American College of Osteopathic Neurologists and Psychiatrists

The American College of Neuropsychiatrists

(An Osteopathic Institution)

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

This same year (1962) it was reported that Dr. Irving Perlstein was entering graduate training in child psychiatry, after completing his training in psychiatry at the Philadelphia Mental Health Clinic: he was to become our first certified Child Psychiatrist. This event necessitated alterations in our Basic documents to include requirements and standards of graduate training in Child Psychiatry, and considerable discussion with out osteopathic pediatricians concerning the amount of credit that could be allowed for training in an approved residency in pediatrics. It was finally decided that not more than one year of credit could be allowed and still leave time for the trainee to be adequately trained in those matters which were more psychiatric than pediatric. And then it became necessary to set up examinations specifically in the areas of psychiatry in which the candidate for certification as a child psychiatrist could be expected to demonstrate his expertise.

A final historical note before leaving our Silver Jubilee year of 1962: It was at the Twenty-fifth Annual Meeting that P.B. Davis, D.O., F.A.C.N. was given the signal honor of presenting the first Gerdine Memorial Lecture, titled “The Aging Intervertebral Disk.” The Gerdine Lecture was originally intended to be an annual event (as is the A.T. Still Memorial Lecture at A.O.A. annual clinical sessions) to simultaneously honor the memory of Linn Van Horn Gerdine, M.D., D.O., F.A.C.N and the osteopathic neuropsychiatrist selected to present the lecture. Somehow, in the chaos of the California Merger, the resignation of Secretary Littlefield and the transfer of our records, archives and traditions form California to New York City, the Gerdine Memorial Lecture fell through the cracks.

During this readjustment period of 1962, after conferring with the proper A.O.A. authorities and obtaining their sanction, the College decided to give all D.O.’s who had received un-approved or undocumented training in Neurology or in Psychiatry an opportunity to take a qualifying exam in the specialty in which they had been trained, by applying to the secretary of the College (under whose authority the examination would be given), submitting a dossier of his/her graduate training and paying an examination fee. The examination committee would determine, on the basis of the person’s performance of written and clinical nature, whether his/her training was equivalent to one, two, or three years of training in a regular full-time graduate fellowship or residency. This opportunity was to be a one-time-only event; those who entered non-approved training subsequently would do so at their own risk. Henceforth it would be the obligation of anyone who wished to enter a graduate training program in neurology or psychiatry to be sure the program was approved before he/she entered it. About ten people responded to this offer; they were duly examined, evaluated on their performance, given equivalent credit for one, two, or even three years of training on the strength of their performance, and in those cases where the equivalent was less than three years, were given a program to follow under a preceptor in order to bring their training up to a three-year-equivalent level. Those whose performance was judged to be the equivalent of a three-year full-time resident were informed that the date of their notification that they were performing at the level of a resident who had completed a three-year program would be considered the date of completion of their required graduate training. They were then eligible to take their clinical/practical examination, assuming no ethical problems in the interim.

It was hoped that publicizing this “Blue Sky” Operation would do two things:

(1) It would “clear the slate” of all those people who were clamoring for admission to examination by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry (and even some who wanted to be certified “on record” because they had been doing ‘some’ neurology or psychiatry for three or more years) who had received undocumented training, or unapproved training, often good training under medical auspices, but not in an organized or recognized training program.

(2) It would give notice anew that henceforth if one wanted A.O.A. credit for a graduate training program in neurology or psychiatry, that one should be certain that his training program was approved before entering the residency or fellowship.

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