ACNP Career Development Session – 2015

Summary By: James Murrough, MD

The Membership Advisory Task Force was pleased to sponsor its fifth career development session at the 2015 ACNP meeting, entitled “Nuts and Bolts of ACNP Membership.” The lively session was moderated by Daniel Mueller and Kay Tye and featured an engaging panel that included Karen Szumlinski, Gregory Light, Victoria Arango, David Goldman, and Patricio O’Donnell. There was standing room only as eager meeting attendees turned out in numbers to get the inside scoop on the ACNP membership process. Daniel Mueller provided a brief overview of the application process and explained how each year the Membership Advisory Task Force collects and analyzes data concerning membership applications. Panel members then introduced themselves and commented on how the ACNP has fit into their own career paths. These initial comments soon gave way to a brisk back-and-forth with the audience. Who is accepted into the College? How are membership decisions made? How do I begin the process? If my application was rejected in the past, should I apply again? These are just a few of the questions that were addressed by the panel during the session. Victoria Arango provided a detailed breakdown of the qualities that the Membership Committee seeks in its applicants: these include, (1) knowledge of the College, (2) recurring attendance at meetings, (3) a good publication record, (4) NIH or other grant funding, (5) completion of reviews for Neuropsychopharmacology, and (6) a strong letter of nomination from a member of the ACNP. Potential candidates were encouraged to each out to members early to secure letters of nomination (in some cases members may only provide one nomination letter per year). While these factors apply to both Associate Member and Full Member levels, there was additional emphasis on the importance of showing a track record of mentoring for applicants seeking full membership. There was an energetic discussion around the efforts of the ACNP to be inclusive and transparent, while at the same time maintaining its small size and intimate feel. David Goldman reflected on the unique aspects of the College and referred to it as a “career accelerant.” Commenting further he said, “At the ACNP meeting you might have a hallway conversation with Eric Nestler…[ACNP membership] is a bit of a climb but well worth it.”