President's Column

These are truly times of change. This year brings our country, APA and psychology hope and great opportunities for creating positive change and brighter futures for our members and society. But how will our transformation look?

The theme of my presidential year is creating a new vision and future for our association, profession and the people we serve. Among those changes is creating APA's first strategic plan in its 114-year history, ably led by APA CEO Norman B. Anderson. This plan will enable us to examine everything APA does and to decide how we need to transform to meet the current and future needs of our diverse members and the public we serve.

My major initiatives for this year focus on three areas: the Future of Psychology Practice, the Future of Psychological Science Education and Psychology's Contributions to Ending Homelessness. I have set up task forces for each group:

  • The Task Force on the Future of Psychology Practice will address current issues in the practice of psychology and identify models and policies for the future. Psychological practice in the 21st century requires that we change our traditional ways of practice and create a vision to take advantage of the new possibilities in society. The co-chairs of this task force with me are Carol Goodheart, EdD, and Margaret Heldring, PhD. The task force will identify priorities, resources, key partnerships and roles for various groups to implement our agenda. We will focus on challenges practitioners in private and public settings must meet to serve the needs of our changing and diverse population. The scope of practice includes health services psychology and other forms of practice, such as business consulting and community services that address public health.

To expand the work of this task force, we are having the Presidential Summit on the Future of Psychology Practice, May 14–17 in San Antonio. Through the summit, we will engage the broader practice community to recommend strategic initiatives that will guide the work of APA and the APA Practice Organization. The summit will assemble psychology leaders and other professionals who are critical stakeholders in the practice of psychology. Please see our Web site for further information and to provide input to the task force's work: http://forms.apa.org/president. We also plan to webcast parts of the summit so more APA members can participate in this process.

  • The Task Force on the Future of Psychological Science Education will identify the changes needed in graduate and postgraduate psychological science training and education to keep our discipline productive and vibrant. Much of our research, especially federally funded research, requires us to work in multidisciplinary ways, yet we often train our future scientists in psychology silos. Jack Dovidio, PhD, and Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD, are co-chairing this group, which will identify the best education and training models, determine the resources needed, and identify the barriers to implementing change and partnerships to further our agenda.

  • The Task Force on Psychology's Contributions to Ending Homelessness will address psychological factors that contribute to homelessness and the influences and interventions that help both children and adults overcome these problems and resume productive and healthy lives. Homelessness is once again on the rise, and it is time for psychologists to shine a light on some of our most vulnerable adults and children and see how we can contribute to improving their lives. In addition, the group will identify resources needed to address these factors and implement these interventions.

I hope to personally speak with many of you during this year. If you get a phone call or an e-mail from the APA president, I am calling to see how APA can better serve your needs. These are truly exciting times, and I want all of you to engage with us and contribute to developing our future. Contact me anytime: James H. Bray, PhD.