CEO of the APA
b. September 5, 1957
“It is our firm stance that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, a position we have maintained since 1973, when homosexuality was rightly removed from the DSM.”
Saul Levin is the first openly gay CEO and medical director of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). He also serves as board chair the APA Foundation and as a clinical professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
A native of South Africa, Levin received his medical degree in 1982 from the University Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He completed his residency in psychiatry at the UC Davis Medical Center and worked as a coordinator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Levin joined the APA in 1987 and served on several committees.
In 1994 Levin earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He founded a health care consulting firm, Access Consulting International, which he led for 10 years.
Levin has served as the president and CEO of medical education for South African Blacks, a U.S-based charity that grants scholarships to black South African students pursuing health care degrees. He has served as vice president for science, medicine, and public health for the American Medical Association and has held numerous other leadership positions in the medical and social equity fields.
In 2012 Mayor Vincent Gray of Washington, D.C., named Levin interim director of the District of Columbia Department of Health. By this time, Levin was widely known to be openly gay.
In 2013 Levin was hired as the CEO and medical director of the APA, the world’s leading psychiatric association. His position as the organization’s top medical executive marks an LGBT milestone. Until 1973 homosexuality was listed in the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders. Treatments for the “disease” included lobotomy, electric shock treatment, chemical castration and other catastrophic therapies.
In 2018 Levin addressed the audience after a performance of “217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous,” an Off-Broadway play about APA member John E. Fryer, M.D., and his role in the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness. Levin praised Dr. Fryer and spoke about the APA’s commitment to LGBT inclusion and equality.