Psychiatry Grand Rounds: "Is It Time to Abandon the Goldwater Rule? How Will We Know?" A Panel Discussion Regarding Ethics, Professionalism, Credentialing, and Politics
During Barry Goldwater's presidential bid, FACT magazine published a survey of US psychiatrists - many of whom opined that Goldwater was mentally ill and unfit to serve as president. This led to much controversy about the role of psychiatrists in making public statements about the mental state of public figures. In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association adopted the so-called 'Goldwater Rule' in its ethical guidelines, indicating it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer such a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement. This rule has gained new attention in the wake of public concern about the mental state of the current president and advocacy for psychiatrists to offer their opinions about his fitness for duty. This presentation will offer a discussion of the Goldwater Rule in the context of current ethical principles and professionalism.