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Mark E. Faust
UNC at Charlotte
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Brigham and Women's Hospital
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University of Missouri
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Bob Cook (09-12)
Nancy Dess (09-12)
David Washburn (08-11)
Jeremy Wolfe (08-11)
Mark Bouton (07-10)
University of Vermont
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Randy Engle (10-12)
Emanuel Donchin (08-10)
University of South Florida
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Wash. U., St. Louis
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Charles L. Brewer
Early Career Psychologist
California State U. at Fullerton
James H. Bray, President,
One of the many fun and exciting parts of being APA President is to attend meetings and visit with psychologists and students who are outside of my usual spheres. Attending these meetings continues to amaze me at the depth and breath of our profession. I am sharing these travel logs to help you get a glimpse of what it is like to be APA President. It is an incredible honor to represent APA in this important role and the experiences have generated the full range of emotions and challenged me to grow and learn. I have been sending them on a monthly basis to Division and State leaders. They encouraged me to share them with you. Feel free to share them with your colleagues.
Alliant University Master’s of Psychopharmacology Graduation Ceremony
My first trip as APA President, January 10, was to give the graduation address for the Master’s of Psychopharmacology in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. These psychologists completed a two-year program to prepare them to be prescribing psychologists. It was a challenging trip, as a supposedly 3 hour Saturday morning drive turned into an eight hour trek through closed freeways, Louisiana back roads and torrential rains, but like the US mail, my wife and I would not be stopped. It was a metaphor for the journey that these psychologists have made—they are committed to providing high quality psychological and psychopharmacology services across the United States.
Hot issues. Many of these psychologists live and practice in states that do not have prescriptive authority. The issue of how and when we would gain prescriptive authority was a hot topic. At the beginning of 2009 eleven states were preparing to seek prescriptive authority this year.
Multicultural Summit and Conference
The biennial Multicultural summit was held in New Orleans January 15-18, 2009. From the moment I arrived the excitement was palpable. The conference was sold-out and included many exciting keynote addresses, workshops and discussion groups. Many graduate students and young professionals were at the conference and their excitement for multicultural perspectives was infectious.
I presented presidential citations to those psychologists honored as elders: A.J. Franklin, Florence Denmark, Janet Helms, Martha Mednick, Derald Wing Sue, Charles Silverstein, and Bonnie Ruth Strickland. The ceremony was moving and memorable—highly recommended for everyone. Each psychologist presented their life story and view of the field. It was enlightening to hear the journeys of these esteemed colleagues. A number of APA Divisions also held their mid-winter board meetings at the summit. This gave me and other board members an opportunity to meet with the boards and discuss issues for their division. I met with the boards of Divisions 17, 39, and 42.
Hot issues. There was considerable concern and hurt feelings about the fact that the bylaw to include Council seats for the four ethnic minority psychological associations did not pass. A number of options were being discussed. In response to this, the Board of Directors discussed this issue and clarified that the observers from each of the four ethnic minority psychological associations would continue through 2009. In addition, I appointed a Council workgroup, co-chaired by Armand Cerbone and Jean Carter, to come up with options for dealing with this and other issues related to ethnic minority participation in the Council. They will present a report of their work in August.
Division 55 Mid-Winter Meeting
Division 55 held its mid-winter conference in Nashville, TN February 8-10. The meeting was held there because the Tennessee Psychological Association sponsored the meeting and used this as an opportunity to introduce its prescriptive authority bill in the TN Legislature. The conference was wonderful and included sessions on advocacy and updates on psychopharmacology.
The highlight of the meeting was a reception for the Tennessee Legislature. After hearing the State of the State speech by the governor, we had a “meet and greet” reception for the legislators. It was both exciting and surprising to talk with these Legislators. Surprising because a number of the legislators did not know what psychologists do and how we contribute to the health of our nation. The next day we had meetings with individual Legislators. I attended a meeting with the Lt. Governor. The Tennessee lobbyist formerly represented the TN medical association. At one point when the lobbyist was talking about how important it was for psychologists to get prescriptive authority, the Lt. Governor broke in with a big smile and asked, “weren’t you in my office last session talking about how it would be dangerous for psychologists to prescribe?” Without missing a beat the lobbyist responded, “yes sir, and I was wrong!” We all laughed and used it as an opening to talk about the important role of prescribing psychologists in other states and in the federal government.
Hot issues. Meeting with the legislators made it clear to me about the incredible importance of continuing public education about psychologists and our contributions to society. One senior representative said, “I don’t believe in what you do. It don’t make sense to me. I am an engineer and 2 + 2 is always 4 in my profession, but you folks don’t think or act that way.” Many of his colleagues confused us with psychiatrists or masters level providers. The good news is that they gave us an opportunity to educate them about psychology and our profession. Clearly, more work needs to be done in our public education efforts.
APA Insurance Trust (APAIT) Board Meeting
I am the liaison to the APAIT board this year. Because of the disputes between APA and APAIT, I decided to be the liaison to learn more about APAIT. The first board meeting was held in Amelia Island, FL, February 12-15. The APAIT board is made up of psychologists (several former APA presidents like Ron Fox and Dorothy Cantor) and insurance industry professionals.
Hot issues. The Council of Representatives was informed about the dispute between APA and the APAIT at the Council meeting in February. There seems to have been a decreased in communication between the two boards as a result of this dispute and we are working to improve communication with APAIT.
Randolph Macon University
At the invitation of Bob Resnick, former APA President, I helped install the new members of Psi Chi at Randolph Macon. I also gave a talk on my adolescent alcohol research. This was an exciting opportunity to meet some of our future psychologists and talk with them about the directions of our field. I was also able to meet with their faculty and discuss how APA can support the work of psychologists in small colleges.
Hot issues. There were questions about APA’s role in supporting psychological science. Many were not aware of all of the advocacy that APA provides for science. They were very happy to learn about our efforts.
Festschrift for Lynn Rehm
Lynn Rehm, our Council colleague from the University of Houston, is retiring at the end of this academic year. Nadine Kaslow and Jeremy Pettit organized a Festschrift for Lynn at the University of Houston. Many of his former students and colleagues, including Ron Rozensky from Florida, came to the celebration. I gave Lynn a Presidential Citation for his lifetime of service to the profession. He has accomplished a great deal in his distinguished career and it will continue through his students.
Psychological Aspects of Climate Change
The Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC held a one-day conference on the implications of climate change for mental health. This conference was supported by a grant from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. Lisa Van Susteren, a psychiatrist, organized the conference. I reported to this group about APA’s task force on global climate change. I had to leave the conference to have a meeting on Capitol Hill with Congressman Gene Green regarding the Graduate Psychology Education re-authorization. I had a spontaneous meeting with psychologist and Congressman Brain Baird. Brian is heavily invested in climate change work in the Congress and provided some interesting “reframes” in this area. For example, he believes that we should stop talking about “global warming” and start talking about “lethal planet overheating.” His view—who doesn’t like to be warm, but most don’t like to be overheated. Although the global temperature is raising 2-4 degrees, which does not sound like a lot, consider when a human has a temperature—going from normal to 101 or 102 does not feel good.
Hot issues. The Wildlife Federation is organizing a number of groups to work on these issues and wants APA to partner with them. Congressman Baird thinks that there will be substantial new funding in this area and we need to be prepared to have psychology part of this. Steve Breckler, APA Executive Director for Science, is working hard on this to make sure that psychological research is included in this work.
Dinner with the Ambassador of Chile
As part of our ongoing efforts to partner across the globe, I arranged a dinner with the Ambassador of Chile for the APA Board of Directors and the Committee on International Relations in Psychology March 19. The dinner was held at the Ambassador’s residence and sponsored by the Chilean government. Unfortunately, the Ambassador was not at the dinner because he had recently been appointed to a new secretary post in Chile. His new position is like the U.S. Secretary of State. The Ambassador’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Fernando Varela Palma, hosted the dinner with a few other embassy officials.
Two reasons I sought out Chile. First, our department at Baylor had a contract with the Chilean government to do primary care fellowship training for their healthcare professionals. This included psychologists, nurses, physicians, dentists and others. Chile has an advanced public healthcare system and I wanted our members to learn more about this. Second, I heard that the Ambassador was a leading wine expert and I hoped that we could share some stories and good wine together.
The dinner was great fun and informative. We were able, with the help of Merry Bullock, APA Director of International Affairs, to inform them about the roles of the APA and psychologists in the U.S. and Chile and develop some potential partnerships. We plan to have dinners at other embassies later in the year.
Travel log—April 27, 2009. I am writing this at 36,000 feet between California and Texas on the way home from the April Board of Directors meeting. We are doing Scurves to slow down because of bad weather in Houston—the pilot just told us we were diverting to San Antonio for more fuel (one of those uneventful flights). We landed in San Antonio for two hours, then back home for my day job.
Healthy Development: A Summit on Children’s Mental Health
The Children’s Mental Health Summit was held April 1 in Denver in conjunction with the bi-annual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD). Drs. Barry Anton, APA Recording Secretary, and Karen Saywitz were two of the psychologists who developed the idea for the summit and helped lead the organizing committee. Mary Campbell and Rhea Farberman represented the APA staff. They partnered with Mary Ann McCabe of SRCD. The president of SRCD, Greg Duncan, also attended and discussed issues from his organization.
The purpose of the summit was to “undertake the essential dialogue and problem-solving to form a coherent evidence-based strategy for a strong action agenda to improve public awareness of the role and importance of mental health in healthy development.” This was a working meeting of 40 invited participants that represented a range of professionals interested in children’s mental health that included psychologists, family scholars, psychiatrists and professionals from communication science.
Hot issues. A goal of the summit was to help develop the “core story of children’s mental health.” The core story would be used to develop a public education campaign. The question is how can APA continue to partner with this group and collaborate in this campaign. Barry Anton, Rhea Farberman and Mary Campbell can serve as conduits to this group and help us develop a productive working relationship. The question is how can this work inform and complement the APA’s efforts at public education?
Mental Health Awareness Week at the University of Pennsylvania, April 2, 2009
As part of Mental Health Awareness week at the University of Pennsylvania I gave a talk on “Mental Health Matters: A Key to a Successful Life.” The student run organization, Active Minds, invited me to speak. Active Minds is a national organization on college campuses that provides education to students and faculty on mental health issues and to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems (www.activeminds.org). A University of Pennsylvania student started Active Minds after her brother committed suicide. The Penn Psi Chi also partnered in this programming. It was exciting and enlightening to meet with these young adults and hear about their efforts to reduce stigma and educate their campus about mental health issues. They asked many questions about how the APA does this and future opportunities for the profession.
Hot issues. Some students asked about the psychology internship problem and others about our progress in gaining prescriptive authority. Penn has a strong biological basis of behavior program and several students were struggling with whether to go into psychology or medicine. Several faculty at Penn were part of the interrogation resolution group and were pleased to hear about the APA Council’s implementation of the resolution.
SIOP: Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, aka Division 14
The SIOP annual convention was held in New Orleans April 2-4, 2009. It was a most impressive meeting with exciting programs, exhibits and social activities. The conference had over 3700 people in attendance, who represented the broad range of psychologists working with business and industry. Walking around the booths and talking with exhibitors about their work was worth the trip. Psychologists provide important services to corporations throughout the world and their services are particularly valuable during these tough economic times. The conference included workshops, symposia and poster sessions on the latest research and practices in the I/O psychology. SIOP is a multidisciplinary organization, as members include psychologists, organizational development professionals and others who work with business. Many graduate students and young professionals were at the conference and their excitement for the future was infectious.
Hot issues. Gary Latham, SIOP President, invited me to talk about my presidential initiatives and discuss how APA and SIOP can work together for the benefit of our mutual members. There is a history of conflict between SIOP and the APA going back into the 1980’s. This was a time when the APA almost split into two organizations and unfortunately there are still strong negative feelings from those experiences among some of the senior members of SIOP that continue into the present. They felt that APA did not listen to or adequately address their needs and the SIOP convention was developed in response to some of their concerns. SIOP is split on the need for licensure for I/O psychologists. Many do not call themselves psychologists in their work; rather they refer to themselves as consultants or organizational specialists. A recent survey of members indicated a majority wanted to be licensed. However, there is strong opposition by many for licensure. This will be an important consideration in our new model licensing act.
Texas Counseling Centers Internship Meeting
The Texas Counseling Center Internship meeting is an annual conference for all of the APA approved Texas counseling center directors and their interns. The Southern Methodist University hosted the meeting. I gave a keynote talk on the Future of Psychology Practice and counseling centers. Hot issues. A major concern was the decrease in internship slots and funding for interns. In addition, many counseling centers are overwhelmed with the number of students that require their services, while funding for services is level or declining. There was a lot of interest in what kind of advocacy APA was doing to address these concerns. They were particularly interested in legislative issues in this area.
Visiting Scholar at Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University invited me to be a visiting scholar April 5-8. Alan Hovestadt, a psychologist and past president of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, was my host. I gave talks to their graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and community professionals on APA programs and initiatives and my research on stepfamilies and substance abuse. WMU has two APA approved programs, one in Counseling and one in Clinical.
Hot issues. A major concern was the decrease in internship slots and funding for interns. Five out of 16 of their students did not match and get an internship this year.
Travel Log--May 3, 2009. This log was written as I headed home from the Tri-State Psychological Association meeting in Idaho. Travel challenges seemed to be the theme of these trips---delays, late flights, and bumpy rides, but once on the ground the meetings were well worth the trips.
California Psychological Association
The CPA convention was held in Oakland, CA April 16-19, 2009. CPA is one of my favorite conventions to attend. As I campaigned for APA President I attended a number of CPA conventions and they are always excellent. The convention theme was on leadership and Doris Penman CPA President, and Jo Linder-Crow, CPA Executive Director, organized a wonderful conference. There were also excellent sessions on ethics. I presented Presidential Citations to Drs. Jo Linder-Crow and Gilbert Newman for their lifetime of service to the profession. Gilbert is the chair of the State Leadership Committee and a past-chair of the Board of Education Affairs. Jo is a former APA director of continuing professional education and the current Executive Director of CPA.
Hot issues. CPA is working to stop the state from creating a generic mental health board to replace the Board of Psychology. This was proposed by the governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as supposedly a cost savings measure. It is a bad and dangerous idea for psychology. It equates psychologists with master level provides (psychiatrists are not included) and moves to make us a generic mental health provider. Two state legislators, Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, (D-Concord) and Senator Ellen Corbett (DSan Leandro) attended the CPA advocacy lunch. Both are strong supporters of psychology in California. Senator DeSaulnier is running for the U.S. Congress, as the current Congressman has been appointed to the Obama administration.
APA Board of Directors Meeting
The Board met April 23-26, 2009 for its spring retreat. We discuss big issues and do long-term planning and we typically do not vote on individual issues at retreat meetings. For the first time, the Board met for a half-day as the APA Practice Organization Board to focus on practice issues and to discuss ways to increase the viability of the APAPO. Just as a reminder, the APAPO is totally funded by the practice assessment payers. We also discussed how we could increase advocacy efforts for education and science. The member survey conducted for our strategic planning clearly indicated that our members want us to spend more time and energy on advocacy. The Board also spent a half-day working on the strategic plan. We worked on core
values and strategic initiatives. Both of these will be circulated to the APA Council in
the near future and we will vote on them at the August Council meeting.
Tri-State Psychological Association Meeting
This is a joint meeting of the Idaho, Montana and Washington state psychological associations. It was held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (www.cdaresort.com) April 30-May 2. This is one of the most beautiful places I have been—it is highly recommended. Getting there was a bit of a challenge. I was supposed to fly into Spokane, WA on Wednesday evening and drive to Coeur d’Alene. Because of plane delays, I missed my flight from Salt Lake City to Spokane and got to spend the night in Salt Lake—the best thing of this delay was to wake up to the beautiful snow capped mountains surrounding the city. Steve Behnke, APA Ethics officer, presented several ethics workshops. They were outstanding. Not only is Steve incredibly knowledgeable about ethics, he is also an outstanding teacher. It was delightful and informative to see him action. We are very lucky to have him at APA. I met with the Boards of Idaho and Montana Psychological Associations. These are small psychological associations in primarily rural and frontier areas. They have unique needs because of their size and rural nature and each state is dealing with different issues.
Hot issues. A number of psychologists talked with me about their concerns with the proposed Model Licensing Act. Specifically they are concerned about doing away with the exemption for masters level school psychologists. In the current MLA, people with a masters in school psychology can call themselves, “school psychologists.” One psychologist was concerned that this will cause ill will and will negatively impact our relationships with teachers and school principles. Clearly this is a “hot” issue for us to consider.
Montana got close to passing a prescriptive authority bill this year. It was derailed at the end because of several factors, including NAMI strongly opposing the bill. However, Montana psychologists believe that they made good progress and plan to move forward in their 2011 legislative session. Unfortunately, the licensed professional counselors and social workers passed a bill that allowed them to conduct “psychological assessments.” The MPA was successful in making sure that LPCs have to create rules to ensure that people are qualified to do psychological assessments. APA needs to keep a close eye on this both in Montana and other states.
Idaho is considering pursuing prescriptive authority next year. They do not have very many RxP trained psychologists in the state, but their membership is strongly supportive. IPA will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2010. Come to Sun Valley for a great time and celebrate with them. IPA also does collaborative CE events other mental health and medical groups. It is a great way to build coalitions.
Washington is working on their strategic plan. They are going to use APA’s models and ideas in their work.
Local flair. One evening at dinner we were joined by the husband of a local psychologist who gave us a lesson on bow hunting for elk and moose—it is very different than hunting with a rifle. In order to bow hunt you have to get within 30 yards of the animal and not be seen or smelled—they use elk urine to hide the human smell. Gave me
a whole new view of “going natural.”
Travel Log--May 31, 2009. Headed to Toronto for convention planning. This was one of the most exciting months of my presidency. The month started in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for the Tri-State Psychological Association meeting (see last travel log) and ended in Toronto. It has been a series of whirlwind experiences that I am still processing.
Veterans Affairs Psychology Leaders Conference May 7-9, 2009 Dallas, Texas
This annual conference is for psychology leaders within the VA system. The conference is a combination of leadership training and issues update for VA psychologists. Randy Phelps, APA Practice Directorate, helped create the conference to support the work of our VA psychologists. The conference has grown to capacity and needs a new venue to continue to expand. VA psychologists are generally doing very well because of the increased funding from the wars and the recognition of providing services to our veterans.
I had dinner with VA psychology trainees to discuss their views and ideas about the future of psychology. They are a bright and motivated group. Several asked questions about being APA president, as they are thinking of how they might do this in the future. Our future is in good hands.
Hot issues. The VA has grown significantly in the past few years, especially for mental health services, internships and post-doctoral training. APA will need to continue to advocate for funding and expansion of programs. By Congressional mandate, the VA will start hiring more Masters level providers in the near future. APA needs to carefully monitor this change, as it may impact doctoral level training and jobs within the VA system.
Early career psychologists spoke about the difficulty in paying for graduate training in psychology. Many of them have significant debts ($60,000-$80,000) to repay. We discussed the need to expand opportunities for loan repayment and salary levels for ECPS. In addition, trainees were concerned about the lack of internships and post-docs and the need to expand more opportunities.
University of Memphis and Memphis Tennessee Area Psychologists May 8
Rosie Bingham, Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Memphis, invited me to speak with psychology students and faculty. Rosie and I discussed current issues at APA and fielded questions about research and practice opportunities in the future. At a dinner meeting, I met with Memphis area psychologists to discuss current issues at APA, my presidential initiatives and the upcoming Presidential Summit on the Future of Psychology Practice. Ed Wise, a Memphis psychologist, is a delegate to the Summit. I learned that the RxP bill in Tennessee was not going to be pass this year, as they were short one vote on the key Senate committee. They made important progress in their fight for prescriptive authority, but will need to re-introduce their bill in the next legislative session.
Hot Issues. Students were very concerned about the internship shortage crisis and the implication it has for the sequencing of training for graduate students. Memphis area psychologists were concerned about reimbursement issues for psychologists and what APA is doing about this and national health care reform.
Presidential Summit on the Future of Psychology Practice May 14-17, 2009 San Antonio, Texas
The highlight of my presidency is the Summit. It is hard to fully communicate the excitement and all that transpired at the Summit, but in a subsequent email, I will send you a summary of my experiences. Carol Goodheart and Margy Heldring, co-chairs of the Summit, did a fabulous job of organizing this event in conjunction with the Task Force and APA Staff. It was a transforming event for the delegates. You can view the major talks and panel discussions on the APA website: (http://www.apa.org/practice/summit.html) At the beginning of the month, sleep was troubled from stress about the Summit—will it work or bomb—since then, sleep is interrupted by thinking about all of the exciting possibilities for our profession that were discussed at the Summit. The impact of this Summit has the potential of bringing a sea change to the practice of psychology. The ideas and recommendations from the Summit need to be implemented at all levels of our profession to make a real difference. As stated at the Summit, “¡Lo que ocurrió en San Antonio, no puede permanecer en San Antonio! What happened in San Antonio cannot stay in San Antonio!”
APA Insurance Trust (APAIT) board meeting May 21-24, 2009 Nassau, Bahamas
The APAIT has to meet outside of the U.S. once a year to fulfill its legal requirements for the insurance trust. This was their offshore meeting and held at the “One&Only Ocean Club” where the James Bond movie, Casino Royale, was partially filmed. The meeting is very different than most psychology meetings, as it focuses on insurance business issues. The APAIT board and staff work hard to provide excellent products at reasonable costs for its members who are insured by the APAIT.
Hot issues. During the meeting, Norman Anderson, Paul Craig and I met with a group of APAIT board members to discuss ways that we may be able to settle the current dispute between the APA and APAIT. We were clear with the APAIT board that we are open to having a settlement rather than litigating the dispute. The APA Board will discuss these issues at our June board meeting and will provide an update to the APA Council after that meeting.
Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice May 28-30, 2009 Washington, DC
CAPP had one of its regular meeting to discuss professional practice issues. CAPP handles both APA (C3) and APA Practice Organization (C6) issues. The meeting was attended by CAPP members and a number of liaisons from related organizations (ASPPB, APPIC) and divisions. CAPP continued working on its strategic planning and will present it in the near future. Hot issues. The APAPO is impacted by the decline in dues revenues like APA. The APAPO is funded from the practice assessments that practitioners pay. CAPP discussed ways to increase revenues from other sources in order to increase its ability to provide more services to our members.
Happy trails and summer, see you in Toronto at the APA Convention. James
James H. Bray, Ph.D.
Department of Family & Community Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine
3701 Kirby Drive, 6th Floor
Houston, TX 77098
President, American Psychological Association