Candidates for CPA 2018 Officers & Leadership

Participate in the Future of Psychiatry –

Melinda L. Young, MD, DLFAPA, Chair, CPA Nominating Committee

Elections for CPA Officers are open from February 20-March 20, 2018


■ Elections for CPA Early Career Psychiatrists are open from March 1st- April 1st.   (Only ECPs will vote in this election)


We have made online voting effortless this year by embedding a link in your email that will take you right to your ballot! Those without email addresses will receive a paper ballot via regular mail. 


The CPA has partnered with Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS) to administer the 2018 election.  To assure your election specific broadcast email arrives safely in your inbox on or around February 20, 2018, simply add the following email address as an approved sender.


If you have any questions about receiving your ballots, please contact the CPA office at 800-772-4271. Or email

The 2018 election features candidates running for CPA President-elect, CPA Treasurer, and Deputy Representative from Area 6’s (CPA’s) Early Career Psychiatrists to the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee of Early Career Psychiatrists.  All candidates are highly experienced CPA members, and each is exceptionally qualified to hold office.   Each candidate has his or her own vision for CPA and its future, including how CPA focuses its work and its resources.  He or she will influence the future of psychiatric practice in California, including how CPA will collaborate with our five District Branches and the APA, as well as how CPA will interface and communicate with the California legislature, regulatory bodies, and the judiciary.  This is a critical time for psychiatry in California and nationwide, and the stakes are high.  We face changes in healthcare delivery and reimbursement models, decisions on which patients can receive care and which professionals will deliver that care, limitations or expansions in scope of practice for healthcare professionals, as well as what kind of care will be allowed.  State and federal financial participation in Medi-Cal and Medicare is threatened by tight and tightening budgets and by politics and politicians.

Please spend the time reading the candidates’ biographies and statements to select your future leaders and the path forward for CPA.  Don’t know a candidate?  Contact the candidates themselves, speak with colleagues from your District Branch and from District Branches around the state, and/or speak with your District Branch’s and CPA’s current leadership.


Exercise your right to influence and shape the future of organized psychiatry and the practice of psychiatry, in the state of California.  Voter turnout is historically small for all professional societies including CPA.  That means individual members voting in the CPA election can have enormous power to influence who its future leaders will be.  Each and every vote matters.

2018 Roster of Candidates

Adam Nelson

For CPA President-elect

Mary Ann Schaepper
For CPA President-Elect

Steve Koh 


For CPA Treasurer

Shannon Suo


For CPA Treasurer

Rachel Robitz 

ECP Deputy Representative

Jonathan Serrato

ECP Deputy  Representative

Farah Zaidi

ECP Deputy Representative 

Mary Ann Schaepper, MD, M. Ed, DFAPA
For CPA President-Elect

Adam Nelson,  M.D., DFAPA 
For CPA President-elect

   Now is the time for psychiatrists in California to join the CPA.  Collectively we can call out key issues in mental health with a powerful voice.  

   We have the unique opportunity to rally and grow the CPA membership, to showcase our profession, and to stand by our patients with a unified presence in California.  When elected, I am fully committed to 
Empower, to Connect, and to Represent you, 
the CPA members, patients, and the CPA organization.  

PatientsEmpower patients through direct education on how to cope with and make meaning of their mental health challenge. Stand by patients in their transformation of stigma into courage to seek care. Collaborate with them in overcoming barriers and finding access to care. Connect patients to certified psychiatric care. Create and give access to mental health resources. Inform patients of their rights, and options through public forums, media presentations. Enroll them to participate in community activities such as NAMI Walk. Represent patients’ distinct mental health needs, e.g. Assisted Outpatient Treatment, Laura’s Law, care for vulnerable populations, and access to timely and appropriate care at the Community, State, and National levels.

Members: Empower members by advocating for clear boundaries in mental health delivery and scope of practice. Promote integration of psychiatry with primary care. Negotiate parity of reimbursement for all CPT codes across all medical disciplines. Ensure that continuing education, and maintenance of certification requirements are relevant, accessible and affordable to all members.  

Connect individual members and their concerns to their District Branch, and to the CPA. Engage with Medical Students, Residents, Fellows and Early Career Psychiatrists through mentorship. Embrace their innovative perspectives on mental health care.  Represent the diversity and strengths of the CPA members to the APA, CMA and State Legislative Bodies.  

CPAEmpower CPA through the investment in membership retention and growth of the psychiatric clinicians throughout California. Connect CPA by engaging with and assisting the District Branches in their outreach to their constituents and communities. Capitalize on CPA expertise and resources to support local advocacy and educational efforts. Represent CPA as a significant contributor to policy and solutions of Mental Health Care at the State and National levels. Hold insurance providers, state legislators, and health care delivery systems accountable to parity of care.

   My qualifications for this position and responsibilities are: I am an experienced, mature clinician, educator, and administrator.  I have been a member and have served at the local, District Branch, State, and National level for over 23 years.  I am a distinguished Fellow of the APA.  I serve currently as CPA Treasurer, SCPS Assembly Representative. I am a member of the CPA Child and Adolescent Committee, CPA Government Affairs Committee, and the CPA Women’s Caucus Co-Chair.  

My past leadership consisted of: APA Membership Committee (2001-2008), APA Area VI Member-in-Training (1999-2002), CPA Annual Program Committee         (2011-current), SCPS President (2011- 2012), SCPS Secretary (2009-2010), Residency Director, Loma Linda University (2001-2013).
   CPA/APA has been a part of my professional fabric. Having grown up in a family whose APA membership spans 113 years, I appreciate the value of this organization  As program director I introduced this professional home to each resident. I have mentored Minority Fellows, Women in Psychiatry, Child Fellows, and medical students and will continue to mentor future leaders of the CPA/APA.  
   I work in a private group practice, with a focus on child, adolescent, and the family. In addition, I work with a local Federally Qualified Health Center, to provide specialty care to those with Autism and Intellectual Disability. Whether it is running a practice, administering a training program, developing innovative mental health care worldwide, or being fiscally responsible as CPA Treasurer, I bring expertise, aptitude, and a “make it happen” attitude to the table. 
   Your vote allows me to Empower, to Connect and to Represent patients, members, the CPA organization, and most importantly you.  

Thank you for your vote of confidence!


Mary Ann Schaepper, MD, M.Ed, DFAPA
(951) 271-0397

   I am honored to be nominated for the office of President-elect of the California Psychiatric Association. As a member of the CPA Council for over 10 years and representative from Area 6 to the APA Assembly, I have been a passionate and outspoken advocate for psychiatrists in California. If elected, here are some of the important issues I intend to address.

ACCESS: CPA must continue to nurture our relationships within our own profession and other mental health professionals with whom we can and should collaborate. Although California has more psychiatrists than almost every other state in the country, access to quality mental healthcare services in our state remains limited. Huge disparities in the quality of mental healthcare continue within and across communities. Growing our existing partnerships and forming new ones is essential.

COLLABORATION: During my career in many different treatment settings, multidisciplinary collaboration has been the cornerstone of my treatment philosophy. Working with NAMI and with the California Mental Health Planning Council, I have found that many consumers, professionals, and other stake-holders share our concern over lack of access and adequacy of psychiatric services. They are eager to welcome us to the conversation on improving mental healthcare in California. We must solidify these relationships and assure their trust in our desire to collaborate.

REMOVE CONSTRAINTS: We must address the challenges from opposing interests to limit the practice of psychiatry. Restrictions in confidentiality of patient records, constraints on psychotropic prescriptions to foster youth, Medical Board monitoring of controlled prescriptions, administrative barriers by insurance companies, and legalizing the practice of medicine without proper training are but a few of these challenges. Before those less qualified can carry the argument, we must take the lead in improving access and quality of mental health and substance use treatment services in California.

LEADERSHIP: The best way for us as psychiatrists to lead is by example. My record of leadership spans my career, including President of Sacramento Psychiatric Society in 1994-1995, East Bay Psychiatric Association in 2000-2001, Marin Psychiatric Society in 2003-2009, and NCPS in 2011-2012. At Marin General Hospital, I was elected Department Chair of Psychiatry from 2004-2009 and served as a Medical Director. I helped establish a Partial Hospitalization Program in the East Bay, where I am currently Medical Director of a successful model of multidisciplinary collaborative patient care. I served in the US Air Force during Operation Desert Storm and subsequently worked in the VA. I helped integrate psychiatric services into primary care settings with the City of Berkeley, St. Anthony’s Clinic, Glide Church Clinic, and the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics. I developed a Psychiatric Homeless Project in San Francisco that became a precursor for the Mayor’s Homeless Outreach Team. In addition to being on CPA Council, I have served on several committees, including Practice, Managed Care, and Government Affairs.

Please vote for me for CPA President-Elect.
For any questions or comments, contact me at

Steve Koh, MD, MPH, MBA

For CPA Treasurer

Representing my colleagues to our psychiatric and medical professional organizations has been highlights of my career. With your trust and confidence, I hope to serve you as the Treasurer of California Psychiatric Association.

   My first experience with organized psychiatry was at the CPA Annual Meeting when I was a resident. I have been active in APA, CPA, and local SDPS ever since. I have been able to represent my colleagues as the Chair of RFMs and of ECPs, serve in the APA Assembly, been Member of the Council on Healthcare Systems and Finance and currently on the Council on Advocacy and Government Relations, served as APA Board member as Minority Fellow Representative, and currently a Board member of APA PAC, served as Chair for the APA Annual meeting, and am Consultant Member of the APA Finance Committee. I have been past President of the SDPS. At the CPA, I have been the Chair of the RFMs, ECPs, Academic Liaison, and have been on the committees for public sector psychiatry, government relations and leadership council. I have also been actively involved in the CMA and AMA. I represented APA at the AMA with our delegation. Representing San Diego County Medical Society, I have been actively involved with CMA and currently serve on the TeleMedicine Committee. 

   As faculty at University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, my responsibilities cover 4 areas. I am the Director for the Community Psychiatry Program, TeleMentalHealth Program, and Outpatient Psychiatric Services – Hillcrest. I also serve on our Chair’s Advisory Cabinet in area of community, public sector policy and advocacy. My professional career’s development has kept pace with my work with organized medicine. They augment one another to ensure that I have the ability to serve multiple capacities in my leadership positions.

   My relevant fiscal responsibility work includes entrepreneurialism, formal training in business administration, consultant member of the APA’s Finance Committee, oversight of ambulatory clinical operations and community psychiatry programs at UCSD, and non-profit organizational leadership. These experiences will help me serve our CPA and District Branches to ensure fiscal discipline and add value to our shared initiatives.

   My goals will be to streamline our financial relationships with the APA, transparently showcase financial aspects of CPA endeavors, and coordinate collaborative efforts between District Branches.I believe that we must work closely with APA to ensure that our Area and each District Branches are able to take advantage of its resources efficiently and directly. I also believe that the CPA must transparently manage its financial reserves and surpluses to support California wide initiatives to engage with our members, increase membership and support younger members. Finally, the CPA Treasurer position is ideally suited to liaison with all District Branch Treasurers to share best practices and support one another.

   It will be an honor to serve as your CPA Treasurer and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. Thank you. 

Steve Koh, MD, MPH, MBA

  I entered organized psychiatry as a resident representative on CCPS Council in 2001. I was impressed with the power of organized psychiatry in creating and influencing legislation and affecting patient care and the practice of medicine.  I soon realized that my voice as a physician could be amplified by the megaphone of CCPS, CPA, and APA.  Since joining the CPA Council in 2010, I have sought further involvement to support the vital mission of CPA: carrying out legislative, regulatory, judicial, and educational advocacy, and public affairs activities on behalf of organized psychiatry in California.  

   Our members entrust CPA with the execution of what they may not have the time/energy/expertise to individually do—upholding and advocating for the quality of care that our patients deserve and so desperately need. I am committed to honoring that trust and ensuring that our organization uses our funds wisely, efficiently, and to further the goals of our members. I have an excellent working relationship with current executive staff and leadership within the CPA and am confident in our organization’s ability to work together to produce innovative and effective products such as the CPA Annual Meeting, the Pre-Conference Clinical Updates in Psychopharmacology, and the CPA Primary Care Psychiatry Conference which has trained hundreds of primary care providers to recognize and treat mental health conditions in primary care, safely expanding access to hundreds of thousands of patients across the state and country!  

   I believe strongly that the DB’s of CPA need to work together effectively to accomplish the mission of CPA and am committed to regular communication with the DB's around financial issues involving the APA, CPA, and DB's.  

● Fiscal responsibility
● Innovative sources of new income
● Honor the mission of CPA: legislation/education/public affairs
● Involvement/connection/support of DBs
● Representation of and communication with individual members
●Patient safety
● Support RFMs, ECPs, URMs, and women in CPA/APA 

Qualifications: (see for full CV)

Program Director, UC Davis Psychiatry-Family Medicine Residency Program Medical Director, Turning Point Community Programs Mental Health Urgent Care, Sacramento-$2.5 million budget, Co-Director, UC Irvine/UC Davis Train New Trainers Primary Care Psychiatry Fellowship - $1 million budget, Co-Chair, Committee on Integrated Care; Co-Chair, Women's Caucus; Annual Planning Committee; Nominations Committee member, CPA Co-Chair, UC Davis Society for Women in Academic Psychiatry, Past President, Treasurer, Secretary; Deputy Representative, CCPS
Co-Chair, Membership Committee, Association of Medicine and Psychiatry Coordinator, UC Davis IMPART P3 (MHSA WET program) $1.3 million budget.

   I humbly ask for your vote to become your next CPA Treasurer.
Shannon Suo, MD
Contact:   916-734-8110

Rachel Robitz, MD
ECP Deputy Representative

I am honored to be considered as a candidate for CPA ECP Deputy Representative. I completed family medicine/psychiatry residency at UCSD, and I’m currently on faculty at UC Davis. During residency, I held 
various leadership roles in the San Diego Psychiatric Society including RFM Representative, Federal Legislative Co-rep, and Councilor.

I have also been involved in the APA at a national level as the APA Public Psychiatry Fellowship’s non-voting representative to the APA Board of Trustees. I have a steady track record of advocating for trainees, and I hope to continue to represent my peers as the ECP Deputy Representative. I am passionate about advocacy, and I am pleased to align myself with an organization that works for mental health parity and combats stigma. Moreover, issues of diversity in the psychiatric workforce are important to me, and I have worked for this within the APA through my work on the mentorship steering committee. Thank you for considering my candidacy.

Shannon Suo, MD

For CPA Treasurer

Jonathan Serrato, MD              ECP Deputy  Representative


   It was a relatively smooth transition for me after graduation from residency when I started working as an attending at my parent institution where I trained. However, one issue which I encountered intermittently during my training became a more frequent encounter, after I assumed responsibilities as a full-time psychiatrist on an inpatient unit and psychiatric emergency services.    The issue I am referring to is the lack of placement and next level of care facilities after acute mental health issues are addressed in psychiatric emergency and inpatient units. There is a significant lack of shelters, Board & Cares, wet housing/shelters, dual diagnosis treatment centers, detox facilities, intensive outpatient programs and residential rehabilitation facilities, to name just a few. 

   I realized early on in my training that our patients' mental wellbeing is often strongly linked to, and is affected not only by the availability of basic resources such as food and shelter, but also by the ease of access to several treatment resources and continuity of care. Hence, the lack of resources creates a backlog and recidivism and is a big barrier to our patients' recovery process. This limitation also has a significant impact on us as psychiatrists and is a significant risk factor for burnout, as the inability to provide patients with quality care has been reported as one of the causes for burnout in psychiatrists. Psychiatry is facing many challenges and this is one of the many challenges we face today.

   As an Area 6 Deputy Representative to the CPA Council and the APA Committee of Early Career Psychiatrists (ECP), I plan to work with my colleagues to represent them and our patients to overcome these barriers.

To my fellow Early Career Psychiatrists, my name is Jonathan Serrato and I graduated from residency at UC Irvine in 2017. I served as your Area 6/California Resident-Fellow Member (RFM) Representative from 2015-2017 and I would like to return to the APA now in the role of representing ECP’s.

   I currently work in the VA Long Beach Healthcare System and have helped develop our telemental health program that provides telepsych services to veterans living in remote and rural areas in California as well as other states. I have an interest in expanding substance abuse treatment opportunities and increasing access to psychiatric care for individuals regardless of socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, or where they live. Because of the minimal resources available to those seeking mental health care in our communities, there remains insufficient means to meet the growing demand. Now more than ever it is imperative for the voice of mental health providers to be heard on a state and national level. I seek to advocate for a greater increase in awareness and acceptance of mental health issues in our nation, and I’m excited to continue pursuing opportunities as the Area 6 ECP Deputy Representative to help shape the future of psychiatry in the form of policy and legislation. 

   The APA has proven to be a powerful force in influencing policy in the United States, but in order to remain the leading voice of mental health care, it must continue to have strong membership. It is no secret that the most dramatic drop in membership in the APA occurs during the transition from residency to early career practice. I am committed to helping stimulate further engagement of ECPs in the APA. During my time as RFM Representative, I saw a record number of residents involved in CPA Advocacy Day, the CPA Annual Meeting, and voting in elections. I believe that this was secondary to an increased sense of community and increased outreach to various residency programs around the state. I now ask to represent early career psychiatrists in Area 6/California to help foster community amongst this group and to increase relevant resources and opportunities specific to ECP’s.

   I am confident that my prior experience in the CPA Council and APA Assembly, as well as my experience in various clinical settings, makes me an excellent candidate for being your ECP Deputy Representative and ensuring that our collective voice is heard on the state and national level. 

Farah Zaidi, MD
ECP Deputy Representative 


Elections for CPA Officers are open from February 20-March 20, 2018


■ Elections for CPA Early Career Psychiatrists are open from March 1st- April 1st.   (Only ECPs will vote in this election)


We have made online voting effortless this year by embedding a link in your email that will take you right to your ballot! Those without email addresses will receive a paper ballot via regular mail. 


The CPA has partnered with Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS) to administer the 2018 election.  To assure your election specific broadcast email arrives safely in your inbox on or around February 20, 2018, simply add the following email address as an approved sender.


If you have any questions about receiving your ballots, please contact the CPA office at 800-772-4271. Or email

California Psychiatric Association, 921 11th St., Suite 502, Sacramento CA 95814 ~ P-916.442.5196 / F- 916.442.6515


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