Board CertifiedI would like to ratify and expand Mary...


July 12, 1994

Board Certified

I would like to ratify and expand Mary Corey's excellent article (The Sun, July 3) on the importance of licensure and certification in the practice of psychotherapy.

An important correction is due regarding the training of psychiatrists. Ms. Corey correctly identifies psychiatrists as medical doctors who have taken the full four-year course of study required to be a physician.

They then train an additional year in general medicine internship followed by three years of supervised, hospital-based residency training in psychiatry.

Ms. Corey's simple statement that "psychiatrists prescribe drugs" is very misleading. Psychiatrists are trained to do a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation and can provide a variety of therapeutic interventions, including a wide range of psychotherapies, consultation to other professionals, hospitalization and prescribing psychotropic medication as part of a comprehensive, multi-dimensional treatment plan.

They are the only mental health professionals trained to tease out the difference between problems originating in the meaningful world of the mind from the biological properties of the brain and understand the interaction between these two perspectives -- ministering to both.

Like all physicians, some psychiatrists have passed written and oral examinations to be certified by the specialty board of psychiatry. Some have not passed or even tried. It is appropriate for patients to ask any of their physicians (psychiatrists and otherwise) whether or not they are "board certified." Being board certified is considered to be a higher standard of excellence by physiciansthemselves. Most patients are unaware that passing these extra, voluntary examinations to be board certified is not required by most states (including Maryland) to obtain a medical license or practice a specialty. Thus, being board certified is a standard of excellence that can give the consumer-patient an additional criterion to evaluate a prospective physician or psychiatrist.

Mark S. Komrad M.D.


The writer is chairman of the Maryland Psychiatric Society's public affairs committee.

Escobar's Murder

The murderers of Andres Escobar have effectively transformed Colombia's hatred for this player into sympathy. They have taken the country's most vilified man of the moment and turned him into a martyr.

To show understandable anger with Escobar now would appear to be a disrespect rather than the normal emotion that it is. Anger and sympathy are at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. Colombians must now try and strike a median between these to extremes.

Admittedly, as an American this kind of fervor over a sport is alien to me, but it is obvious that Escobar's murderers have hit two birds with one stone. They have not only turned Colombia's healthy frustration into ashamed sympathy but also put themselves one player further away from the next World Cup.

Rachel Chico


Doesn't Get It

When is Michael Olesker going to "get it"? His plantation mentality is just plain wrong.

It is most insulting to have the compassion of City Council persons compared to Jack Pollack's unbridled "wheelings and dealings" of the 1940s and '50s!

It seems that most of the time when Mr. Olesker writes about African-Americans (lately, quite a large part of his columns), he is either complimenting or criticizing the alleged ability or inability of African-Americans to conform to the Michael Olesker caricature of them!

Judge Joseph Kaplan and Councilpersons Vera Hall, Sheila Dixon, Iris Reeves, Melvin Stukes and Carl Stokes did the right thing.

When they met to consider Jackie McLean's health, they provided the needed additional time for healing. What if her healing had been about a sprained back and time was needed for the physical challenge of standing straight?

Would the outcome have been different for Jeffrey Levitt's wife if a similarly compassionate group had requested additional healing time for her?

I can still remember the compassion I felt for that depressed and sad-faced woman in the blue leather coat.

Quite often, the first Sun column I read is that of Michael Olesker because of its talent and its power.

But he must "move the mirror" so that others can see (and share ideas, opinions and suggestions) without having to first meet Michael's approval.

Harriet Griffin


Stopping Crime Should Be City Priority

The article in the Today section July 8 on car theft, as well as one written by Susan Reimer on July 5 describing her experiences with home security, largely echoes the sentiments of many Baltimore City residents who, so far, have resisted the temptation to relocate outside of the city's boundaries.

I, like many others, bemoan the current state of crime and lack of city services in Baltimore.

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