DAILY / MAY 21, 2013, VOL. 3, NO. 23   Send Feedback l View Online
Psychiatric News Update
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2013 APA's Annual Meeting Special Edition
Mare Winningham Plays Lead in NIDA Addiction Performance Project

Mare WinninghamThe National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) presented its Addiction Performance Project (APP) to an enthusiastic crowd at APA’s 2013 annual meeting. The APP is an educational theater performance presented by NIDAMED, the physicians' outreach initiative of NIDA, designed to give health care providers "the opportunity to help break down the stigma associated with addiction and promote a healthy dialogue that fosters compassion, cooperation, and understanding for patients living with this disease." The project was developed and is produced by Outside the Wire, a “social impact company” that uses theater and a variety of media to address public-health issues, such as combat-related psychological injury, end-of-life care, prison reform, and the destigmatization of the treatment of substance abuse and addiction.

The APP consists of a reading of Act 3 of Eugene O'Neill's four-act Pulitzer prize-winning play "Long Day's Journey Into Night." Brian Doerries, artistic director of Outside the Wire, introduced the largely autobiographical play depicting the struggles of Mary Tyrone, a morphine-addicted mother and wife, and her husband and two adult sons, all three alcoholics. After the reading, Doerries facilitated a lively and heartfelt discussion with the audience and an expert panel composed of NIDA Director Nora Volkow, M.D.; Steven Batki, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco VA Medical Center; Roger Weiss, M.D., of Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital; and former member of Congress Patrick Kennedy.

Actress Mare Winningham read the lead part of Mary Tyrone. Psychiatric News asked Winningham how she became involved: “Some actor friends—including Debra Winger and Elizabeth Marvel—told me about this project, and they all said the same thing: ‘It’s very rewarding and you won’t regret it, and it’s a gift to you.’ ” And even though she had just concluded the performance, Winningham said she could already see what her friends meant: “For us, we perform these roles and go to these emotional places for audiences, and we’re very much within the realm of the piece. But to see it function as a springboard for a conversation within a medical community, a psychiatric community, was really fascinating, satisfying, and invigorating!”




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