Psychiatry today faces sociopolitical, economic, and philosophical pressures that threaten its existence as a valued medical specialty. Recent legislation that decreases the numbers of foreign medical graduates eligible to practice in the United States, increases the numbers of community mental health centers and types of services they offer, and limits federal support of psychiatric education will affect the future of psychiatry as a profession and discipline. Forthcoming legislation and federal health policies will be related to the ability of the profession to demonstrate its unique role in the provision of mental health and health services. The authors offer suggestions for the education of the American public regarding the important role of psychiatry in America's health and mental health care system.
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