Professional Development

My voluntary faculty appointment has meant much to me over the past years, more than I had ever expected. The overarching advantage has been to remain connected to a professional community, while being primarily in private practice. In my case, I obtained my faculty appointment at the training program where I did my child fellowship, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell Campus. This has been a particular advantage since it allowed me to maintain and deepen previously established professional relationships. My activities have varied, ranging from supervision of residents and fellows to participating in a psychotherapy research study. I am asked every year to be an examiner at Mock Board exams and while it can be time-consuming, the opportunity to teach has been important and meaningful to me. In many instances, being voluntary faculty allows you to be member of a professional list serve. This is a good way to have access to a larger professional community. You can participate in clinical discussions and have access to colleagues who may want to refer to you or be available to accept your referrals. The opportunity to attend Grand Rounds and other scientific or clinical presentations is another way to stay connected and keep up to date clinically. Last but not least, your affiliation will allow you to attend social events, such as holiday parties, graduations, or events at the AACAP Annual Meeting, which can be a lot of fun and are a great way to network.

Who would consider a voluntary faculty appointment and how does it work? You may consider a voluntary faculty appointment if you are not working in a primarily academic setting, which would typically come with an academic title. Child psychiatrists active in community psychiatry or in private practice frequently apply for such an appointment. What it typically means is that you apply for an academic title at a University or University-affiliated hospital. The exact nature of the title, e.g. Clinical Assistant or Clinical Associate Professor, will depend on your credentials. A typical arrangement is that the appointment and the title are granted for time given to the institution in return, usually in the form of teaching and supervising. It probably varies how much of your time you are expected to set aside. At the institution I am affiliated with 2 - 3 weekly hours is typical. There is generally no remuneration.

In my opinion, there are no downsides to applying for a voluntary faculty appointment. This is a wonderful way for an early career psychiatrist to be an active member of a professional community.

Sabina Preter, M.D., Ph.D.