President's Message

Consuelo “Chi-chi” Cagande, MD


President's Message: March 2017

Since my term as President will conclude this May, I am reminded how quickly time passes when you are doing something you believe in with and for a group of people that you are proud to be associated with. I find myself reflecting on my time as President because in this message I have the honor of announcing to you, your next slate of NJPA officers. The new slate of officers were elected at the March 1, 2017 meeting of the Board of Trustees and will assume their new duties on May 24, 2017. In an upcoming e-news we will provide you with a full list of voting members of the 2017-2018 Board including your local chapter representatives.

2017-2018 OFFICERS
President ............................. Randall Gurak, MD
Senior Vice President ........... Debra Koss, MD
Vice President ...................... Erin Zerbo, MD
Secretary/Treasurer .............. Charles Blackinton, MD
Immediate Past President ..... Consuelo Cagande, MD

I would like to extend the gratitude of the NJPA to two of our NJ residents for their service to our profession. Dr. Jessica Abellard is a fourth year resident at Cooper University Hospital.  This May, she is completing her second one-year term as Vice President of the NJPA and will also conclude her duties as the APA Area 3 Resident-Fellow Representative to the Assembly.  This summer Dr. Abellard will begin her Geriatric Fellowship at Yale. Her commitment to leadership at this early stage of her career is only one of example of the passion with which she pursues her career.  Thank you Dr. Abellard, and Congratulations! Dr. Syed Maududi is a fourth year resident at Bergen Regional Medical Center. Dr. Maududi not only chose to represent his program on the NJPA Residents and Fellows Chapter but was elected President of the Chapter and represented NJ psychiatry residents and fellows as a Trustee on the NJPA Board. Dr. Maududi's term will also end this May. Dr. Maududi, we thank you for your service!

I look forward to the opportunity to see you this spring at the NJPA CME Conference, Pressure and Resilience Across the Lifespan, on April 22, 2017. If you haven't registered yet, you can do so from the above registration link. 

Chi-chi Cagande, MD, DFAPA, DFAACAP
President, NJPA


President's Message: February 2017

Spring may not be here yet, but there is change and growth at the New Jersey Psychiatric Association.  You should have received the news in your mail that the NJPA is rolling out a new member benefit - the Expert Advisory Panel and Speaker Bureau. At the end of February you will receive an email Alert! with all of the details about how to apply for these programs that were designed to afford you an opportunity to build your professional network and help shape Association policy. 

Throughout the first half of this year, at the direction of the Board of Trustees, the NJPA staff is visiting each of the five geographic chapters and the six NJ psychiatry residency programs to gather information about what you- our grassroots members- need and want from your New Jersey Psychiatric Association. This effort began with a "Membership Workout" session facilitated for the NJPA leadership at which members of the Board of Trustees and Chapter officers gathered to brainstorm about membership recruitment and retention. You commit time and resources to your membership. Your colleagues in leadership are working to ensure that there is a return on your investment. We hope to see you at your upcoming chapter meetings so that your thoughts and opinions can be included in our work.

Finally, as you also know from a previous email, the NJPA nominating committee is at work preparing a slate of officers to recommend to the Board of Trustees in March. The nomination period for the 2017-2018 term is now open and nominations from members will be accepted until February 24, 2017. Click here for more information on the process.

I hope to see you once Spring is in full bloom at our April 22, 2017 CME Conference, Pressure & Resilience Across the Lifespan. You will find a link to more information about the program below.

Chi-chi Cagande, MD, DFAPA, DFAACAP
President, NJPA

President's Message: January 2017
Happy New Year!

I am pleased to ring in 2017 with exciting news! We have learned from the APA that at the close of 2016, NJPA was 888 members strong. This represents an increase over 2015 year-end numbers. In a time when professional organizations are struggling to maintain membership, NJ psychiatrists are committing to their professional organization. The APA has also advised that NJPA will maintain its level of representation in the APA Assembly. NJ's voice will stay strong as we continue to send three representatives to the May 2017, November 2017 and May 2018 Assembly Meetings. I want to thank our leaders and members for helping on this effort. Your colleagues in leadership will honor your commitment to membership by focusing on continuing our successful legislative advocacy work, delivering quality programming and developing new member benefits. The NJPA is your organization so we want to hear from you if you have questions about matters affecting your practice or ideas for future programming or benefits. I am always available at or you can call the Association at (908) 588-3540.


Chi-chi Cagande, MD, DFAPA, DFAACAP
President, NJPA

President's Message: December 2016

We had a wonderful Program for Excellence on November 20, 2016 celebrating the inspiring achievements of our awardees and newly inducted APA Distinguished Fellows. It was also an honor to have our APA President Elect Dr. Anita Everett attend and give a glimpse of her platform when she assumes the presidency.

While the holiday season can be a time filled with celebration and family tradition, we know all too well that for many who are often our patients, the holidays can increase stress, create anxiety or highlight loneliness. Let us not only be at our best for our patients this holiday season, but be there for each other as colleagues. If you havenít connected with fellow psychiatrists in your area, make a commitment this season and in the New Year to attend a local chapter meeting and expand your professional and social network. Reach out to that psychiatrist in your town, neighborhood or even in your building that isnít a member and introduce them to the NJPA family. Work collaboratively with family practitioners, pediatricians, and other mental health professionals for the good of our patients. As always I and our administrative staff are available to help. If we stay connected, we can be stronger together for our profession and improve the delivery of mental health care in New Jersey! I wish you all a very joyous holiday! I hope to see you in the New Year.


Chi-chi Cagande, MD, DFAPA, DFAACAP
President, NJPA

President's Message: November 2016

Thank you for taking the time to read your NJPA Newsletter. The NJPA Board believes that the information we send you via the monthly newsletter and interim electronic updates can improve your membership and practice experience; bringing you value, cost-savings opportunities, and legal and regulatory updates that are essential and impact daily patient care. Now we need your help to promote and advertise these electronic communications. Share it with your colleagues, encourage those that are already members to read their newsletters and those that aren't members to join today and begin receiving this member benefit. Help your colleagues stay informed and improve the patient experience.

NJPA had a successful collaboration with the New Jersey Society of Addiction Medicine several weeks ago. Both organizations worked to deliver a successful continuing education program to its members: Addictions 2016: Clinical Advances and Best Practices. About 100 attendees came away from the experience having strengthened old professional relationships and friendships or formed new ones and gained knowledge and insight into treating patients with addiction.

Our next program is the NJPA's celebratory Program for Excellence where we will award various individuals for their commitment to the science, art and practice of psychiatry. Read the details below and join us. As we enter the 2016 holiday season, I am grateful for you all, my colleagues and friends.


Chi-chi Cagande, MD, DFAPA, DFAACAP
President, NJPA

President's Message: August 2016

As fall approaches, NJPA is hard at work preparing for Addictions 2016-Clinical Advances and Best Practices; scheduled for October 15, 2016 and co-hosted with the New Jersey Society of Addiction Medicine. The addictions conference will provide practical management strategies to assist clinicians in treating patients with co-occurring substance use disorders and arm clinicians with treatments and techniques to manage addictions in this time when the rate of opioid use disorders has risen to epidemic proportions. Then on November 20, 2016, we hope you will join us at the NJPA Program for Excellence when we gather to celebrate the good work the NJPA and its members do to support mental health and improve care for NJ patients. More information is provided in this newsletter on both of these events.

Wishing you relaxing days for the remainder of summer 2016.

President's Message: July 2016

NJPA has received positive feedback from its members that have been reading the monthly e-newsletter and periodic e-updates.  And, as you know, communicating electronically is most efficient for you and cost-effective for the Association.  We must now work together to increase readership of our e-news.  Please encourage your colleagues to open and read the NJPA newsletter.  If you know a member that is not receiving the newsletter, have them contact the NJPA office at (908)588-3540 or email Jennifer, the NJPA member services coordinator, at  And, most importantly, if you speak with a NJ psychiatrist who is not a member, encourage them to join so that they can begin not only receiving the newsletter, but taking advantage of all that APA and NJPA membership has to offer.  Click here to download a membership application or refer your non-member colleagues to Jennifer and she will assist them with joining.

Enjoy your summer!

President's Message: June 2016

In light of the recent senseless shooting in Orlando the APA has joined forces with other physician groups to urge Congress to provide funding to the CDC to research the causes & prevention of gun violence.

Gun Violence MUST STOP
AMA House of Delegates Calls on Congress to Lift Ban on Firearms Research

As Psychiatrists we need to be mindful of the impact of these tragedies our patients. This link is to a blog found on the APA website about working with children in the wake of disasters. 

And of course, on behalf of the NJPA, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims.

Chi-chi Cagande, MD, DFAPA, DFAACAP
President, NJPA

President's Message: May 2016

The APA Annual Meeting in Atlanta ended yesterday, and its conclusion marks the beginning of my second (and final) one-year term as President of your NJPA. The NJPA will be led this year by returning and new board members (follow the link below in NJPA news for a complete list). I welcome our newcomers and thank all of my fellow board members for their service. I also want to thank our outgoing officers and trustees for their exemplary service and commitment: Michael Shore, MD (Senior Vice-President), Fatimah Tahil, MD (Trustee-at-Large), and Alican Dalkilic, MD (Southern Chapter Trustee).

The APA Annual Meeting was also a great opportunity to network and learn. And, many of our very own New Jersey members were honored for their achievements. You can read more about those members and their achievements in NJPA and APA news and view some pictures. I would like to especially congratulate on behalf of the NJPA, Theresa Miskimen, MD. Dr. Miskimen, an NJPA Past-President, was elected Speaker-Elect of the APA Assembly and after a one-year term will serve as Assembly Speaker. The APA Assembly represents and serves the needs of the district branches and state associations and recommends actions to the APA Board of Trustees. New Jersey and all the District Branches and State Associations are in good hands!

Lastly, don’t forget to check-out the Chapter News and the Save-the-Date section of our newsletter and mark your calendars to join us for CME, our annual awards celebration or if you are a Resident or Fellow, at our FREE CONFERENCE designed especially for you. As always, I thank you for your membership and your service to our profession.

Consuelo "Chi-chi" Cagande, MD


President, NJPA


President's Message: March 2016

As spring approaches, your NJPA is committed to growing its membership and completing a transition into a new organizational structure to serve you better. The NJPA governance structure has been streamlined over the past two years to effectively address major areas of interest such as advocacy and education while utilizing the expertise of our own members who are willing to give of their time to serve in leadership positions.  If you would like to see the resulting organizational chart click here and as always, contact me at or our Executive Director, Tricia DeCotiis, at

Our newest members, our NJ psychiatric residents, have shown their commitment to membership in record numbers this year.  Three of our training programs have attained 100% membership and have been recognized by the APA for this achievement.  They are:  Bergen Regional Medical Center, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Congratulations to these programs and their residents!

Finally, I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible this spring at your chapter meetings.  I am currently scheduled to attend the following chapter meetings:  Monmouth/Ocean on April 20, 2016, Tri-County on May 3, 2016 and Central on May 6, 2016, and will work with the Northern and Southern Chapters to arrange dates.  Please consider saving these dates and join me for dinner and networking.


Consuelo "Chi-chi" Cagande, MD


President, NJPA


President's Message: November 2015

On November 22, 2015 the NJPA hosted the Program for Excellence- an annual event to celebrate and honor our profession, our leaders, our members and their hard work and dedication to our patients with mental illness. It is inspiring to see vibrant young and forever young colleagues do work they are passionate about.  Congratulations again to all the awardees!

Our special guest was Dr. Ranna Parekh, Director of Diversity and Health Equity with the American Psychiatric Association.  She recognized New Jersey’s focus on cultural competency for physicians, and most importantly applauded the NJPA for embracing and encouraging diversity of all types in our membership and our leadership.

“Medical leadership for mind, brain and body.”  Since the turn of the millennium, Psychiatry has moved full speed ahead within the house of medicine.  But it is not without challenges. We welcome those challenges.  I welcome those challenges.  I have thought a lot about what a President can accomplish in one to two years. I thought a lot about what issues our organization are facing today.   So I came up with a mnemonic for my goals and objectives. 

NJPA has become the body of our members and the Board of Trustees (BOT) as the “thinking tank.” Our exceptional members reach out to us on issues that are important to them and the BOT serve them by doing diligent work to advocate for their causes. 

During my presidency I have a slogan that will keep us focused on issues.  It is not limited to these so I ask all members to be active in communicating with your BOT.  I believe in the bottom up approach. 


C – Communication:  We will renew our efforts to communicate effectively with our members in 2016, via e-newsletter and website.  We will work more with our chapters on a bi-directional communication on issues and the needs of our members.  

A – Advocacy: We will continue to advocate for safe practice for our patients.

L – Life Long Learning: We must continue to provide high quality up-to-date CME to our members in order to maintain the integrity of our profession.

M – Membership: This will be one of my priority initiatives in 2016.  We need to be stronger in numbers to advocate for our profession and our patients. We should be more innovative in our membership recruitment and retention strategy.  I will be working more closely with the Council on Member Services on strategic planning with the BOT in 2016. 

B – Brain: We will continue to be leaders in promoting mental health. There is no health without mental health. In addition to brain research, we need to continue to educate and de-stigmatize mental illness which is a brain disorder.

R – Renew:  Increasing membership, providing more CME functions, setting professional standards and collaborating can revitalize our organization to be prepared for the mid-21st century.  We must be prepared. 

A – Access to Care: We need to promote this for our patients. The affordable care act was implemented to improve access but there are still challenges given the shortage of psychiatrists, especially Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists. 

I – Integrated Collaborative Care: is one way to improve access to care.   Our members will be leaders in integrating and collaborating with other professions.  In addition, our five councils will continue to collaborate with each other to be the strong pillars of our organization and its members.  We have already begun to work on this initiative. 

N – Next generation:  We must support and mentor our members-in-training and early career psychiatrists. They need our undivided attention for career planning.  They are our profession’s future and leaders in the community. 

Very ambitious goals, right?  Most of the ground work has already been laid for some of these objectives.  We must not lose sight of them. This organization has great leaders and representatives on the Board of Trustees who volunteer their time to be the voice for our over 800 members. 

Together We Can!  I hope to see you at the next CME event on April 2, 2016 and our next Program for Excellence where we celebrate YOU! 

I am truly blessed and I wish you all a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Chi-chi C. Cagande, MD DFACAAP

NJPA President


President's Message: October 2015

Together we can!

Welcome to another year of NJPA! Since mid-May, our Board of Trustees, Council members and Executive Director have been working together under my leadership as your new President. Together we are moving ahead on our strategic goals. I have set an agenda of advancing Integrated Collaborative Care (ICC) for Adults, Adolescents and Children. Now, I am reaching out to all our members to join with us. Together we can!

To those who do not know me, I have been involved with the NJPA beginning as a resident at the turn of the 21st century. Back then I was the NJPA Residents Chapter Secretary.  I did my Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship at Johns Hopkins.  Being a Jersey girl, I returned to work at Cooper Hospital in Camden and joined the faculty.  I continued to be involved in NJPA as an Early Career Psychiatrist, Council member and a member of various committees, including Child Psychiatry and Disaster Preparedness.    I served as NJPA Secretary (2010 - 2013) and Vice President (2013 - 2015). I have also co-chaired and then chaired the Program and Awards Committee that was elevated to the Council on Education under my leadership. I am also Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Residency Program Director at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.  These experiences have intensified my passion to work among the best, and serve and advocate for those who suffer from mental illness, and maintain life-long learning.

NJPA has rocketed into the millennium.  Established in 2013, our five Councils on Advocacy, Education, Finance and Resources, Member Services, and Professional Standards, continue to be strong pillars of organizational support to achieve our goals and serve our members.  The Council on Education, chaired by Dr Michael Shore, our Senior Vice President, and co-chaired by Dr Erin Zerbo, continues to provide our members with high quality continuing education programs at least twice a year.  The Council on Member Services, chaired by Dr Vasudev Makhija, Past President, and co-chaired by Dr Deborah Matro, continues to collaborate with our Resident-Fellow Members Chapter and five geographical chapters and maintain member services for over 900 members of whom we are proud. The Council on Advocacy, chaired by Dr Debra Koss and co-chaired by Dr Anna Rossi, has been very active in advocating for you and collaborating with other leaders and organizations to protect our profession and promote access to mental health care for all ages.  The function of the Council on Professional Standards, recently chaired by Dr Ted Petti, focuses on standards, both ethical standards and standards of care, and thus, encompasses quality of care and the relationship between standards and access to care, health economics and parity.  Finally, the Council on Finance and Resources, chaired by Dr Charles Blackinton, our Secretary-Treasurer, oversees our financial and other resources, and matters of governance.

It is an honor to lead our organization, especially at a time when we have many of our NJPA members participating on the national level as members of the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).  Congratulations to Dr Theresa Miskimen, Past President and past NJPA Representative for being elected Assembly Recorder.  Dr Joseph Napoli, Past President, is the Area 3 Representative and Dr William Greenberg, Past President, is the Area 3 Deputy Representative.   Our newly appointed Representatives to the Assembly are Dr Lily Arora, Dr Charles Blackinton, Past President, and Dr Charles Ciolino, Immediate Past President. This year is also a first for a Resident-Fellow Member (RFM), Dr Jessica Abellard, a third year psychiatry resident, to be elected as Vice President of the NJPA.  She has valuable experience as the past Area 3 RFM Deputy Representative and is the current Area 3 RFM Representative.  Dr Raul Poulsen, a third year resident, is the Area 3 RFM Deputy Representative. The Area 3 Council recently elected Dr Reena Thomas to the position of Area 3 ECP Deputy Representative. Dr David Scasta chairs the Assembly Committee of Representatives of Subspecialties and Sections (ACROSS) and is the liaison for the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists.

Our field has also moved full speed ahead within the house of medicine.  The APA’s new logo and its “Medical leadership for mind, brain and body” tagline and the NIH’s funding of brain research are encouraging steps towards de-stigmatizing mental illness and promoting mental health.  But it will take more efforts at the local level.  Barriers to access have been at the forefront of our challenges to provide patient care. NJPA can lead the charge on improving access to care.  Integrated collaborative care (ICC) is a major way to improve access. Beginning in 2010, originally under the leadership of then NJPA President Dr Margaret Tompsett, NJPA has been engaged in bringing collaborative mental health services to New Jersey. ICC is the new house of medicine.  Furthermore, psychiatry is not just about caring for the mentally ill but also about promoting and maintaining mental health.  Together with our colleagues we can foster the wellness of their patients, our patients and their families.

Our Resident-Fellow Members (RFMs) are vital to NJPA’s momentum. I am very encouraged and inspired by their commitment. I have a favorite quote that I tell my residents: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” We involve them.  They learn and do. Our Resident-Fellow Members Chapter organized resident career fairs, buprenorphine training and other programs in collaboration with the Council on Education. NJPA needs to further nurture their development into compassionate psychiatrists and encourage them to assume leadership roles.

To our RFMs, I say you are valuable to NJPA and encourage you to get involved in ways besides being members of the Resident-Fellow Members Chapter. Become a Council member, join us in advocating and participate in the many ways that NJPA is advancing psychiatry. We have a lot to offer you such as career and leadership development, mentoring and practice management training.   Reach out to me, our Executive Director, Tricia DeCotiis, Esq or anyone of our Board Members or Council Chairs. Come see us at NJPA events and network. 

To our members “not in training” but still young at heart, I invite you to reach out and be available to our future colleagues, our future leaders.  Your valuable experience will go a long distance with them.

It has been a privilege to be among accomplished past and current leaders of this prestigious association.  They have set the stage for being a valuable resource to our members, setting standards for exceptional patient care and fellowship among our colleagues.  As President, I will work with you to build upon their achievements.

It is an exciting time for Psychiatry in New Jersey!  Please join me and our team in this year and beyond to help us work hard and fight hard for our patients. In the spirit of integration and collaboration, Together We Can!

Thank you and see you at all the NJPA events!

Consuelo “Chi-chi” Cagande, MD