The APM Lipsitt Award: Keeping the Dream Alive

This is just a shout-out about the APM 2014 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale this coming November. As always, it sounds like an exciting event and this year’s theme hits me right in the heart, “Lessons from Our Best Teachers: Patient-Informed Advances in Clinical Care, Research, and Leadership.”

There’s even a new award, The Lipsitt Award:

I’ve never met Dr. Lipsitt but it makes sense that people should know a little bit about the man for whom the award is named. The following is taken from a 2009 short bio I snipped from the internet:

Donald [sic] R. Lipsitt is a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and Chairman Emeritus, Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts He is Honorary Chairman, Section on Psychiatry, Medicine and Primary Care, World Psychiatric Association He has published over 100 articles, 26 book chapters, and 4 co-edited books. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of 2 peer-reviewed journals: GENERAL HOSPITAL PSYCHIATRY; INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY IN MEDICINE; and also the SOMATIZATION NEWSLETTER, and he is on several editorial boards. He has received numerous awards, including: The Award for Lifetime Achievement and Contribution in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, by Society for Liaison Psychiatry, 1994 The Cummings Foundation Psyche Award for Innovation in Integrated Behavioral Health Care, 1999 The Thomas P. Hackett Award, Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, for Lifetime Contribution to Consultation-Liaison (C-L) Psychiatry, 2000 The Lifetime Achievement Award, Association for Academic Psychiatry, 2001 He received an Honorary Master of Arts degree, Harvard University, 1990 He has served as President of the American Association of General Hospital Psychiatrists, the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, and the International College of Psychosomatic Medicine, from 1999-2001 He has been an invited visiting professor in Montreal, Melbourne, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Madrid, Helsinki, Hamburg, Istanbul, Lisbon, Lausanne, and Oslo.

You can view Dr. Lipsitt’s selected bibliography. And I see where I probably learned from Dr. Lipsitt’s ideas on how to help primary care physicians manage somatic symptom disorders. The following is an excerpt from an October 2013 Psychiatric Times article entitled “Tipsheet: Psychiatric Referrals and Primary Care.”


 Refrain from early psychological explanation

 Speak patient’s “physical” language, agenda

 Perform a brief physical examination at each visit

 Curtail endless search for “organic cause”

 Limit prescriptions and referrals

 Assign (NOT prn) brief regular visits

 Maintain trusting, respectful physician-patient relationship

– See more at:

Dr. Lipsitt retired in 2005 as Editor-In-Chief of General Hospital Psychiatry after 26 years of service, building the journal to include traditional consultation-liaison as well as international and epidemiological articles. He was teased abut his “Eagle-sharp editing skills and ability to immediately detect a punctuation error.”
And Dr. Lipsitt got a headstart on his career as a writer and editor, as I discovered from a 2011 story about his work putting out a local newspaper when he was much younger:

APM members threw a party for him, and he immediately detected the omission of the letter “o” on his cake–in the congratulations message (from the January 2005 APM Newsletter).
The year 2005 was pivotal for the subspecialty of Psychosomatic Medicine. Just a couple of years earlier, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) had approved it as a subspecialty. It was the culmination of a dream by APM members, after years of struggling to gain this recognition. The first certification exam was in 2005 and I was among the first examinees.
In a way, the Lipsitt Award highlights the importance of keeping a dream alive, not just for Psychosomatic Medicine, but for all of medicine. It will be given to those who are members of another special group–the next generation of doctors who will become our next generation of leaders.


  1. Don, I was so flabbergasted that you even found my blog and commented that I forgot to congratulate you on being named for the award!



  2. Dear Dr. Amos:
    I am absolutely astounded at your great skill in plumbing the cyber world. You have found things about me I didn’t know existed publicly. And as for “eagle-eye” editing, please note that my name is Don, not Donald. This pick-up did not require much of an “eye.” I have been doing it for years with those who want to insist my name is Donald. Otherwise, thank you for your kind efforts.
    Don R. Lipsitt. ( the R. Is there as a “stop”)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, my goodness. I will never refer to you as “Donald” ever again. I can’t think of a better way to set this humble blog post off other than to have your personal comment on it!

      Thank you so much.

      Best wishes, Don!


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