Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, MD (MD ’84) visited his alma mater Sept. 21 to talk with EVMS residents, students and faculty about issues surrounding the care of the mentally ill.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, MD (MD ’84) visited his alma mater Sept. 21 to talk with EVMS residents, students and faculty about issues surrounding the care of the mentally ill.

A child neurologist at CHKD and Assistant Professor of Neurology at EVMS, Dr. Northam chairs the Governor’s Task Force on Improving Mental Health Services and Crisis Response. He spoke with residents and faculty in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences as well as students interested in psychiatry.

The audience, which included representatives of the Psychiatric Society of Virginia, discussed legislative initiatives and challenges, such as providing an adequate number of hospital beds for the mentally ill, tracking where those open beds are and using the beds to benefit the neediest patients.

Dr. Northam said the difficulties illustrate the importance of physician involvement in the legislative process. “If you’re not at the table,” he said, reciting an old adage, “you’re on the menu.”