On Your Behalf

  • At a Feb. 28 meeting, APA President Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, and Maysa Akbar, PhD, of the Yale Child Study Center urged the staff of Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) to work to increase the funding for the Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program, now only funded at $1.9 million, down from a high of $4.5 million in 2005. DeLauro is a member of the House Appropriations Committee. Kazdin emphasized that the GPE programs provide much needed care in underserved areas nationwide. "This is a program that will make a palpable difference in the lives of real individuals, their offspring and families," said Kazdin. "The funds translate from training of psychologists to care of Native American adolescent boys and girls, individuals of color, developmentally disabled children, incarcerated youth, immigrant families, elderly men and women and people in rural areas who have absolutely no access to other care." At the meeting's end, DeLauro's legislative director committed to requesting $4.5 million for GPE.

  • APA member Dewey Cornell, PhD, briefed media on school violence at a Feb. 26 event held by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) to raise awareness about his legislative proposal, the Youth Prison Reduction Through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education Act. The legislation seeks to prevent violent behavior and gang involvement among at-risk youth. Cornell, director of the University of Virginia's Youth Violence Project, discussed some of the research-proven ways to prevent school violence, including the threat-assessment technique that he uses to evaluate and address individual threats of violence based on each circumstance's unique features.

  • On Feb. 28, APA and several other organizations brainstormed ways to enhance diversity in science. APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD, participated on behalf of APA. In recent years, ethnic minorities have been decreasingly pursuing careers in science. The meeting's participants agreed that associations and societies can provide educational and career support that might not otherwise be available. APA co-sponsored the one-day workshop with other organizations, including the Consortium of Social Science Associations, Society for Research in Child Development, American Sociological Association, American Educational Research Association, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research, Association of American Medical Colleges and American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  • In a Feb. 14 letter, the American Psychological Association Practice Organization and the American Psychiatric Association thanked Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) for introducing the Technologies for Restoring Users' Security and Trust in Health Information Act, which seeks to ensure the privacy and security of patient health information. The associations noted that because the bill is very broad, "it will have important ramifications for our members," including, for example, affecting the privacy and security protections mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and state laws. "We will carefully review and weigh these laws and other considerations to ensure that the highest level of protection for mental health records will be maintained by your bill," the organizations wrote.

  • On Feb. 6, APA commented on the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) draft strategic plan. The comments focused primarily on one of NIDA's four goal areas,prevention, and reflected the views of several APA governance groups and members. Among APA's key concerns was "whether the draft strategic plan adequately reflects the 'state of science'with respect to prevention research." APA hopes that NIDA's final draft will include a greater emphasis on research in the behavioral and social sciences that demonstrate promise for understanding the nature and development of the cognitive, affective, motivational and social processes in youth&#151the principal targets of prevention interventions.

  • APA member Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD, discussed the genetic factors that influence risk for eating disorders at "Eating Disorders: Fighting Stigma with Science," a Feb. 27 congressional briefing hosted by Rep. David E. Price (D-N.C.) and sponsored by the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy and Action. Bulik, who directs the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Eating Disorders Program, urged the audience to work to destigmatize eating disorders; improve treatment and insurance coverage; garner more legislation and funding; and support and fund large-scale partnerships to identify genes and their functions. When it comes to eating disorders, Bulik said, "it is just too easy to believe that these are somehow 'disorders of choice'when we are surrounded by such powerful social pressures to be thin. But failing to acknowledge the clear influence of biological and genetic factors has stood in the way of research, treatment, education and compassion."