Sitka Psychiatrist Receives Rural Psychiatry Award

Sitka psychiatrist Sul Ross "SR" Thorward, MD of Sitka received the prestigious William R. "Bill" Richards Rural Psychiatry Award this spring.  The Bill Richards Award is administered by the APA Area Councils to recognize an APA member who made exemplary contributions to the treatment of patients or the practice of psychiatry in a remote or rural area.  Dr. Thorward is the immediate past president of the Alaska Psychiatric Association and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.  He has resided and practiced in Sitka since 2009. Congratulations Dr. Thorward!


A Message About Torture

Scientific research has demonstrated "enhanced interrogation," otherwise known as torture, to be harmful and ineffective.  As medical doctors trained to diagnose and treat mental illness, psychiatrists are called to alleviate suffering, not to inflict it.  
A 542-page report published in the New York Times on July 2, 2015 concludes that non-psychiatrist mental health professionals worked with the CIA to blunt dissent by other health professionals over an interrogation program that included torture.  These individuals also worked to distort professional ethics in an effort to make it seem permissible for health care professionals to participate in torture.  
At at time when other health professionals were collaborating with torturers, the American Psychiatric Association determined that psychiatrists could not participate because of our medical ethics.  Our organization and our members stood firm against pressure to participate in torture.  The American Psychiatric Association has long opposed torture, no matter what name it may masquerade beneath.
The Alaska Psychiatric Association believes health practitioners who practice or defend torture stand far outside of professional norms. We condemn any health professional who would follow in the footsteps of the doctors at Nuremberg.  We invite all health professionals to join us in opposing torture.

Joshua Sonkiss, MD
Alaska Psychiatric Association