Becoming an Advocacy Affiliate of the ACNP

The ACNP encourages participation in College activities by members of organizations whose mission and purpose is primarily to:

  • Advocate for improved treatment for people with brain, behavioral, and substance abuse disorders.
  • Advocate for the elimination of stigma associated with those disorders.
  • Provide assistance and support for people with brain, behavioral, and substance abuse disorders through referral services, self-help support groups, and other similar services.
  • Who share a common commitment with the ACNP for the support of scientific research in neuropsychopharmacology and related fields.
  • And who seek and use the advice of ACNP members on their scientific advisory boards.

An organization that meets the description above, and who wants to send representatives to the ACNP Annual Meeting, may send a statement to the ACNP Liaison Committee stating its request.  This letter may be sent to the ACNP Executive Office to and the staff will see that the Liaison Committee is provided a copy for review. The letter must have a member recommendation.  The Liaison Committee will review the organization’s request, and may submit it to Council with a recommendation for approval or non-approval.

If recommended and approved by Council, that organization will then be allowed to send up to two representatives to the ACNP Annual Meeting.  Those organizations will also be invited to participate from time to time in joint projects with the ACNP that relate to the College’s public education efforts and to its efforts in support of research findings.

Public Information Efforts

The ACNP Public Information Committee selected the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus Briefing, “The Long-Haul Neurological and Psychological Impacts from COVID-19” and the Neuropsychopharmacology (NPP) article, “Choosing the appropriate language to reduce the stigma around mental illness and substance use disorders” as their annual focus of dissemination to the public in 2022.

ACNP Public Information Committee member, Dr. Suma Jacob asks ACNP Fellow, Dr. Olusola Ajilore about the link between racial discrimination, inflammation, and depression.

Addressing the Stigma of Psychiatric Disorders

Mental health and substance use disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide, and the stigma and shame associated with mental health permeate all levels of society. The stigma around mental health and substance use disorders has had profound effects including preventing people from seeking treatment for these disorders, instilling shame among those who are affected and their family members and increasing the risk of suicide. Stigma has also contributed to an underfunded mental health system and inadequate services for persons with mental health and substance use disorders.

The committee interviewed selected ACNP members about their perspective on the stigma associated with several mental health conditions and issues, the progress that has been made in reducing stigma, and future actions which are needed. Read the interviews here.

Advocacy Efforts on the Hill

The ACNP Liaison Committee with Governmental Agencies and the Pharmaceutical Industry is involved in many different consumer organizations in the field of neuropsychopharmacology.

A brief introduction to ACNP was developed by the Liaison Committee in 2017. The introduction details the College, it’s mission and expertise of membership in psychiatry and pharmacology.

2022 Congressional Briefings

“Potential of Psychedelics in the Treatment of Psychiatric Diseases: A Long, Strange Trip Toward Future Therapy”
On Wednesday September 21st, 2022, the American Brain Coalition and the American College of Neuropharmacology hosted a virtual Congressional briefing focused on the potential use of psychedelics in the treatment of psychiatric diseases.

“Long-Haul Neurological and Psychological Impacts from Covid-19”
On May 18, 2022, the American Brain Coalition (ABC) and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) joined with the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) to co-host a Congressional Neuroscience Caucus briefing on the Neurological and Psychological Impacts of Long-haul COVID-19. The event was moderated by Dr. Lori McMahon, Chair of SfN’s Government & Public Affairs Committee and Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina. Presenters included  Dr. Igor Koralnik, Chief of Neuro-infectious Disease & Global Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine opened the panel and shared that he and his colleagues created one of the first neuro-COVID-19 clinics in the country at Northwestern, where they investigate, diagnose, and manage the symptoms of COVID-19 “long-haulers.” Dr. Eric Lenze shared his research focus of developing and testing treatments for depression, anxiety, and brain health in older adults. He has successfully tested treatments for the most complex neuropsychiatric illnesses, including treatment-resistant depression. In 2020,  Dr. Lenze’s group was the first to show the efficacy of an acute oral treatment for COVID-19. Patient Advocate Danielle Kirk, a survivor of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury with resulting Bipolar Disorder shared her compelling personal experience of contracting COVID and Long COVID twice within 16 weeks.

2021 Congressional Briefings

“COVID-19: PTSD Among Healthcare Workers”
On April 28, 2021, the American Brain Coalition and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, in cooperation with the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus, hosted a virtual briefing addressing COVID-19: PTSD Among Healthcare Workers. Presenters included James Murrough, M.D. Ph.D., representing the Icahn School of Medicine, Kathleen Merikangas, Ph.D. of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and W. Michael Brode, M.D., representing the University of Texas at Austin. The goal of this briefing was to educate policy makers on important scientific issues and stress the need for continued research funding. This briefing highlighted the COVID-19 pandemic and the critical need to focus on its impact on the mental health of our nation’s healthcare workers involved in the response. It has been consistently shown that a high proportion of healthcare workers is at greater risk for developing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms (PTSS).

2020 Congressional Briefings

“COVID-19 and the Brain”
On Wednesday, June 3, 2020 the American Academy of Neurology, American Brain Coalition, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and Society for Neuroscience, in cooperation with the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus, hosted a virtual congressional briefing addressing COVID-19 and the Brain. The briefing featured opening remarks by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), co-chair of the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus, and three expert speakers who have been following the breaking research emerging on the neurological effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Over 140 House and Senate staffers, brain-related patient advocates, physician, academic, and research professionals were in attendance.

2019 Congressional Briefings

“The Role of Science in Overcoming the Opioid Crisis”
On Tuesday, November 19, the American Brain Coalition, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry hosted a briefing; “The Role of Science in Overcoming the Opioid Crisis” in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC.  The briefing featured three esteemed speakers who are experts on the opioid epidemic.

“Bench to Bedside:  Building from Neuroscience Research Discoveries” 
On Tuesday, January 29, the American Brain Coalition, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and the Society for Neuroscience, in cooperation with the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus, held an informational briefing. The panelists discussed recent neuroscience research achievements/challenges, highlighted mental health disorders, and examined treatment options. The federal government, mostly but not exclusively, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has played a critical role in supporting the foundational knowledge that makes translational and clinical research possible. Congress has increased funding for the NIH for the past four consecutive years. Of the $39.1 billion provided in FY2019, NIH estimates that it will be devoting more than $7 billion to neuroscience research. In addition, scientists are actively working to develop new tools as part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The briefing built on the successes within the neuroscience research community over the past few years and discussed the need to leverage increased federal funding with private investment to ensure that novel therapies are available to the people who most need them.

2018 Congressional Briefings

“The Role of Science in Overcoming the Opioid Crisis”
On June 20th, the ACNP, the American Brain Coalition in cooperation with the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus (CNC), conducted a briefing which examined what science tells us about the intertwined problems of nonmedical use of prescription pain medicines, heroin use, and opioid overdose deaths in the U.S.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 115 Americans on average die every day from opioid overdoses.  Data from 2017 show up to 30% increased rates of opioid overdose deaths compared to 2016. Science has provided some solutions to aspects of the problem, but existing evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies are underutilized.  The ACNP briefing addressed research being conducted to understand the impact of various policy changes on rates of opioid misuse, opioid use disorders, and related public health outcomes. This briefing encouraged the support for funding of neuroscience research and demonstrated new discoveries that maximize the medical and societal benefits of continued research.

2017 Congressional Briefings

“Impact of Suicide & Depression in America”
The College in conjunction with the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus hosted a breakfast briefing entitled “Impact of Suicide & Depression in America” for House members and staffers to illustrate how neuroscience research informs on efforts in treating common mental health problems. Suicide is a preventable public health problem and a leading cause of death in the United States and that greater investment in suicide prevention research is needed to stop the untimely deaths of thousands of Americans each year. World Mental Health Day

“Healthy Aging: The Connection…Diabetes, Obesity, and Dementia”
The College hosted a luncheon briefing for the Senate HELP Committee, Special Committee on Aging members and legislative staffers to illustrate how neuroscience research informs efforts in treating common mental health problems amongst our aging population entitled, “Healthy Aging: The Connection…Diabetes, Obesity, and Dementia.” The goals of the briefing were to promote public understanding and knowledge of the social, mental, and fiscal impacts of diabetes, obesity, and dementia stimulate greater investment and innovation in dementia research as well as share the benefits of taking a public health approach to dementia and prevention. World Mental Health Day

ACNP Liaison Committee Members Attend “Hill Day” with SfN
Capitol “Hill Day” is the hallmark advocacy event of the year. SfN members from across the country convene on Capitol Hill to meet with their congressional representatives to discuss advances in the field of neuroscience, share the economic and public health benefits of investment in biomedical research, and make the case for strong national investment in scientific research through NIH and NSF. Liaison Committee members Kristin Bigos, Ph.D., Christopher Cowan, Ph.D., and Rebecca Knickmeyer-Santelli, Ph.D., joined forces with SfN members on Thursday, March 23rd to help deliver the message about the importance of brain science across the research continuum. This year, SfN focused on strategically critical congressional districts as part of advancing SfN’s message on the Hill.

More than 40 SfN members along with ACNP Liaison Committee members participated in the successful Capitol Hill Day and met with more than 54 congressional offices to advocate for scientific research.

For more information about our Liaison Committee, Advocacy Affiliates, or Projects, please contact ACNP.