From the executive director

Cynthia Belar, PhD, reviews the projects that have been years in the making that have come to fruition in 2013.

By Cynthia D. Belar, PhD

Cynthia Belar, PhDMany projects that have been years in the making have come to fruition this past year. For example, the Health Service Psychology Education Collaborative published its blueprint in the September 2013 American Psychologist after several years of analysis and input. I expect that the competencies for health service psychologists articulated in that work will serve the profession and policymakers well for the next decade. They are also in alignment with the evolution of other health professions with which psychology must collaborate during this period of health reform.

This year was also marked by the completion of a number of APA policy initiatives that promoted quality in undergraduate education, professional education and training, and professional development. The Council of Representatives adopted revised guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major (Guidelines 2.0) that describe five major goals, including a strong liberal arts preparation suitable for workforce readiness. The resolution on accreditation affirmed the importance of a peer review quality assurance process for the education and training of health care psychologists, and the policy adopted for continuing education called for the use of evidence-based educational methods as a core component of professional development activities. Under way are proposed revisions to the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology that I expect will be a central focus for the professional education and training community in 2014. Each of these initiatives to promote quality has required an iterative process during which staff has worked closely with relevant governance groups.

Collaboration with other organizations was another major theme of 2013. We co-sponsored two workshops of the Institute of Medicine’s Global Forum on Health Profession Education. I was pleased to chair one that addressed transdisciplinary professionalism for a reformed health care system. Catherine Grus, PhD, was on the planning group of the second, which addressed issues of assessment in the education and training of health care professionals. She also continues to serve on the Interprofessional Professionalism Collaborative comprised of nine health professions. Susan Zlotlow, PhD, is chair of the External Recognition Issues Committee of the Association of Specialized Professional Accreditors. Garth Fowler, PhD, has connected us with the Council of Graduate Schools and serves on the board of the National Postdoctoral Association. Robin Hailstorks, PhD, continued her work with other disciplinary societies for the Sustainability Improves Student Learning project; she recently presented at the National Academy of Sciences. Martha Boenau hosted a meeting of the regional psychological associations. Emily Leary Chesnes collaborated with the National Council for the Social Studies to promulgate guidelines on high school psychology. Jenny Smulson forged a collaboration with the American Council on Education and the association of campus student affairs professionals to address mental health issues on our college campuses. Karen Studwell, JD, worked with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Health Resources and Services Administration on workforce development issues. Rena Subotnik, PhD, worked with the new Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation to advance the application of psychological science to teacher education. Jackie Tyson collaborated with the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers in the implementation of the APA internship grant program to facilitate accreditation. And Greg Neimeyer, PhD, has provided an international component through his collaboration with a Mexican psychological association to disseminate high-quality continuing education. We also formed a new partnership with the Association of American Medical Colleges to begin a collection of psychological science educational materials in MedEdPORTAL Publications to promote both psychology as a science in the preparation of other health professions and the scholarship of teaching and learning in psychology.

This issue of the Educator, our twelfth, will make clear that these are but a small sample of activities in which the Education Directorate has been involved during the past year. As we look forward to 2014, we remain enthusiastic about the opportunities to advance education in psychology and psychology education. I have relished the opportunity to work with a staff so committed to promoting quality in our discipline and profession.