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SUNY Downstate Doctor Named President of American Psychiatric Association

Ramaswamy Viswanathan, M.D., Dr.Med.Sc., was named president of the American Psychiatric Association for 2024-2025.
SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Ramaswamy Viswanathan, M.D., Dr.Med.Sc., a doctor at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, was named president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

He is the first person in Brooklyn and the first SUNY faculty to be elected to this position in the APA’s 182-year history. The APA is the world’s largest psychiatric professional organization with nearly 39000 members, according to a news release. 

“I am grateful for the trust my fellow APA members have placed in me by electing me to help lead our organization,” said Viswanathan. “This is a great opportunity to highlight and advance the practice of psychiatry impacting the mental health of countless individuals, and to serve as an inspiration to those seeking to enter the field. I am excited about the year ahead, and look forward to working closely with colleagues at APA and around the globe to affirm APA’s role as a leading voice in psychiatry.”

A longtime advocate for mental health, medical educator, and clinician-researcher, Viswanathan currently serves as Professor and Interim Chair of Psychiatry at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. Viswanathan’s research has focused on communication, medical ethics, and treatment adherence, but extends to substance use, HIV, innovations in psychotherapy, and more. 

As the 2024-2025 APA President, Viswanathan’s priorities are to focus on lifestyle interventions for positive mental and physical health through a holistic approach to wellness, including exercise, nutrition, sleep, social connectedness, stress reduction and avoidance of risky behaviors. They will be promoted in conjunction with other treatment modalities such as psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy and neural stimulation.

Born in India, Viswanathan immigrated to the U.S. after attaining his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree at Madras Medical College at the University of Madras; he then completed a Doctor of Medical Science degree at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.