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Letter from the Editors
Deborah J. Hales, M.D.; Mark Hyman Rapaport, M.D.
FOCUS 2006;4:461-461.
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Copyright 2006 American Psychiatric Association

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The psychopharmacology issue concludes the first 4 years of FOCUS. Over the first 3 years we covered the "disease-based" outline for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) recertification examination. This comprehensive outline offers a guide to the conscientious psychiatrist who is developing a program of lifelong learning. This fourth year covered important cross-cutting issues: gender, race, and culture; psychotherapy; genetics and psychiatry; and psychopharmacology.

This issue covers psychopharmacology from a broad-based perspective with special emphasis on new developments in pain management and sedative hypnotics and new treatments for alcohol use disorders. As part of the FOCUS mission to facilitate an approach to lifelong learning, we have included two articles that discuss strategies for methods in lifelong learning: our guest editor Stephen M. Stahl discusses the role of continuing medical education (CME) in learning about psychopharmacology and James Thompson and Ira Glick provide a commentary about teaching and learning psychopharmacology for the practicing physician. In the Ask the Expert column, Sid Zisook answers a question about managing a patient referred for hard-to-treat major depressive disorder; the patient management problem from our regular contributing associate editor B. Harrison Levine covers several classes of medication in the pharmacologic management of a patient with complicated comorbid psychiatric disorders. The Quick Reference section provides summary information about classes of medications "at a glance."

We worked with our authors, editorial boards, and other experts to select important articles for the reprint, bibliography, and abstract sections. Significant components of this bibliography are the National Institute of Mental Health funded studies—CATIE (Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness), STAR*D (Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression), and STEP-BD (Systematic Treatment Enhancement for Bipolar Disorder), as well some of the related published commentaries on these studies. A second component of our bibliography includes information on suicide and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other relevant topics and research in psychopharmacology.

In 2007, we will begin a new cycle of FOCUS. In the coming year, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and ethics and professionalism are the issue topics. Highlights of 2007 will include Gary Sachs contributing as guest editor on treatment-resistant bipolar disorder, Marc Galanter writing on alcohol abuse, John Greist, James W. Jefferson, and Lorrin Koran contributing on OCD and compulsive disorders for the summer issue, and Susan Block contributing on end-of-life care and the role of psychiatry in the fall issue on ethics. The FOCUS Self-Assessment Examination is published annually with the fall issue, and will cover these topics.

The FOCUS educational program offers a variety of learning tools—CME credit, a self-graded exercise in educational treatment decisions, the Self-Assessment Examination, and FOCUS Live at the APA Annual Meeting where international experts engage the audience in a unique interactive learning experience. Our mission is to keep abreast of significant advances in the field, while developing self-directed lifelong learning skills and the dissemination of up-to-date information to improve patient care and assist psychiatrists preparing for the ABPN recertification examination.

The Editorial Board, Senior Advisory Board, Self-Assessment Editorial Board, Associate Editors B. Harrison Levine and Ronald C. Albucher, and editorial and publishing staff deserve our thanks for their hard work and excellent service to FOCUS and to the field of psychiatry. We welcome your suggestions on what you would like to see included in FOCUS and look forward to receiving your comments.




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