Congratulations!! You have just opened the first issue of gradPSYCH, APA's new magazine created just for students. APA has demonstrated a strong commitment to students by devoting significant staff resources and financial capital in establishing gradPSYCH. APA is invested in addressing the concerns and interests of students because the membership recognizes that we, the profession's "colleagues in training," are the future of the profession and APA. gradPSYCH will serve as a vehicle for providing information about the numerous training and professional development opportunities open to us as well as involving our colleagues in training in governance and policy activities.
Given the creation of this important publication, I want to underscore the value of your membership in APA as means of supporting policy activities within and outside of the field in ways that promote the viability of our profession. There has been a flurry of activities in recent years that directly affect students, including the recent authorization by Congress to allocate $6 million (a threefold increase) for the Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program in the Bureau of Health Professions, with $3 million allocated for graduate training in geropsychology. The initial funding of GPE last year represented the first time that Congress appropriated funds specifically for psychology education and training, signifying the recognition of psychology as an essential health profession of national significance. There are numerous other ongoing advocacy efforts coordinated through APA that substantially affect the research and practice of psychology for our generation. None of these activities can be successful without the efforts of APA members and staff working to inform policy at the national and state levels. Most importantly, our colleagues in training need to be actively involved during our graduate and postdoc years because decisions made today impact our future training and practice opportunities.
Unfortunately, while busily completing our graduate requirements, it is easy to forget that we are training for an expanding and evolving world of psychology. Our field has grown tremendously over the past century from an academic research discipline to a field that includes bench scientists and scientist-practitioners employed in a number of mental health, government, public policy, academic and business settings. This growth has resulted in pressure on many graduate students to specialize early and for whole disciplines of psychology to never interact with one another, despite a wide body of common psychological research and principles. I encourage our colleagues in training to avoid the pressure to become overly specialized and focused on linear career trajectories too early in their training. It is critical for us to appreciate the richness of our field and to be broadly trained in the foundations of psychological knowledge.
Furthermore, as the future of psychology, we must actively work to identify and foster synergetic partnerships within psychology. To be effective in promoting psychology to groups outside of our profession, we must be able to work together effectively within our profession. It is counterproductive for us to continue to foster schisms within psychology that drain resources and energy from our efforts to advance the science and practice of psychology. One of the strengths of our training is our ability to bridge divisions, find common ground, understand and embrace complexity and resolve conflict. Let's use this!
Dr. Robert J. Sternberg, our current APA president, has formed a Presidential Task Force on Unity to promote cooperation and reciprocal partnerships within psychology (see his column in the February Monitor). These partnerships are critical to ensuring that psychology continues to be a viable and strong profession for our generation. In support of Dr. Sternberg's initiative, APAGS would like to hear your ideas for fostering unity and working relationships across subfields of psychology. Please submit innovative proposals for promoting collaborations between psychological practice and research areas. These collaborations can occur at the training or professional levels, and should contribute to a knowledge base that informs policy-makers and the public about psychology or directly seeks to shape public policy activities. Proposals should be 1,000 words or fewer and sent via e-mail by July 1. The winning essay will be published on the APAGS Web site, and the author will receive a $750 scholarship to attend APA's Annual Convention in Toronto. I look forward to reading the brilliant ideas from my colleagues in training! And please feel free to e-mail questions, concerns or comments to Chris Loftis.