Council Of Representatives: February 20-22, 2009

Approved Minutes

I. MINUTES OF MEETING

A.(1) Council voted to approve the minutes of its August 13 & 17, 2008, meeting.

II. ELECTIONS, AWARDS, MEMBERSHIP AND HUMAN RESOURCES

A.(2) Council voted to postpone the item, “APA Dues Credit for Members Who Are State, Provincial and Territorial Psychological Association Members” to its February 2010 meeting due to APA’s current financial climate.

B.(3) Council voted to refer the item “Dual Membership Dues Discount Program: Request to Include Society for Neuroscience” to the Policy and Planning Board (P&P).

III. ETHICS

No items.

IV. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

A.(3A) Council participated in a diversity training session on aging that included the following presenters: Gregory Hinrichsen, PhD and Becca Levy, PhD, and Jennifer Manly, PhD.

B.(3B) Council voted to approve the following motions:

1) That the Council of Representatives votes to suspend Association Rule 30-3.1 to stipulate that the petition resolution is “complete” as of the February 2009 meeting and is now APA policy.

2) That the Council of Representatives adopts the following title for the petition resolution to clarify that it is not intended to be applied broadly to jails, detention centers, and psychiatric hospitals: "Psychologists and Unlawful Detention Settings with a Focus on National Security" and requests that the title be incorporated into the minutes, along with the resolution, and that the petition resolution ballot be included as an attachment. 

3) That the Council of Representatives receives the Report of the APA Presidential Advisory Group on the Implementation of the Petition Resolution and forwards the report to APA Central Office and relevant Boards and Committees for their review and appropriate action. The APA Central Office will include in its regular reports to the Council and Board of Directors steps taken to implement the petition resolution as proposed by the advisory group in the report section entitled, “Options for Council to Consider Related to the Implementation of the Petition Resolution.”

Armand Cerbone, PhD, and Michael Wertheimer, PhD, recused themselves from voting on this item.

Psychologists and Unlawful Detention Settings with a Focus on National Security

We the undersigned APA members in good standing, pursuant to article IV.5 of the APA Bylaws, do hereby petition that the following motion be submitted to APA members for their approval or disapproval, by referendum, with all urgency:

Whereas torture is an abhorrent practice in every way contrary to the APA's stated mission of advancing psychology as a science, as a profession, and as a means of promoting human welfare.

Whereas the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Mental Health and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture have determined that treatment equivalent to torture has been taking place at the United States Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. [1]

Whereas this torture took place in the context of interrogations under the direction and supervision of Behavioral Science Consultation Teams (BSCTs) that included psychologists. [2, 3]

Whereas the Council of Europe has determined that persons held in CIA black sites are subject to interrogation techniques that are also equivalent to torture [4], and because psychologists helped develop abusive interrogation techniques used at these sites. [3, 5]

Whereas the International Committee of the Red Cross determined in 2003 that the conditions in the US detention facility in Guantánamo Bay are themselves tantamount to torture [6], and therefore by their presence psychologists are playing a role in maintaining these conditions.

Be it resolved that psychologists may not work in settings where persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law (e.g., the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions) or the US Constitution (where appropriate), unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights[7].

Footnotes

[1] United Nations Commission on Human Rights. (2006). Situation of detainees at Guantánamo Bay. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/16_02_06_un_guantanamo.pdf. The full title of the ‘Special Rapporteur on Mental Health’ is the ‘Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’.

[2] Miles, S. (2007). Medical ethics and the interrogation of Guantanamo 063. The American Journal of Bioethics, 7(4), 5. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://ajobonline.com/journal/j_articles.php?aid=1140

[3] Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense: Review of DoD-Directed Investigations of Detainee Abuse. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dod/abuse.pdf

[4] Council of Europe Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (2007). Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states: second report. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc07/edoc11302.htm

[5] Eban, K. (2007). Rorschach and Awe. Vanity Fair. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/07/torture200707

[6] Lewis, N. A. (2004, November 30). Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantánamo. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/30/politics/30gitmo.html

[7] It is understood that military clinical psychologists would still be available to provide treatment for military personnel.

C. Council voted to approve the use of electronic voting at APA Council meetings beginning with the February 2009 meeting. Council voted to request that Council member names be linked to their voting clickers and that Council member names not be shown on the screens while votes are being cast. It was noted that the software does not make it feasible to include all names on the screen at one time. Clicker numbers will be shown on the screens while votes are being cast. Council will vote at its August meeting on questions related to the publication of individual Council member votes on items.

V. DIVISIONS AND STATE AND PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL ASSOCIATIONS

A.(4) Council voted to approve amending Association Rule 100-1 as follows (bracketed material to be deleted; underlined material to be added):

100-1. REPORTS, LIABILITY INSURANCE, PUBLIC STATEMENTS, CONTRACTS, AND POLITICAL ACTIVITIES

100-1.1 On or about February 1 of each year, Divisions shall submit to the Board of Directors a report that covers the activities of the Division during the preceding year. The report shall be in a format requested by the Recording Secretary.

100-1.2 The annual report of the Division shall cover financial activities (including a copy of the division's annual tax return), membership, elections, special projects undertaken during the year, new committees, new chapters and sections, political advocacy, interorganizational linkages, and such other matters as may be required to present an accurate accounting of the Division's activities during the reporting period.

100-1.3 The Board of Directors shall inform Divisions of activities that appear to be out of compliance with the Bylaws, Association Rules or policies of the Association. Continued failure or refusal to comply with these requirements may constitute good and sufficient reason for the imposition of sanctions, including the dissolution of a Division by the Council of Representatives. The Board shall seek to resolve issues of concern with Divisions on an informal basis before placing the issue on Council's action agenda.

100-1.4 [Every five years, the Board of Directors shall evaluate the reports of each Division, including its chapters and sections, for overall compliance with the Bylaws, Association Rules, and APA policies and report the results of these evaluations to the Council of Representatives.]

100-1.[5] 4 A division of the Association or a subunit of a division may release a position or policy statement on public policy matters in its field in its own name so long as the statement “complies with all relevant association bylaws, rules and current association policies” (APA Bylaws, Article VI.5) and does “not establish or enforce standards for ethics, accreditation, certification, or credentialing of specialty recognition” (APA Bylaws, Article VI .5). If the position or policy statement is intended to establish or could be construed by APA members or the public as establishing a standard or guideline for psychologists or for individuals or organizations that work with psychologists, the provisions of Association Rule 30-8 apply. Unless a division or division subunit obtains approval for a proposed statement on public policy issues from Council, such statements shall contain a disclaimer clause making it clear that the division or subunit is not speaking for the APA or for any other division or unit of the APA. Position or policy statements issued in the name of the APA require prior approval by Council.

When issuing statements on public policy matters in its field, a division or its subunit should contact the Division Services office, which will consult with APA legal counsel and executive directors, to determine if the proposed position or policy statement is in conflict with APA Bylaws, rules or policies and to determine if Rule 30-8 applies. Provided there is no such conflict, the Division Services office, in consultation with APA legal counsel, will determine appropriate disclaimer language to accompany the position or policy statement.

For positions or policy statements to be presented by a division or its subunit in amicus curiae briefs, affidavits or other statements in legal proceedings, the provisions of Rule 100-1.9 apply.

100-1.[6] .5 As stated in Article VI, Section 9 of the APA Bylaws, divisions shall publish journals only with the approval of Council. Proposals for division journal publication go to Council via the Publications and Communications Board. Such journals shall be operated in a manner consistent with APA and Publications and Communications Board policies on division journals.

100-1.[7] 6 APA shall obtain liability insurance for publications of APA and its divisions.

100-1.[8] .7 A Division may execute contracts or negotiate grants with outside entities. Such contracts or grants (with the exception of those for routine, annually recurring events or expenses, e.g., meetings) which provide for payment or receipt by a Division or the Association of funds, goods, services or other value in excess of $10,000 must be submitted to the APA Executive Office for prior legal and financial review. The legal and financial reviews will be conducted in a timely manner.

100-1.[9] .8 A division or other unit of the Association may participate in amicus briefs according to the procedures approved by the Board of Directors. In the event that the Board decides that APA will file an amicus curiae brief in a case, a division or other APA-related entity may not file a separate brief in the same case.

100-1.[10] .9 A division or other unit of the Association may not support, either directly or indirectly, any candidate for federal, state, or local office including contributions or other support to any political action committees.

B.(4A) Council voted to request that the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP) work with Division 31 to review the process of APA business items coming to Council to determine the adequacy of input from state, provincial and territorial associations that will be charged with implementing these decisions, and to develop a proposal for mechanisms by which any issues identified through the review can be addressed.

C.(23D) A new business item “Change in Association Rule 90-6 to clarify role of the Committee on Division/APA Relations (CODAPAR) in the Agenda Planning Group” was referred to CODAPAR, the Committee on Structure and Function of Council and the Board of Professional Affairs (BPA).

VI. ORGANIZATION OF THE APA

A.(5) Council voted to receive the Report of the Task Force on Council Representation and to refer the following recommendation to the Policy and Planning Board to draft relevant Bylaws and Association Rules changes to be presented to Council for approval at its August 2009 meeting:

1) That the APA Bylaws should be amended to ensure all Divisions and SPTA’s have a seat on Council using the proportional allocation system, in the unlikely event that the number of votes allocated to either is insufficient to yield enough seats to seat all Divisions and SPTAs.

Council voted to postpone action on the following recommendation of the Task Force and noted that P&P can consider it in its discussions of the Report of the Task Force on Council Representation.

4) That six seats be added to the current Council resulting in the international units being placed into a different voting unit on Council, outside the “Division/U.S. geographic” pooling system. In the proposed system, the six Canadian Provinces would continue to be full voting members of Council, but would be removed from the apportionment process. Canadian APA members - like all APA members - would receive the 10 vote apportionment ballot, but votes would be apportioned only to APA Divisions and US States, the District of Columbia, and Territories.

B(6) Council voted to approve the following APA Vision Statement:

The American Psychological Association aspires to excel as a valuable, effective and influential organization advancing psychology as a science, serving as :

A uniting force for the discipline;

The major catalyst for the stimulation, growth and dissemination of psychological science and practice;

The primary resource for all psychologists;

The premier innovator in the education, development, and training of psychological scientists, practitioners and educators;

The leading advocate for psychological knowledge and practice informing policy makers and the public to improve public policy and daily living;

A principal leader and global partner promoting psychological knowledge and methods to facilitate the resolution of personal, societal and global challenges in diverse, multicultural and international contexts; and

An effective champion of the application of psychology to promote human rights, health, well being and dignity.

C.(23A) A new business item “Proposal for an American Institute of Psychology” was referred to BPA and the Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA).

D.(39) Council received an update on the new-business-in-progress item “APA’s Tax Status.”

VII. PUBLICATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS

A.(29) Council received an update on Publications and Communications (P&C) Board activities. The P&C Board met twice in 2008, on May 16-18 and October 24-26. The P&C Board reported that sales of the APA Publication Manual reached $6.6 million in 2008. APA Books released the APA Concise Dictionary of Psychology, an abridged version of the APA Dictionary of Psychology in 2008. The APA Dictionary of Psychology, published in 2007, won a prestigious American Library Association Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) award in 2008. APA Journals printed and mailed all 2008 issues in 2008, publishing over 36,000 pages in 52 journals. APA Journals and Division 56 launched a new journal, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. APA Journals and Division 36 launched a new journal, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. The P&C Board made six editorial appointments in 2008, naming the following to 6-year terms to begin in 2009 as the editor-elect year (and 2010 as the beginning masthead year): Psychological Assessment— Cecil R. Reynolds, PhD; Journal of Family Psychology---Nadine Kaslow, PhD; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes---Anthony Dickinson, PhD; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Personality, Processes, and Individual Differences---Laura A. King, PhD; and History of Psychology---Wade Pickren, PhD. In May, the P&C Board opened editorial searches for the following five journals: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology; Developmental Psychology; Psychological Review; Violence: Psychological Theory and Research; and Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. During 2008, PsycINFO added 152,001 new records to the overall database, and expanded coverage by adding 113 journals to the coverage list, bringing the number of journals now covered to 2,452. Since February, 2008, the APA /Akron Archives Project has been scanning all of the psychology books in the public domain held by the Archives of the History of American Psychology (AHAP) and the University of Akron for future use in PsycBOOKS and PsycEXTRA. APA Books released 53 new scholarly titles and nine new Magination Press titles. Total revenue for APA’s core scholarly and professional publishing program exceeded $72 million in 2008. This is the 23 rd straight year of continuing growth in overall revenue.

VIII. CONVENTION AFFAIRS

No items.

IX. EDUCATIONAL AFFAIRS

A.(7) Council voted to approve the following revisions to the Sponsor Approval System Criterion D.1.2. (bracketed material to be deleted; underlined material to be added):

Standard D: Curriculum Content

PRINCIPLE

The content of continuing education is the crucial component of programs intended to maintain, develop, and increase conceptual and applied competencies that are relevant to psychological practice, education, and science. CE programs may include content related to well-established psychological principles, or may be based on content that extends current theory, method, or practice. CE programs may provide information related to ethical, legal, statutory or regulatory policies, guidelines, and standards that impact psychology.

CRITERIA

1. Sponsors must be prepared to demonstrate that information and programs presented are based on a methodological, theoretical, research, or practice knowledge base. This requirement must be met by at least one of the following:

1.1 Program content has obtained credibility, as demonstrated by the involvement of the broader psychological practice, education, and science communities in studying or applying the findings, procedures, practices, or theoretical concepts;

1.2 Program content has been [studied according to] supported using established research procedures [of] and scientific scrutiny [that can be reasonably relied upon].

1.3 Program content has peer reviewed, published support beyond those publications and other types of communications devoted primarily to the promotion of the approach;

1.4 Program content is related to ethical, legal, statutory or regulatory policies, guidelines, and standards that impact psychology.

B.(8) Council voted to receive the Report of the Joint BEA/CIRP Task Force on APA’s Role in International Quality Assurance: APA as a Learning Partner.

C.(9) Council voted to adopt the following resolution as APA policy:

Resolution on Quality Assurance in International Education and Training: APA as a Learning Partner

Whereas psychology as a discipline in the United States has a formal system of quality assurance in professional psychology in its accreditation and licensure standards,

Whereas international colleagues in countries that may not have formal systems of quality assurance for psychology education and training have expressed an interest and desire to develop such systems,

Whereas APA desires to learn from others,

Whereas APA desires to serve as a useful source of information about its own systems,

Whereas international discussions of quality assurance may inform future directions in mobility across national boundaries,

Therefore,

APA will not engage in quality assurance reviews of psychology education and training programs at the international level,

In international education and training arenas APA will strive to be:

  1. A source of information and expertise to work and learn with and from others in the international arena
  2. A collaborator in convening with others around shared goals for policy in quality assurance for psychology
  3. An agent of capacity building about quality assurance in education and training internationally among its own members and with other psychologists around the world
  4. A collaborating organization in developing policies to promote international mechanisms for review of professional credentials.
  5. And APA will strive to:

  6. Use the knowledge gained from collaborations with others to evaluate, enhance, and refine its own efforts in this area.

D.(10) Council voted to approve amending Association Rule 120-2 as follows (bracketed material to be deleted; underlined material to be added):

120-2. COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND TRAINING AWARDS

120-2.1 There shall be a Committee on Education and Training Awards consisting of six members, [two] three to be elected annually for terms of [three] two years.

The committee shall announce the recipients of the awards [at the annual convention] after final approval is given by the APA Board of Directors, and it shall report other matters to Council through the Board of Educational Affairs.

120-2.2 The APA shall award annually (up to) two awards, one for $1,000 for short or long term Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training in psychology and a second award of up to $1,000 for Distinguished Contributions for Applications of Psychology in Education. The intent of the Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training Award is to recognize psychologists who make traditional contributions, who provide innovations, or who are involved in developmental phases of programs that influence education and training in psychology. The intent of the Distinguished Contribution for Applications of Psychology to Education and Training is to recognize psychologists who contribute to new teaching methods or the solution of learning problems through the use of research findings or evidence-based practices. Particular emphasis will be placed on the use of psychological knowledge to improve learning in educational settings, including pre-kindergarten to 12, or communities.

120-2.3 Ineligible for the awards are members serving currently on the committee, former recipients of the awards, and the current APA President and President-elect.

120-2.4 Nominations for these awards shall be solicited in the broadest possible manner, including through announcements in appropriate publications. The committee may also nominate candidates as well as specify which nominees will be carried over to the following year. Additionally, the Committee shall systematically review promising nominations from previous years. Deadlines for receipt of nominations shall be established by the committee each year.

120-2.5 Award recipients shall be invited to the annual convention to receive the awards and to address annual convention attendees in the year following the [receipt of the award] committee’s decision.

E.(11) Council voted to receive the report, Psychology’s Role in Mathematics and Science Education, from the 2007 Presidential Task Force on Mathematics and Science.

F.(30) Council received information regarding BEA’s action on the complaint against the Commission on Accreditation.

G.(31) Council received information on the 2008 National Conference on Undergraduate Education in Psychology.

H.(32) Council received as information an update on the Task Force to Develop an APA Designation Process for Postdoctoral Psychopharmacology Education and Training Programs.

X. PROFESSIONAL AFFAIRS

A.(12) Council voted to adopt as APA policy the Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluation in Family Law Proceedings as amended.

B.(24) Council received an update on the business pending item “Infusing the Association Guidelines in the Public Interest Which Have Been Adopted by Council for Psychologists Throughout APA (#31F).”

C.(25) Council received an update on the business pending item “Ad Hoc Task Force to Investigate the Merits, Needs and Outcomes of an Evidence Based Practice Policy for Applied Psychologists and the Benefits of Collaborating with International Associations Interested in Developing EBP Policy for Applied Psychology (#25F).”

D.(33) Council received as information an update on the Revision of APA’s Model Act for State Licensure of Psychologists.

E.(40) Council received an update on the new-business-in-progress item “Best Practice Guidelines on Prevention, Practice, Research, Training and Social Advocacy for Psychologists.”

F.(41) Council received an update on the new-business-in-progress item “Model Research on the Efficacy of the Prescribing Psychologist.”

G.(42) Council received an update on the new-business-in-progress item “Revision of APA’s Statement on Parental Alienation Syndrome.”

H.(23B) A new business item “Structure and Function of an Interdisciplinary Team for Persons with Acquired Brain Injury” was referred to BPA and the Committee on Legal Issues (COLI).

I.(23C) A new business item “Submission of Revised Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology for Comment, Review and Revision, consistent with APA Rule 30.8” was referred to BPA, BSA, COLI and the Ethics Committee.

XI. SCIENTIFIC AFFAIRS

A.(13) Council voted to receive the Report of the Task Force for Increasing the Number of Quantitative Psychologists.

B.(14) Council voted to approve the following amendments to the Association Rules to establish a continuing Committee on Human Research (underlined material to be added):

140-6 COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RESEARCH

140-6.1 There shall be a Committee on Human Research whose responsibility it shall be to (a) facilitate the conduct of and training in scientifically and ethically responsible research involving humans, and establish and maintain cooperative relations with organizations sharing common interests, (b) examine issues related to the ethics of and regulatory requirements for research involving humans and disseminate accurate information about such research, and (c) develop and disseminate guidelines for protecting the rights and welfare of humans involved in research, and consult on the implementation of these guidelines.

The Committee shall consist of seven members elected by the Board of Scientific Affairs. Each year, two members will be elected for a term of three years; the seventh member will be elected from a slate developed jointly by the Board of Scientific Affairs and the Ethics Committee, and will also serve a term of three years. The Committee shall report to Council through the Board of Scientific Affairs.

50-5. LIST OF CONTINUING COMMITTEES

50-5.1 The list below presents APA continuing committees and their reporting lines.

(relevant section only included)

Reporting through the Board of Scientific Affairs
Animal Research and Ethics
Human Research
Psychological Tests and Assessment
Scientific Awards

110-14. RULES GOVERNING SIMULTANEOUS SERVICE ON BOARDS AND COMMITTEES

110-14.1 Members shall not serve simultaneously on any of the following governance groups, except as ex-officio (non-voting) members or if other exceptions are provided below.

Boards
Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest
Convention Affairs
Educational Affairs
Membership
Policy and Planning
Publications and Communications
Professional Affairs (except that one member is also a member of the Committee on Professional Practice and Standards)
Scientific Affairs

Committees
Advancement of Professional Practice
Aging
Animal Research and Ethics
Children, Youth and Families
Continuing Education
Disability Issues in Psychology
Division/APA Relations
Early Career Psychologists
Ethics
Ethnic Minority Affairs
Fellows
Finance
Human Research
International Relations in Psychology
Legal Issues (ad hoc)
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns
Professional Practice and Standards (except that one member is also a member of the Board of Professional Affairs)
Psychology and AIDS (ad hoc)
Rural Health
Socioeconomic Status
Structure and Function of Council
Psychological Tests and Assessment
Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges
Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools
Women in Psychology

Other
Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology Commission on Accreditation

XII. PUBLIC INTEREST

A.(15) Council voted to adopt the following resolution as APA policy:  

APA Resolution on Promotion of Healthy Active Lifestyles and Prevention of Obesity and Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors in Children and Youth

WHEREAS significant numbers of children and youth between 2 and 19 years of age are considered obese and obesity disproportionately affects low income and minority children and youth (Ogden, Carroll, Curtin, McDowell, Tabl, & Flegall, 2006; Ogden, Carroll, & Flegall, 2008)

WHEREAS racial and ethnic minority children and youth raised in poor neighborhoods are at greater risk for obesity, eat fewer fruits and vegetables, and less likely to engage in physically active lifestyles (Delva, Johnston, & O’Malley, 2007; Neumark-Sztainer, Wall, Perry, & Story, 2003)

WHEREAS obesity is embedded in a socio-cultural context influenced by eating habits, access to healthy affordable foods, the physical and built environment (e.g., sidewalks), and access to safe environments for physical activity (Baker, Schootman, Barnidge, & Kelly, 2006; Schwartz & Brownell, 2007)

WHEREAS second and third generation children of immigrant parents are at increased risk for obesity (Popkin & Udry, 1998) and the socio-economic contexts of parental acculturation may play a role in access to healthy foods (Mazur, Marquis, & Jensen, 2003)

WHEREAS there are significant disparities in physical environments that support active lifestyles (e.g., access to parks and recreation centers) (Kumanyika et al., 2007), healthier foods including fresh fruits and vegetables are more difficult to purchase in low income neighborhoods (Yancey & Kumanyika, 2007), and inequities in access to health care may translate into less access (The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, 2007) to counseling about healthy lifestyles and behavioral changes to prevent obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors (e.g., fasting; skipping meals; eating very little food; vomiting; using diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics) (The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, 2007)

WHEREAS more resources need to be directed to culturally centered prevention efforts for childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors (Bernal & Saez-Santiago, 2006; Black & Young-Hyman, 2007; Kumanyika et al., 2007)

WHEREAS obesity in childhood places children and youth at risk for becoming obese as adults and associated poor health such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer (Serdula, Ivery, Coates, Freedman, Williamson, &Byers, 1993; Whitaker, Wright, Pepe, Seidel, & Deitz, 1997) and prevention efforts should be aimed at reducing excess weight gain throughout childhood (Pratt, Stevens, & Daniels, 2008)

WHEREAS it is reported that 54 million people in the United States, or roughly 21 percent of the population, has some level of disability (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) effective strategies for reducing the risk of overweight/obesity in adolescents with disabilities must begin with greater awareness of the behavioral and environmental antecedents that lead to higher rates of obesity in this underserved segment of the youth population (Rimmer, Rowland, Yamaki, 2007)

WHEREAS to promote active lifestyles children, youth, and families need access to safe spaces for physical activities, access to a variety of foods, and opportunities for physical activity regardless of physical ability (Sallis & Glanz, 2006).

WHEREAS youth who are obese engage in both binge eating and unhealthy weight control behaviors more often than their non overweight peers (Neumark-Sztainer Wall, Haines, Story, Sherwood, & van den Berg, 2007)

WHEREAS binge eating and unhealthy weight control behaviors are prevalent among youth across ethnic/racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, indicating a need to ensure that the specific needs of different groups are addressed in the development of prevention efforts (Neumark-Sztainer, Croll, Story, Hannan, French, & Perry, 2002)

WHEREAS children spend a significant portion of their day in schools and physical activity at school or with family members has been associated with better academic performance (Carlson et al., 2008; Castelli, Hillman, Buck, & Erwin, 2007).

WHEREAS effective partnerships with day care settings, preschools, schools and the broader community are essential in promoting healthy and active lifestyles for children and youth (Schwartz & Brownell, 2007).

WHEREAS poor nutrition habits, lack of regular physical activity, and unmonitored television viewing is associated with obesity in children and youth (Anderson & Butcher, 2006)

WHEREAS experts have linked the increase of childhood obesity to targeted marketing and advertising to children and youth (Kunkel, Wilcox, Cantor, Palmer, Linn, & Dowrick, 2004)

WHEREAS marketing and advertising aimed at objectifying girls and women may contribute to body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, low self esteem, and depressive affect (Zurbriggen, Collins, Lamb, Roberts, Tolman, Ward, et al., 2007)

WHEREAS weight bias may marginalize children and youth considered obese by their peers and teachers and place them at risk for teasing and bullying (Puhl & Latner, 2007)

WHEREAS body dissatisfaction and weight related concerns extend across ethnic groups and weight related stigma has been found to co-occur with depression, low self esteem, and suicidal thought (Ackard, Neumark-Sztainer, Story, & Perry, 2003; Davison & Birch, 2002; Neumark-Sztainer, Croll, Story, Hannan, French, & Perry, 2002)

WHEREAS active healthy lifestyles including moderate television viewing (Gable, Chung, & Krull, 2007), regular family mealtimes (Fulkerson, Strauss, Neumark-Sztainer, Story, & Boutelle, 2007), and regular exercise (Ekeland, Heian, & Hagan, 2005) are associated with physical and mental health in children and youth

WHEREAS changes in family eating patterns outside the home, family mealtime behaviors, and family food choice practices are associated with improved nutrition habits and healthy weight (Jacobs & Fiese, 2007; Kremers, Brug, deVries, & Engels, 2003; Taveras et al., 2005)

WHEREAS the development of obesity is influenced by genetic, metabolic and physiological factors, there are environmental, behavioral, and societal factors that can be the focus of prevention efforts, especially in children and youth (Brownell & Horgen, 2004)

Whereas research on psychological treatments for obesity and overweight prevention has been extensive and growing in establishing an evidence base foundation for effectiveness and implementation (Jelalian & Steele, 2008).

Whereas professional psychologists are often well-suited to implement psychology based preventive interventions in schools, primary-care, community organizations, and other practice-settings (Jelalian & Steele, 2008).

Whereas psychology training programs are important to developing professional psychologists to implement treatments and preventive interventions as well as prepare the next generation of clinical researchers in the promotion of healthy active lifestyles for youth and their families.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association encourage the promotion and support of evidence-based, including practice based, preventive interventions that focus on effective weight management for children and youth that are culturally relevant, encourage behavioral and psychosocial research and policy attention to the promotion of healthy active lifestyles and prevention of childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors in children and youth in the following targeted areas of behavioral science:

  • Socio-economic conditions that influence active lifestyles and effectively prevent obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors in children and youth
  • Cultural and economic context of food choice, exercise, and diet for children, youth, and families
  • Promotion of physically active lifestyles in low income neighborhoods and rural communities
  • Prevention of obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors in children and adolescents with disabilities
  • Culturally sensitive community, school, and family based prevention efforts for childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors
  • Effects of targeted food advertising to children and youth
  • Stigma and weight bias as barriers in participating in healthy active lifestyles and preventing obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors
  • Reduction of weight related bias and teasing and initiatives to mediate long-term consequences of such bias
  • Community, school, and work settings that promote active lifestyles and support families in preventing childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors
  • Family school partnerships to promote adequate time and resources for exercise and healthier diets in schools
  • Education and support programs for families to practice healthy family mealtimes and engage in active lifestyles
  • Initiatives that effectively help individuals maintain healthy eating and physically active lifestyles
  • Promotion of healthy body image in children and youth
  • Interventions that prevent obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors while also maintaining positive body image
  • Support effective partnerships among day care settings, preschools, schools, families, and communities to promote healthy active lifestyles

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA work with funders, government agencies, American Indian/Alaskan Native Tribes and leaders, and other professional organizations to increase the priority given to support healthy active lifestyles for families and the prevention of childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA devote efforts in all levels of psychology education and training, to promote awareness and knowledge of psychologists and the general public regarding obesity, unhealthy weight control behaviors, and healthy active lifestyles for children and youth.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA’s government relations office be encouraged to pursue legislative opportunities aimed at encouraging healthy active lifestyles for families, preventing childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors, promoting positive body image, and reducing weight related bias and teasing for children and their families

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration among psychologists, pediatricians, nutritionists, educators and public health professionals to create a roadmap of prevention of childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors in children and youth and to set a national agenda for behaviors that lead to healthy eating and active family lifestyles

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA stress that childhood obesity and the use of unhealthy weight control behaviors in children and youth is a national public health concern embedded in a cultural and economic context with behavioral solutions that affects many sectors of society.

References

Ackard, D. M., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M., & Perry, C. (2003). Overeating among adolescents: Prevalence and associations with weight-related characteristics and psychological health. Pediatrics, 111, 67-74.

Anderson, P. M., & Butcher, K. F. (2006). Childhood obesity: Trends and potential causes. Future of Children, 16, 19-46.

Baker, E. A., Schootman, M., Barnidge, E., & Kelly, C. (2006). The role of race and poverty in access to food that enable individuals to adhere to dietary guidelines. Preventing Chronic Disease, 3, 1-11.

Bernal, G., & Saez-Santiago, E. (2006). Culturally centered psychosocial interventions. Journal of Community Psychology, 34, 121-132.

Black, M. M., & Young-Hyman, D. (2007). Introduction to the special issue: Pediatric overweight. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32, 1-5.

Brownell, K. D., & Horgen, K. B. (2004). Food Fight: The Inside Story of the Food Industry, America's Obesity Crisis, and What We Can Do About It. New York: McGraw Hill.

Carlson, S. A., Fulton, J. E., Lee, S. M., et al., (2008). Physical education and academic achievement in elementary school: Data from the early childhood longitudinal study. American Journal of Public Health, 98, 721-727.

Castelli, D., Hillman, S. M., Buck, S. M., & Erwin, H. E. (2007). Physical fitness and academic achievement in third- and fifth-grade students. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 29, 239-252.

Delva, J., Johnston, L, & O'Malley, P. M. (2007) The epidemiology of overweight and related lifestyle behaviors. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33, S178-S186. 2007.

Davison, K. K., & Birch, L. L. (2002). Processes linking weight status and self concept among girls form ages 5 to 7 years. Developmental Psychology, 38, 735-748.

Ekeland, E., Heian, F., Hagen, K. B. (2005). Can exercise improve self esteem in children and young people? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. British Journal Sports Medicine, 39, 792-798.

Fulkerson, J. A., Strauss, J., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M., & Boutelle, K. (2007). Correlates of psychosocial well-being among overweight adolescents: The role of the family. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 181-186.

Gable, S., Chang, Y., & Krull, J. (2007). Television watching and frequency of family meals are predictive of overweight onset and persistence in a national sample of school-aged children. Journal of American Dietetics Association, 107, 53-61.

Jacobs, M. P., & Fiese, B. H. (2007). Family mealtime interactions and overweight children with asthma: Potential for compounded risks? Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32, 64-68.

Jelalian, E., & Steele, R.G. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook Of Childhood And Adolescent Obesity. New York: Springer.

Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2007). Key Facts: Race, Ethnicity, and Medical Care. Washington DC: The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation.

Kremers, S. P., Brug, J., deVries, H., & Engels, R. C. (2003). Parenting style and adolescent fruit consumption. Appetite (41), 43-50.

Kumanyika, S. K., Whitt-Glover, M. C., Gary, T. L., Prewitt, T. E., Odoms-Young, A. M., Banks-Wallace, J., et al. (2007). Expanding the obesity research paradigm to reach African American communities. Preventing Chronic Disease, 4, 1-12.

Kunkel, D., Wilcox, B. L., Cantor, J., Palmer, E., Linn, S., & Dowrick, P. (2004). Report of the APA Task Force on Advertising and Children. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Mazur, R. E., Marquis, G. S., & Jensen, H. H. (2003). Diet and food insufficiency among Hispanic youths: Acculturation and socioeconomic factors in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, American Journal Clinical Nutrition, 78, 1120-1127.

Neumark-Sztainer, D., Croll, J., Story, M., Hannan, P. J., French, S. A., & Perry, C. (2002). Ethnic/racial differences in weight-related concerns and behaviors among adolescent girls and boys: Findings from Project EAT. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 53, 963-974.

Neumark-Sztainer, D., Wall, M., Haines, J., Story, M., Sherwood, N. E., & van den Berg, P. A. (2007). Shared risk and protective factors for overweight and disordered eating in adolescents. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33, 359-369.

Neumark-Sztainer, D., Wall, M., Perry, C., & Story, M. (2003). Correlates of fruit and vegetable intake among adolescents: Findings from Project EAT. Preventive Medicine, 37, 198-208.

Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Curtin, L. R., McDowell, M. A., Tabak, C. J., & Flegal, K. M. (2006). Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States, 1999-2004. JAMA 295, 1549-1555.

Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., & Flegal, K. M. (2008). High body mass index for age among US children and adolescents, 2003-2006. JAMA, 299, 2401-2405.

Popkin, B. M., & Udry, J. R. (1998). Adolescent obesity increases significantly in second and third generation U. S. immigrants: The national longitudinal study of adolescent health. Journal of Nutrition, 128, 701-706.

Pratt, C. A., Stevens, J., & Daniels, S. (2008). Childhood obesity prevention and treatment recommendations for future research. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 35, 249-252.

Puhl, R. M., & Latner, J. D. (2007). Stigma, obesity, and the health of the nation's children. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 557-580.

Rimmer, J.H., Rowland, J.L., Yamaki, K. (2007). Obesity and Secondary Conditions in Adolescents with Disabilities: Addressing the Needs of an Underserved Population. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41 (3), 224 – 229.

Sallis, J. F., & Glanz, K. (2006). The role of built environments in physical activity, eating, and obesity in childhood. The Future of Children: Childhood Obesity, 16, 89-108.

Serdula, M. K.D., Ivery, R. J., Coates, D. S., Freedman, D.F., Williamson, D. F., & Byers, T. (1993). Do obese children become obese adults?: A review of the literature. Preventive Medicin, 22, 167-177.

Schwartz, M. B., & Brownell, K. D. (2007). Actions necessary to prevent childhood obesity: Creating the climate for change. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 35, 78-89.

Taveras, E. M., Rifas-Shiman, S. L., Berkey, C. S., Rockett, H. R. H., Field, A. E., Frazier, A. L., et al. (2005). Family dinner and adolescent overweight. Obesity Research, 13, 900-906.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2000). Census 2000 summary file (SF 3) - Sample data. Retrieved August 22, 2006, from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/QTTableSF3_U_QTP21&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U

Yancey, A. K. & Kumanyika, S. K. (2007). Bridging the gap: Understanding the structure of social inequalities in childhood obesity. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33, (no 4S): S172-S174.

Whitaker, R. C., Wright, J. A., Pepe, M. S., Seidel, K. D., & Deitz, W. H. (1997). Predicting obesity in young adulthood from childhood and parental obesity. New England Journal of Medicine, 37, 869-873.

Zurbriggen, E. L., Collins, R. L., Lamb, S., Roberts, T., Tolman, D. L., Ward, L. M., et al. (2007). Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.

B.(16) Council voted to adopt as APA policy the following Resolution in Support of Ethnic Minority Training in Psychology:

Resolution in Support of Ethnic Minority Training in Psychology

WHEREAS research and services training in psychology and the biomedical and behavioral sciences are a fundamental component of the overall Science and professional practice enterprises;

WHEREAS a reduction of funds for research and services training in psychology and the behavioral and biomedical sciences will adversely impact the nation’s training pipeline and infrastructure for research and professional practice, and thereby reduce the nation’s capacity to generate new knowledge and provide needed mental and behavioral health sciences;

WHEREAS ethnic minorities (i.e., persons of African, Asian, Hispanic/Latino/a, American Indian, Pacific Islander and Native Alaskan descent-nations) currently comprise approximately 33% of the nation’s population, with an expected increase to more than 50% by 2060 (National Center for Health Statistics, 2004);

WHEREAS it is broadly acknowledged that within the U.S. significant racial/ethnic disparities exist in health status and treatment; and, in response, the U.S. Congress and Surgeon General directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to have all of its institutes develop action plans related to the elimination of such health disparities (Bret & Hays, 2004; Shavers & Shavers, 2006; Smedley, Stith & Nelson, 2003);

WHEREAS, there is an underrepresentation of ethnic minority researchers such that in 1999 only 14% of all NIH research grant awards and 10% of all NIMH research grant awards went to ethnic minority researchers, and only 23% and 41% respectively of these were awarded to persons of African, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian or Alaskan Native descent; there also is a similar underrepresentation of ethnic minorities among providers of substance abuse and mental health services;

WHEREAS in 1993, the Association declared by resolution that “APA places a high priority on issues related to the education of ethnic minorities…including planning appropriately diverse curricula, promoting psychology as a course of study and career option as well as recruitment, retention, advising and mentoring of minority students at all levels of education”;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Association affirms its support for training programs in psychology across the educational pipeline (i.e., high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral studies) that seek to prepare ethnic minorities for behavioral, social sciences, and biomedical research careers and behavioral and mental health services careers that address the needs of the nation’s increasing racial and ethnic diverse populations;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA will maintain and strengthen, as resources become available, its advocacy efforts targeted to (a) the U.S. Congress, (b) major federal research agencies, (c) major federal behavioral/mental health services agencies, (d) other federal agencies engaged in support of behavioral/mental health research and services training, and (e) other public and private entities that support behavioral/mental health research and services.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that such advocacy efforts will include but not be limited to the following objectives: (a) to increase public and private investment in training programs, across the educational pipeline, that seek to prepare ethnic minorities and others for research and services careers that address the needs of the nation’s racial and ethnic diverse populations; (b) to oppose reductions in the allocations, appropriations or budgets for such training programs; and (c) to ensure, whenever feasible, that psychology is recognized as an eligible discipline for funding applications for such training programs.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, as resources become available, the Association increase its workforce research and data collection efforts related to both the characteristics and outcomes of ethnic minority training programs in behavioral/mental health research and services, as well as the changing priorities, activities and funding of program offices of those federal agencies and major foundations that fund such programs.

References:

Brett, K.M., Hayes, S.G. (2004). Women’s health and mortality chartbook. Washington, DC: DHHS Office on Women’s Health. Retrieved October 9, 2006, from http:/www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/healthywomen/coverplus.pdf

National Center for Health Statistics. (2004). Health, United States, 2004 with Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Shavers, V. L., & Shavers, B. S. (2006). Racism and health inequity among Americans. Journal of the National Medical Association, 98, 386-396.

Smedley, B. D., Stith, A.Y., & Nelson, A. R. (Eds.). (2003). Unequal treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2005, December). 2005 national healthcare disparities report. Rockville, MD: Author.

C.(17) Council voted to receive the Final Report of the Division 19 and Division 44 Joint Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Military Service.

D.(18) Council voted to approve the withdrawal of Council New Business item #33A: Amendment to Call to Shut Down the Illegal Prison at Guantanamo Bay and All Other Facilities for “Enemy Combatants.”

E.(26) Council received an update on the business pending item “Proposed Resolution on Families of Incarcerated Offenders (#32D).”

F.(27) Council received an update on the business pending item “Emancipating and Rehabilitating Enslaved Persons and Prevention of Future Slavery (#25C).”

G.(28) Council received an update on the business pending item “APA Resolution to Promote Well-Being and Alleviate Psychological Risk Factors for Immigrants (#32D).”

H.(43) Council received an update on the new-business-in-progress item “Value Neutral Language for End-of-Life Choices.”

XIII. ETHNIC MINORITY AFFAIRS

A.(34) Council received as information an Update on the Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention and Training Grants: FY 1999-2008.

XIV. INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

No items.

XV. CENTRAL OFFICE

A.(35) Council received as information the 2008 Report on Environmental Issues.

XVI. FINANCIAL AFFAIRS

A.(19) Council received the 2008 year-end probable deficit of $3,422,700 and voted to approve the 2009 Final Budget surplus of $309,400 (after recognition of the $3.5M cash flow from the buildings) with the understanding that management will carefully monitor APA revenues and will make expense adjustments as necessary to avoid a deficit and will keep the Council notified of such changes.

B.(20) Council voted to approve the following amendment to Association Rule 210-1.1 (bracketed material to be deleted; underlined material to be added):

210-1.1 The Finance Committee shall be composed of seven voting members and up to three non-voting members. Of the voting members, two shall be elected each year for terms of three years; one slate shall be limited to first-year and/or second-year members of Council and the second slate shall be limited to first-year and/or second year Council members or former or outgoing members of the Finance Committee. No member may serve more than two consecutive terms. The seventh voting member of the Committee is the APA Treasurer, who shall serve as its Chair. The non-voting members shall be representatives from the investment community and are not necessarily psychologists. The non-voting members will be recommended by the Finance Committee and appointed by the Board of Directors for terms of three years [not to exceed three consecutive terms] which may be renewed at the discretion of the Board.

C.(21) Council voted to approve suspending the annual CPI increase for the Board honoraria in 2009 and requested that the 2009 honoraria for all Board members remain at the 2008 levels.

D.(22) In executive session, Council discussed the item “Report of Employee Contracts and Staff Compensation.”

E.(36) Council was informed of an amendment to the APA and APA 750 LLC’s loan and interest swap documents related to the refinance in May of 2008.

F.(37) Council received as information the minutes of the December 5 & 6, 2008, Finance Committee Meeting.

G.(38) Council received as information the 2007 IRS Tax Form 990.

During lunch on Friday, Jay Younger, of McKinley Marketing, presented data from the Strategic Planning Survey.

On Friday afternoon, Council participated in breakout groups on strategic planning that included an exercise regarding APA’s strategic goals.

On Saturday afternoon, President James Bray led a discussion regarding the APA convention.

On Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, Council met in Executive Session to receive the Recording Secretary’s annual report regarding the CEO performance evaluation, the Treasurer’s annual report regarding CEO compensation, and to discuss with APA General Counsel the confidential portion of her Litigation Report to Council.  

On Sunday morning, Dorothy Cantor, PsyD, gave a brief update on the American Psychological

Foundation.


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Attachment

M E M O R A N D U M

To: Fellows, Members, and Voting Associates

From: Barry S. Anton, PhD, Recording Secretary

Subject: 2008 APA Petition Resolution Ballot

Date: August 1, 2008

The APA Bylaws state that upon petition of 1% of the membership, a request for a mail vote of the voting Members of the Association on any subject will be held as long as the petition is not an attempt to amend the Bylaws and is not inconsistent with the Association’s Certificate of Incorporation or the Bylaws.

In early June, APA received such a petition with the required number of signatures of Members (full Members in good standing) concerning the issue of whether psychologists may work in certain settings that involve the detention of individuals.

This ballot mailing includes the full text of the petition statement and pro/con statements and rebuttals. The deadline for returning ballots is close of business, September 15, 2008.

A majority of those voting will determine the outcome of the balloting.

Please return the ballot in the enclosed envelope to:

American Psychological Association
c/o Intelliscan, Inc.
P.O. Box 743
Phoenixville , PA 19460-0743

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PETITION RESOLUTION

We the undersigned APA members in good standing, pursuant to article IV.5 of the APA bylaws, do hereby petition that the following motion be submitted to APA members for their approval or disapproval, by referendum, with all urgency:

Whereas torture is an abhorrent practice in every way contrary to the APA's stated mission of advancing psychology as a science, as a profession, and as a means of promoting human welfare.

Whereas the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Mental Health and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture have determined that treatment equivalent to torture has been taking place at the United States Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. [1]

Whereas this torture took place in the context of interrogations under the direction and supervision of Behavioral Science Consultation Teams (BSCTs) that included psychologists. [2, 3]

Whereas the Council of Europe has determined that persons held in CIA black sites are subject to interrogation techniques that are also equivalent to torture [4], and because psychologists helped develop abusive interrogation techniques used at these sites. [3, 5]

Whereas the International Committee of the Red Cross determined in 2003 that the conditions in the US detention facility in Guantánamo Bay are themselves tantamount to torture [6], and therefore by their presence psychologists are playing a role in maintaining these conditions.

Be it resolved that psychologists may not work in settings where persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law (e.g., the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions) or the US Constitution (where appropriate), unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights[7].

Footnotes

[1] United Nations Commission on Human Rights. (2006). Situation of detainees at Guantánamo Bay. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/16_02_06_un_guantanamo.pdf The full title of the ‘Special Rapporteur on Mental Health’ is the ‘Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’.

[2] Miles, S. (2007). Medical ethics and the interrogation of Guantanamo 063. The American Journal of Bioethics, 7(4), 5. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://ajobonline.com/journal/j_articles.php?aid=1140

[3] Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense: Review of DoD-Directed Investigations of Detainee Abuse. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dod/abuse.pdf

[4] Council of Europe Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (2007). Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states: second report. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://assembly.coe.int//Main.asp?link=http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc07/edoc 11302.htm

[5] Eban, K. (2007). Rorschach and Awe. Vanity Fair. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/07/torture200707

[6] Lewis, N. A. (2004, November 30). Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantánamo. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/30/politics/30gitmo.html

[7] It is understood that military clinical psychologists would still be available to provide treatment for military personnel.

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PRO STATEMENT

Brad Olson, PhD

As psychologists, our first ethical principle is to do no harm; yet substantial documentation reveals that American psychologists have systematically designed and participated in interrogations that amount to torture. In addition, they have helped to legitimize cruel and abusive treatment in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the CIA blacksites.

Responding to these revelations, the APA has passed several resolutions barring psychologists from participating in torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. These resolutions, however, are insufficient as they do not address the critical role that psychologists play in perpetuating harmful interrogation strategies and in maintaining conditions that the International Committee of the Red Cross has labeled “tantamount to torture.”

These concerns, which have propelled over a thousand APA psychologists to bring this referendum to the membership, are not hypothetical. Psychologists, as “consultants”, have been active in interrogations that have brought about extreme forms of torture. In at least one of these cases, the psychologist advocated for an escalation to even more extreme 'enhanced interrogation techniques.'

Psychologists have also played a critical role in this administration's legal defense of torture. Justice Department lawyers have argued that torture can only take place if the perpetrator intends to cause 'prolonged mental harm' which, in turn, is measured by a subsequent diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychologists instead routinely provide diagnoses other than posttraumatic stress disorder, thus giving the illusion of safety and legal cover in otherwise objective instances of “torture”. Moreover, psychologists play a role in maintaining the conditions of detention, for instance, by removing “comfort items” such as toilet paper, toothpaste, and soap.

In settings that fail to meet basic standards of international law, it is unrealistic to rely on psychologists to challenge their superiors, report on violations, and protect abused detainees. We know, from decades of psychological research, that good people do bad things in bad situations. Psychologists are no less vulnerable to “behavioral drift” than others, particularly when subject to the chain of command in the closed environment of a geographically isolated detention center.

We do believe that psychologists working independently, and outside of the institution’s chain of command, can and should be available to detainees, through NGOs such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. In abusive settings, clinicians working in the chain of command cannot know whether they are helping detainees recover only to return them to more abusive interrogations; and detainees cannot gauge whether the information being gathered by the clinician will be used against them—as has been documented on several occasions. Instead, the proposed referendum policy places psychology and psychologists squarely on the side of the most vulnerable.

Some APA psychologists have argued that the presence of psychologists in these settings protects the detainee from abuse. Yet, in the six years since captives began arriving at Guantanamo, there have been few documented cases of psychologists speaking up on the behalf of detainees. There is significant evidence of many more cases of silence. While we commend anyone who has acted heroically, a reliance on individual heroism is an unsound basis for policy.

We stress that the referendum does not exclude any psychologist from working in any settings where international law and human rights are fundamentally upheld. Imperfect as our U.S. domestic justice system may be, people held within the present system have basic legal protections, including the right to know the charges against them, meet with an attorney, receive family visits and, most importantly, to be free of torture. This is in sharp contrast to the individuals gathered up and illegally taken to CIA blacksites. For the past 60 years, international law has held professionals responsible for upholding basic human rights. This referendum would thus protect psychologists from risk of future prosecutions.

Your vote in favor of the referendum will increase the independence of psychologists and protect the reputation of our discipline. The policy puts psychology and psychologists on the side of those who are the most vulnerable to mental harm. On behalf of Psychologists for an Ethical APA and all the APA members who have petitioned for this referendum, we strongly encourage you to research this topic through books, websites and articles, and to vote “yes” -- to support human rights and to restore the integrity of American psychology.

CON STATEMENT

Robert J. Resnick, PhD

This Overbroad Petition Will Harm Vulnerable Populations and Put Ethical Psychologists at Risk

  1. This petition seeks to prohibit APA member psychologists from working in settings that are inconsistent with international law and/or the US Constitution. The petition’s “Be It Resolved” clause sets forth this prohibition even though a psychologist may adhere to all APA ethical standards, and despite the difficulty in determining whether a particular site meets the petition’s ambiguous criteria.

  2. The petition thus threatens to restrict the scope of practice for psychologists whose work in psychiatric hospitals, US correctional facilities, and countless other settings serves the public good each day.

  3. The petition is unnecessary given APA’s strongly worded Council resolutions against torture and concerted federal advocacy directed at the Bush administration and Congress.

  4. The unintended consequences arising from a resolution prohibiting locations of employment rather than unethical behavior make this petition impossible for us to support . Many psychologists are employed in settings where constitutional challenges arise. Such settings include jails, prisons, psychiatric hospitals and emergency rooms, and forensic units. Likewise, many psychologists work in settings that could be considered inconsistent with international standards, for example, settings where the death penalty may be administered. The “Be It Resolved” clause potentially affects thousands of APA members.

  5. While APA is clear that the petition, if adopted, is not enforceable, allegations that a psychologist was violating APA policy could arise in multiple venues (civil court; a licensing board; state psychological association, hospital, and other professional organizations’ ethics committees). Especially given the petition’s ambiguity regarding whether international standards and/or the US Constitution apply in a given instance, the petition places APA members doing good and ethical work in an untenable position of uncertainty regarding whether their practice is consistent with APA policy.

  6. The clause “unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights” would prevent psychologists in a prohibited setting from providing services to a person in psychological distress, since in most all settings psychologists work for the institution and not for the individual being held. Unlike the Ethics Code, the petition does not provide a way to resolve this ethical dilemma, i.e., between a prohibition from providing services and the need for services. (See e.g., Ethical Standard 2.02, Providing Services in Emergencies, allowing psychologists without the necessary training to provide services in emergent situations when other services are not available.) A psychologist who, in all good faith, assisted an individual in distress could nonetheless be in violation of APA policy.

  7. The sponsors’ good and noble intentions notwithstanding, for over two decades APA has held that torture is unethical and always prohibited. Five APA resolutions provide clear, explicit condemnations of torture. The last sentence of the 2008 resolution states: Psychologists are absolutely prohibited from knowingly planning, designing, participating or assisting in the use of all condemned techniques [Note: nearly two dozen techniques are enumerated] at any time and may not enlist others to employ these techniques in order to circumvent this resolution’s prohibition. APA has stated emphatically: Following orders is never a defense to torture.

  8. In August, 2007, the APA Council passed one of several resolutions condemning torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and punishment. Council expressed “grave concern over settings in which detainees are deprived of adequate protection of their human rights” and “affirmed the prerogative of psychologists to refuse to work in such settings.” Council noted that “APA will explore ways to support psychologists who refuse to work in such settings or who refuse to obey orders that constitute torture.” APA has called upon US courts to reject testimony resulting from torture or abuse.

  9. APA has strongly and unequivocally condemned the abuse of detainees in letters to President Bush, Attorney General Mukasey, CIA Director Hayden, and members of Congress, and in articles in the media, and has urged the establishment of policies and procedures that fully protect the human rights of detainees, including judicial review of their detentions.

  10. The petition seeks to prevent psychologists from working where the federal, state, or local government is acting wrongly. The precedent-setting nature of this petition, which restricts the settings in which psychologists may work, raises insurmountable concerns. A highly unfortunate side effect of the petition will be to place at risk APA members who serve vulnerable populations and behave in legal, ethical, and entirely moral ways. This petition harms the very groups it seeks to protect: Vulnerable populations and ethical psychologists.

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REBUTTAL TO THE PRO STATEMENT

Robert J. Resnick, PhD

As psychologists, we are dedicated to serving vulnerable and at risk individuals and populations. Were this petition adopted, APA members who work in hospitals, correctional facilities, and rehabilitation programs across the country would now need to assess whether they are out of compliance with APA policy. This burden will neither promote ethical practice nor protect vulnerable populations.

The petition’s “Be it resolved” clause goes far beyond the sponsors’ intent as expressed in their “pro” statement. While the petition’s introductory “Whereas” clauses refer to specific work sites, the “Be it resolved” clause contains no limiting language whatsoever regarding context. The clause makes no reference to interrogations, torture, the military, or the CIA, and thus applies broadly to wherever “persons are held” outside of international law or the US Constitution. This exclusive focus on settings makes little sense given the “pro” statement’s emphasis on specific unethical behaviors—all of which APA has already prohibited.

The ambiguous criteria for distinguishing permissible from impermissible work settings compound this problem for ethical psychologists. The “Be it resolved” clause indicates the defining criteria are either international law or the US Constitution “where appropriate”—yet fails to indicate when using the Constitution, as opposed to international law, is “appropriate.” APA members cannot reasonably be expected to determine whether their work setting complies with ill-defined, legal standards.

Moreover, much institutional reform in this country has been brought about by claims of Constitutional violations. It would be a bitter irony if psychologists who support reform now risk violating APA policy because they work in a setting, such as a hospital or a prison, alleged to violate the Constitution. Such an outcome would hardly benefit vulnerable populations or psychology.

Their humanitarian intentions notwithstanding, the sponsors’ goals cannot be reconciled with the petition’s language. The “pro” statement argument, that the petition will “protect” psychologists, dangerously assumes that APA policy will be understood and applied in precisely the manner intended. Rather, entities far removed from APA would now have a broad and ambiguous “Be it resolved” to apply against APA members.

This petition threatens ethical APA members who work each day in less-than-ideal settings to serve vulnerable populations. Our colleagues should be praised—not punished—for their efforts.

We strongly urge a “no” vote on this petition.

REBUTTAL TO THE CON STATEMENT

Ruth Fallenbaum, PhD

The con statement pointedly misconstrues the meaning of the referendum. We therefore encourage you to closely read the resolution in its entirety. Every concern raised is answered within its text: the first citation discusses the scope and applicability of international law; the “whereas” statements provide context for the “resolved” statement. No portion is unimportant. Given the short space allowed, we will address two major concerns.

A flood of domestic lawsuits?

This is not at all likely. While anyone can file a frivolous lawsuit, a judge reading the full text of this referendum would be hard pressed to interpret it as barring psychologists from working at sites that neither the U.N. nor the Supreme Court have found to be in violation of the law. The referendum is specific, provides clear context, and sets a high bar: in settings where people are detained outside of the law – places where treaties such as the Geneva Conventions and Convention Against Torture are ignored or declared not to apply – psychologists can work only for those detained. U.S. “jails, prisons, psychiatric hospitals…” all function within the legal system. Even if they are found to be in violation of the constitution, the finding itself demonstrates that they function within a legal framework, and thus do not meet that bar. No matter how bad conditions might be at these domestic institutions, they can be challenged openly in U.S. courts, and everyone held there holds the rights of habeas corpus; thus they differ significantly from the secret, extra-legal settings that are the subject of this referendum.

Dangers of “unintended consequences?”

“Unintended consequences” attend any policy. In fact, this referendum is itself a response to the consequences of the APA’s policy of “engagement.” By promoting the participation of psychologists at sites like Guantánamo, the policy has tarnished our profession and provided cover for those who have engaged in torture.

The moral issue of our time has landed at our doorstep, and we cannot turn away.

When a governing authority opts out of the rule of law, psychologists need to speak out for human rights. Psychologists working within unjust settings deserve a professional organization that protects them against participating in and legitimizing unethical and illegal behavior. You can make this happen by voting “yes”.