the end of the probation period, the PsychSIG will no longer be affiliated with PsychSIGN, will be removed from active chapter lists, and PsychSIG leaders will not be invited to regional leadership meetings. Following removal from the network, there will be an additional 6 month waiting period before the PsychSIG may re-apply for affiliation. Any PsychSIG may appeal their removal to the general membership, and may be reinstated with two-thirds approval of the members at the annual meeting.

Removal of Officers

  • Any national officer may be removed from membership by a two-thirds vote of the Board. Prior to a removal vote by the Board, the national officer in question must be notified that such a vote is pending and must be given the opportunity to speak to the Board. Any national officer may appeal his/her removal to the general membership, and may be reinstated with two-thirds approval of the members at the annual meeting.
  • Removal of any national officer placed on academic probation by their medical school or taking a leave of absence from medical training greater than 6 months will be at the discretion of the President and President-elect.
  • Any vacancy in an office resulting from a removal or relinquishment of a position will be filled by appointment by the PsychSIGN President pending approval at the next Board meeting.

Article VI: Elections

  • Local Officers
    1. PsychSIGN affiliated Psychiatry Student Interest Group Leaders
      1. PsychSIG Leaders will be identified in accordance with the policies and procedures of the medical student affairs at their respective home medical institutions. PsychSIGN will have no influence over leadership positions at the local level.
  • Election of National Officers
    1. Regional Chairs
      1. Elections for Regional Chairs will be held during the PsychSIGN Annual Meeting during which the respective PsychSIGN region body shall comprise the electorate.
      2. Applications will be submitted and displayed on the PsychSIGN website prior to the Annual Meeting as directed by the President-elect. Information may be sharing in the monthly membership newsletter as per discretion of the President-elect. No distribution of campaign materials or form of mass communication (i.e. listservs) will be utilized by any candidate in efforts to campaign with the general membership. No member of PsychSIGN shall recklessly or negligently disseminate information on behalf of a candidate about another PsychSIGN member or candidate.
      3. Candidates, while encouraged to submit applications prior, may announce themselves at any point of the Annual Meeting prior to the election itself.
      4. Each candidate will have a 2 minute opportunity to address the assembled Region. Previously submitted applications will be made available to the respective regions.
      5. Each medical school may cast one ballot, regardless of the number of students in attendance. Each medical school will thus need to select one Regional Chair prior to submitting its ballot. Members who are candidates for a Region chair may not vote or influence their medical school vote in their respective Region Chair election.
      6. All first choices are counted, and if no candidate wins a majority vote, then the last place candidate is eliminated. Ballots of voters who ranked the eliminated candidate first are redistributed to their next choice candidates, as indicated on each voter’s ballot. Last place candidates are successively eliminated and ballots are redistributed to next choices until one candidate gains a majority vote.
      7. Ballots will be gathered and counted immediately by the current Regional Chair. The winners will be announced when all ballots have been counted and all elections have been completed.
    2. Special Interest Chairs
      1. Special Interest positions will be appointed by consensus of the outgoing Chair, President and President-elect. Applications will be reviewed prior to final announcement at the Annual Meeting.
    3. AMA MSS Delegate
      1. Elections for AMA MSS Delegate will be held during the PsychSIGN Annual Meeting during which the PsychSIGN general body shall comprise the electorate.
      2. Applications will be submitted and displayed on the PsychSIGN website prior to the Annual Meeting as directed by the President. Information may be sharing in the monthly membership newsletter as per discretion of the President and President-elect. No distribution of campaign materials or form of mass communication (i.e. listservs) will be utilized by any candidate in efforts to campaign with the general membership. No member of PsychSIGN shall recklessly or negligently disseminate information on behalf of a candidate about another PsychSIGN member or candidate.
      3. Candidates, while encouraged to submit applications prior, may announce themselves at any point of the Annual Meeting prior to the election itself.
      4. Each candidate will have a 2-minute opportunity to address the general body. Previously submitted applications will be made available.
      5. All PsychSIGN members may cast one ballot. All first choices are counted, and if no candidate wins a majority votes, then the last place candidate is eliminated. Ballots of voters who ranked the eliminated candidate first are redistributed to their next choice candidates, as indicated on each voter’s ballot. Last place candidates are successively eliminated and ballots are redistributed to next choices until one candidate gains a majority vote. Members who are candidates for Delegate may not vote for in the AMA MSS Delegate election.
      6. Ballots will be gathered and counted immediately by the Delegate. The winners will be announced when all ballots have been counted and all elections have been completed.
    4. Resident Alumnus Liaison
      1. The Resident Alumnus Liaison will be appointed by consensus of the outgoing liaison, President and President-elect. Applications will be reviewed prior to final announcement at the Annual Meeting
    5. President-elect, President
      1. National Chair Elections will take place during the annual meeting after Regional Chair Elections. Candidates should submit their names prior to the election and each candidate will have a 5-minute opportunity to address the assembled Board. The winner will be the candidate who garners two-thirds of the vote. If no candidate wins two-thirds of the vote, a run-off election will be held between the top two candidates, and the candidate who earns a simple majority of the votes in the run-off will be the winner. Members of the Board who are candidates for President or President-elect may not vote in the President-elect election.  
    6. Facilitator
      1. The Facilitator position will be first offered to the outgoing PsychSIGN President. If so declined, the transitioning President-elect may appoint an alternative facilitator.

Grievances Regarding Election Procedures

  • Grievances regarding election procedures will be addressed to the outgoing PsychSIGN President, who will allow both sides to present their concerns and will attempt to find a solution that is agreeable to both parties.
  • If the grievance cannot be resolved in the aforementioned manner, it will be resolved by the newly-elected Board as follows: Both parties will be permitted five to ten minutes to present their arguments to the Board. The Board will vote on a course of action; a two-thirds majority will win. Any Board members involved in the grievance will not vote in this process.
  • If the grievance cannot be resolved by the Board as described above, it can be appealed to the APA. Decisions by the APA will negate any conflicting articles in this document. Decisions by the APA are final and cannot be further appealed.

Article VII: Amendments

The PsychSIGN Constitution will be reviewed and ratified by a two-thirds majority of the Board biennially. Amendments to this document may be submitted to the Board by any national officer or any member of PsychSIGN. Amendments to this document will be ratified by a simple majority vote of the Board with final approval by a simple majority vote of members in attendance at the National Conference. If no changes are proposed to the document at the time of review and the Board ratifies with the two-thirds majority, the document will not be presented for general discussion at the National Conference.

Last updated: January 2018

Last vote: Jan 23, 2018

Board Members in favor:  Grace, Emilie, Jane, Ingrid, Frances, Tyler, Kelsey, Dani, Brittany

Absent from vote: Natasha