The American College of Neuropsychiatrists

(An Osteopathic Institution)

By Floyd E. Dunn, D.O., F.A.C.N., F.A.A.M.D.

In the College Bulletin (Vol. XXVIII, No. 2) of April 1975, A.C.N. President Fred Marshall reported the birth of a Mid-year Continuing Medical Education Program whose gestation period dated back to the second term as A.C.N. President by your author, when the Committee on Development and Organization, which he originated, began the sponsorship of interim scientific and educational programs. The D. & O. Committee died after three years through lack of support by either members or the A.C.N. governing body; in the intervening years there was a gradual ground swell of interest and discussion about developing a mid-year scientific and educational seminar under A.C.N. sponsorship, but it took the drive of Fred Marshall and his Board of Governors to push the ‘ground swell’ into a flood of action. He met with his Board at Westchester, Pennsylvania on December 13, 1974 and organized our first officially titled Mid-year Continuing Medical Education Program; the program has been an important part of the activities of the College since its inception a decade ago.

At the Thirty-ninth Annual Meeting of the College, November 9-13, 1975 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, our major concern was the shrinking of teaching hours for neurology and psychiatry (especially psychiatry) being proposed and put into effect by the curriculum committees of most of our Osteopathic Medical Schools. The consensus was that a physician who went into family practice without a good indoctrination in personality growth and development and the ways in which that personality might show aberration of function would be ill-prepared to function in the holistic approach to medicine which osteopathic theory, philosophy and practice had championed as one of its chief “raisons de etre” since its birth a century earlier. Much heat and fervor were generated in the discussions but little was accomplished in the terms of effective corrective action. In the current vernacular, we did not have “clout” on college curricular committees. Almost a decade later, most of us still feel that the family physician needs much more savoir faire in matters neurologic and psychiatric than he/she was given in medical school and internship, and most polls show that the majority of people in family practice agree with us.

The American College of Neuropsychiatrists held its Fortieth Annual Meeting in conjunction with the Convention of the American Osteopathic Association, November 12-18, 1976, at the Civic Center in San Francisco. The College members awarded the Distinguished Service Certificate to Edward Francis Xavier Lawler (executive Director of the National Association of Private Psychiatric Hospitals) and to Ms. Irene Lump (Manager, National Health Affairs for Smith, Kline, & French) both of who had voluntarily lent their services and influence to the college for many years. Bernice Harker, one of our early diplomats in Psychiatry, and the only D.O. California psychiatrist who maintained her osteopathic affiliation at the time of the infamous California Defection, was awarded a Lifetime Membership.

The members of the American College of Neuropsychiatrists were individually shocked and grieved (and the college as an institution suffered shock and partial disruption) at the sudden death of it long-time Executive Secretary and indefatigable worker, Sydney M. Kanev, on January 25, 1977 at his home. Syd was a Fellow of the College, and a Life Member of both the College and the American Osteopathic Association. As your author wrote for the “D.O.” of August 1977: “No one knows better than I the amount of work he did for the profession in his capacities of secretary of the A.C.N, and secretary-treasurer of the AOBNP since I am the only other current ember of the profession who ever held both positions. Syd was one of a vanishing strain of Homo Sapiens: a kind of endangered species. He seemed to put devotion to duty and to his profession above all else. He looked after the welfare of all members of the A.C.N., and all candidates in or out of training even when some of them were in effect fighting him tooth and nail. The profession and osteopathic neurology & psychiatry are poorer now that he has gone, even though they seldom gave him due honor while he was here. Ave Sydney,” Edythe Varner, a Fellow and a past president of the College wrote of him in the September issue of the Bulletin: “For many people who had the privilege of working with and knowing this gentle man, it is nearly impossible to separate his name from the college he served. … Dr. Kanev never lost his enthusiasm nor his faith in his desire to see growth and development of the A.C.N.”

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