American Psychiatric Association Reminds Members of the Goldwater Rule

American Psychiatric Association pic

American Psychiatric Association

Dr. Soon K. Kim serves as the president and CEO of Aurora Behavioral Health Care, which manages hospitals across five states. As part of his larger commitment to the field of behavioral health care, Dr. Soon K. Kim is also a lifetime member of the American Psychiatric Association.

The American Psychiatric Association is made up of more than 37,000 psychiatrists, mental health professionals, and scientists around the world. Its members work together to improve treatments for psychiatric conditions, foster humane care for people living with mental illnesses, and remove barriers to treatment for all patients.

In March 2017, the Association and its ethics committee reaffirmed the importance of the Goldwater Rule, an important ethical guideline for the organization. The Goldwater Rule states that members should refrain from giving professional opinions about the mental health of individuals they have not evaluated firsthand.

This principle has been in place since 1973 and is named for Senator Barry Goldwater. During the presidential elections of 1964, many psychiatrists opined on whether or not Senator Goldwater would be psychologically fit to serve as president. Aside from being unethical, these opinions ultimately led to legal liability for publications that released such statements.

The American Psychiatric Association would like to remind members that giving professional opinions about politicians or other non-patients is a violation of the Goldwater Rule and of other ethical principles.