1980 Javad Emami, Ph.D.
In 1980, Javad Emami, Ph.D., served as the fourth President of the Academy of San Diego Psychologists. The Executive Board for that year included Tony Vail, Ph.D., Past President, and William J. Dess, Ph.D., President-Elect. The new Treasurer was Charles Moore, Ph.D. Katherine DiFrancesca, Ph.D., remained as Secretary for the second year of a two-year term.
Dr. Emami was well qualified to direct the Academy. In 1975, he had served as President of the San Diego Society of Clinical Psychologists. In December 1979, he achieved Diplomate status in the American Board of Forensic Psychology.
As the Academy began the new decade, DSM-III replaced its predecessor in January, and the APA/CHAMPUS Project for peer review of psychology providers was just getting underway. To strengthen the Academy Dr. Emami sought to increase membership, and to this end he appointed Sal DiFrancesca, Ph.D., to head a Membership Committee. The efforts of the Committee enhanced both membership size and the financial resources of the Academy.
Dr. Emami also appointed Alan Davidson, Ph.D., to revamp the Academy's constitution. The three recommendations returned by Dr. Davidson and subsequently approved by the membership established the membership category of Fellow, created two Member-at-Large positions on the Executive Board, and mandated applicants for Academy membership have three letters of recommendation submitted on their behalf.
The interface of the Academy with aspects of the community was increased. In 1980, there were two joint meetings with the San Diego Psychiatric Society. One was a dinner meeting at the La Valencia Hotel at which Sidney Smith, Ph.D., presented a remarkable study on transference and counter-transference during treatment of one of his patients. The other was a theater benefit for battered women's shelter. The Academy also provided a list of volunteer psychologists to the California Western School of Law for use by students seeking treatment at a reduced fee.
The Academy participated in the development of seminars on law and mental health for mental health professionals, an effort organized by the county Office of Defender Services. The Academy provided services and information to various local agencies and appointed a five-Academy-member task force to develop a rating system for use by the Welfare Department's Child Assessment Team.
Dr. Emami was at his best when representing the Academy in the political arena. With Dr. Emami in the forefront psychologists became involved in the election campaigns of Supervisor Jim Bates, Assemblyman Waddie, Deddeh, and Senator Bob Wilson. Dr. Emami also met with the administrative assistant for each County Supervisor, the County Administrative Officer and the Director of County Mental Health Services. Supervisor Roger Hedgecock had pledged he would not support professional and guild issues, but not to be dissuaded, Mr. Emami attended a Hedgecock fund-raiser to press the issue.
To increase referrals to psychologists, Dr. Emami met with administrators and other personnel including officials in the Welfare and Probation departments, Chief of Adoptions, Chief of Child Protective and Placement Services, and Chief of Dependent and Children's Services. He also met with officials in the juvenile court, the superior court, the South Bay Municipal District Court, and with the head chaplain of the Eleventh Naval District.
San Diego County Mental Health Services refused to make referrals to psychologists in the community or to allow CMH staff psychologists to function without medical supervision. With some coaxing from Dr. Emami, on August 4, 1980 the California State Psychological Association filed a civil suit against CMH. Supporting the suit was a recent San Diego Grand Jury report criticizing the county's failure to make maximum appropriate use of highly trained CMH clinical psychologists. Many county psychology positions were vacant at the time because of the low salaries paid. In part because of pressure brought by the Academy, the new county budget for 1980 contained a salary increase for psychologists.
At the end of his presidential term, Dr. Emami summarized the events of the year in the Academy newsletter and concluded as follows: "This past year was an exciting one for me. I hope the membership benefits from my efforts. Whatever successes the Academy achieved this year could not have been possible without the close collaboration and support of our Executive Board."
This summary was written posthumously for Dr. Emami who died without warning on 5 May 1988 when age 51 - Thomas R.MacSpeiden, Ph.D.