Gordon H. Clark Jr., M.D.
I grew up in southern Connecticut, went to Yale in the midst of the anti-war and civil rights movements, got a Master of Divinity degree from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, went to George Washington Medical School, and did my internship, residency, and fellowship in community psychiatry at Dartmouth.
As founding president of the AACP and as a member of various task forces and committees of the APA, I worked to articulate an appropriate role definition for psychiatrists working in leadership positions in interdisciplinary settings. My national and local efforts to champion my belief that authority must be commensurate with medical-legal liability have not come without a significant professional and personal toll: I have been demoted once and fired twice. Sometimes I feel like Don Quixote, taking a number of tumbles in my idealistic quest. I can only keep getting up, dust myself off, and get back in the saddle. Though I have finally come to the conclusion that I will never again put all of my eggs in someone else's basket. I think that this is a compelling realization more now than ever as institutions no longer offer lifelong security, given the downsizings, restructurings, and mergers that are occurring in all industries, healthcare included.
My wife, Gail, and I moved to Maine three years ago. We had met on the Hurricane Island Outward Bound sailing course here a number of years ago. As an oil painter, she was particularly drawn here by the brilliant light. As she had been developing her painting and teaching business, the Royal River Art Studio, I have been developing an interdisciplinary practice, Integrated Behavioral Healthcare. I have also been working as the part-time medical director of the Behavioral Health Network of Maine, made up of fourteen CMHC and addictions treatment agencies across the state.
I have endeavored to arm myself with as much knowledge and skills as possible. Toward this end, apart from being board certified in psychiatry, I am certified in Administrative Psychiatry by the APA and, this past year, became a diplomat of the American Board of Medical Management. Also this past year, I was asked to serve as president-elect of the American Association of Psychiatric Administrators. I am a member of the American College of Psychiatrists, and a fellow of the APA, the American College of mental Health Administration, and the American Association of Social Psychiatry. I have received the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from NAMI and the Distinguished Service Award from the AACP. I am on the teaching faculty at Maine Medical Center and am a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry through the University of Vermont School of Medicine (Maine does not have its own medical school). I have presented and written fairly extensively and have recently co-edited Practicing Psychiatry in the Community-A Manual, published by American Psychiatric Press.
I am the proud father of four children: a twenty-six year old daughter, Emily, who is about to enter her last year at BU Law School where she made Law Review and has just landed a job with arguably the best law firm in Boston; a twenty-two year old son, Christopher, who will be a senior at Middlebury College where he will be one of the star players on the soccer team that has a very good shot at the NCAA Division 3 national championship; a seventeen year old daughter, Heather, who is a 4.plus high school senior in the Los Angeles area, an All-American cheerleader (due to her gymnastic skills), and hoping to come east to an Ivy League school; and a fourteen year old son, Adam, who plays trumpet with the Portland Youth Symphony Wind Ensemble, and who will be entering Yarmouth High School where he hopes to play varsity hockey as a freshman. Most importantly they're all nice kids!
I recently had a magnificent, surprise, fiftieth birthday party and thoroughly enjoyed celebrating becoming a member of "the senior set" with family and friends. I have given up playing industrial league hockey, at my wife's insistence, after sustaining broken ribs in three successive years (the last time I broke five!). I run fairly regularly and like to go hiking and camping. I also like a good cigar every now and again, especially over port with a friend.
Statement of interests, main issues for the AACP and community psychiatrists: I remain interested in assuring that psychiatric leadership roles are adequately supported by having authority commensurate with medical-legal responsibility. I believe that would-be psychiatric leaders should receive training in administration to prepare them adequately for these roles. I believe we should encourage our brethren to become certified in administrative psychiatry by the APA, become certified by the American College of Physician Executives (which has just taken over this process from the American Board of Medical Management), and/or pursue an MBA degree.
I would like to see the AACP pursue collaborative efforts with the American Association of Psychiatric Administrators and the American College of Physician Executives.
I would also like the AACP to consider having a Fellowship category to recognize those who have made extraordinary contributions to the AACP and community psychiatry.
I believe that the AACP should do all that is within its power to advocate politically for colleagues that face unfair and unreasonable administrative/clinical circumstances and for systems of care that are in trouble.
I would like to see the AACP continue to develop clinically useful tools such as LOCUS (Level Of Care Utilization System). Most immediately, I would like us to develop a Child and Adolescent version of this (CALOCUS). I believe that these tools could also potentially serve as outcome measures.
Lastly and, perhaps, most importantly, the AACP is comprised of extraordinarily talented and committed individuals. Every time I get together with our Board of Directors I feel like I'm instantly transported back to the late sixties, surrounded by a bunch of dedicated, flaming idealists! It is our burning desire to do the right thing by patients and families and to support one another in the face of often difficult political processes that makes the AACP a very special organization. We must continue to nurture and build upon this spirit, ever seeking to do the right things for the right reasons
Executive Committee (in advisory capacity)
Healthcare Systems Committee and LOCUS Subcommittee
Council of Members of the Board Emeriti (COMBE) - Chairperson
Gordon H. Clark, Jr, MD
President and Medical Director
Integrated Behavioral Healthcare
1 Forest Avenue
Portland, ME 04101