2009 Hill Visits: ELC Advocates Urge Federal Support for Psychology Education & Training
As in previous years, the annual Education Leadership Conference (ELC) concluded with a very successful Psychology Lobby Day on Tuesday, October 6th. Grouped together by states and armed with compelling facts and articles in their hill packets, nearly 100 ELC participants visited with their Senators and Representative on Capitol Hill to urge increased funding for the Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program, the only federal program solely dedicated to the support of psychology education/training. In total, these advocates for psychology participated in approximately 150 Congressional visits, making significant progress in educating members of the House and Senate on psychology in general and GPE specifically.
ELC Advocacy Training for Novices
Recognizing that nearly 1/3 of ELC participants are new attendees each year, and that often the individuals have not had the opportunity to participate in a lobby day, as they do every year, the APA Education Government Relations Office (GRO) provided an advocacy training session for new advocates, or individuals who want to refresh their skills. The training included a brief review of the federal legislative process, including the annual appropriations process, as well as role-playing exercises designed to simulate a hill visit and give participants opportunity to practice their talking points and ask questions. As one of the participants exclaimed, “I wasn’t sure what to expect this morning, but this was great fun and I definitely feel better prepared for my hill visits tomorrow.”
GPE Program: Update from the Field
Preparing for 2009 ELC Hill Visits
2009 Education Advocacy Distinguished Service Awards Announced
Announcement of the Education Advocacy Distinguished Service Awards is always a highlight of the annual Education Leadership Conference. The three awards – APA Member At-Large, Education Advocacy Grassroots Network, and Friends of Psychology – were presented by APA Board of Educational Affairs Chair, Louise Douce, PhD, during a special luncheon.
In the category of APA Member At-Large, Charles L. Brewer, PhD, Furman University, was recognized not only for his long-standing personal and professional commitment to advancing psychology education and training but for his extraordinary efforts to raise awareness among faculty and students of the need for grassroots activities.
The Education Advocacy Grassroots Network award was then presented to APA President James H. Bray, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, and Regional Coordinator for the Federal Education Advocacy grassroots network. Dr. Bray was recognized for his tireless efforts to secure a psychology champion in Congress and gain federal support for psychology education and training and the delivery of integrated mental and behavioral health care for underserved populations through the Graduate Psychology Education Program.
The 2009 Friends of Psychology Award was presented to Abigail Pinkele, Legislative Assistant to Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) for her help with efforts to secure an explicit authorization for the Graduate Psychology Education Program, thereby demonstrating her understanding that mental and behavioral health care play a significant and integral role in improving health care for all Americans.
Congressman Gene Green Honored at ELC Reception
Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) was honored during a special ELC reception for his efforts to secure mental and behavioral health services for underserved populations in Texas and across the nation by introducing the Graduate Psychology Education Authorizing Bill (H.R.) along with Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA). [A similar bill (S. 811) was introduced in the Senate by Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI).] Passage of these bills would not only explicitly authorize and fully designate the GPE Program as a federal program, but it would also facilitate funding the GPE Program during the annual appropriations process. ELC attendees also thanked Congressman Green for his outstanding leadership in fighting to ensure that Mental Health Workforce Provisions were included in the House Health Care Reform Bill.