Appendix A: Memorandum of Understanding

Standard Operating Procedures:

APA PsychSIGN Program

The following outlines the activities for PsychSIGN (Psychiatry Student Interest Group Network), a program of the APA.  Since PsychSIGN is solely funded by the APA, a medical student must be a member of the APA to participate in or be member of PsychSIGN.  The goals of the program include raising awareness of psychiatry as a specialty option at medical schools, sharing APA resources and opportunities with interested peers, helping APA recruit medical student members locally and retain them as they transition into residency, and helping the APA to create valued added resources.   These activities should be measured and the outcomes reported to senior management every 6 months (January and June), including the number of PsychSIGN members that go into psychiatry residency and stay members of the APA.       


Each year, PsychSIGN will provide its organizational structure to the APA and the names, titles, e-mails, phone numbers, and medical schools (including year in school) of the leaders.  Moreover, PsychSIGN will provide its full list of members and any associated information, as requested, to the APA. This information is not to be shared with other entities or organizations.     


The APA approves a set amount of funds to be used collaboratively by the APA Administration and PsychSIGN to support activities and efforts.  Both staff and PsychSIGN must stay within this budget.  If a new activity is proposed that will put the program over budget, a cut must be made to something else. Consideration must be given to the fact that prices fluctuate based on where the Annual meeting is held so there may be extra money in some years for additional activities and shortfalls in others that require fewer activities.  Therefore, new proposals must be considered and approved by the leadership group of PsychSIGN. An increase in spending in one area must be offset by something that the group is proposing to cut or it must be a year in which location savings are apparent. The proposal should be sent to the APA Administration for consideration and feedback in terms of the budget.  PsychSIGN cannot independently commit to anything financially related without the approval of the APA.             


The following activities will be funded up to the budget allocated:

  • PsychSIGN has an annual conference which happens in conjunction with the APA Annual Meeting. The conference is on Saturday (whole day) and Sunday (half day). The PsychSIGN leadership meets Sunday afternoon.
    • The APA pays for 2 nights of hotel rooms (Friday and Saturday nights) for only PsychSIGN leaders and medical student attendees who are members of the APA. No additional people will be accommodated.  The APA staff contact will work with APA Meetings Department to block no more than 40 rooms.
    • The APA arranges the meeting logistics and pays for any food, AV and meeting supplies related to the conference up to the approved budget each year. The PsychSIGN leaders plan the program (invite speakers, schedule the sessions, etc.).  The program must be set by February 1 with the APA staff contact so the logistics can be solidified.  After that point, no additional changes can be made.
  • The APA pays to host the PsychSIGN website.  The website will not be changed more than every three years unless a major technical problem is identified with the platform by the APA IT Department.  PsychSIGN leadership will manage the website, be responsible for a smooth transition from year to year, and post and remove material as appropriate.  The APA staff contact will have administrative rights and the password.  PsychSIGN may be asked to promote APA related material on their site.  
  • A small amount of support for a regional conference at the IPS can be proposed by PsychSIGN leadership and approved by the administration only if money is left-over from national conference.
    • If the budget allows, the APA will provide some support for a one day regional conference at the IPS meeting (i.e. Saturday). This will only include meals, AV and meeting rooms; not sleeping rooms, travel or incidentals outside of what is provided at the meetings.
  • Any additional proposals or changes must be considered in the process outlined above.   

Timeline for typical Annual conference

  • Fall before the Meeting (i.e. third quarter of 2015 for the 2016 meeting)
    • APA staff contact to work with the APA Meetings Department to select an affordable hotel for sleeping rooms and to arrange the logistics based on prior year’s specs.
  • December/January
    • APA staff contact to send the meeting information to PsychSIGN leaders so they can start program planning.  APA staff contact will provide a date when programs and logistics must be finalized.  
    • PsychSIGN leaders will open registration. APA Staff contact will provide the date to close registration.
    • The meeting program needs to be developed and finalized by PsychSIGN leaders by the date established by the APA staff contact.
  • March/April
    • APA and PsychSIGN will promote the PsychSIGN conference locally and through the established network of medical students.  APA staff contact will alert medical school deans and publicize events in meeting related guides where appropriate.  
    • PsychSIGN leaders will provide a list of registrants to the APA staff contact.  
    • PsychSIGN will make the hotel room assignments and will try to book 2 or more students per room, starting with students from same school, same gender, etc. APA is not responsible for determining who is sharing a room.  
    • Housing list must be finalized by PsychSIGN leaders and submitted to APA staff contact, who will, in turn, submit to the Meetings Department.
    • APA staff will print name badges for meeting registrants.
    • APA staff will print the meeting program at least three weeks in advance so it can be shipped with other APA meeting materials.
    • Prior to the meeting, travel reimbursement forms will be sent to the PsychSIGN leaders to reimburse their travel to meeting.  These are due back within 30 days of the meeting.