In the Public Interest

The Public Interest Directorate applies the science and practice of psychology to the fundamental problems of human welfare and to promoting equitable and just treatment for all. Being a part of psychology's commitment to improving our world gives me a great sense of pride. Here are just a few examples of our work last year:

  • In March, more than 750 people from 36 countries attended the seventh international conference on occupational stress and health: "Work, Stress, and Health 2008: Healthy and Safe Work through Research, Practice, and Partnerships," in Washington, D.C. Plans are now under way for this year's conference, "Global Concerns and Approaches," Nov. 4–7, in Puerto Rico.

  • The Public Interest Government Relations Office submitted recommendations for the reauthorizations of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act; co-sponsored with APA's Education Directorate the congressional briefing "Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Service Members, Veterans, and their Families;" hosted advocacy training and Capitol Hill visits for members; contributed to a U.S. presidential transition document on criminal justice; and more.

  • The Office on Aging disseminated Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacity: A Handbook for Psychologists to psychologists and geriatric mental health professionals nationwide.

  • The Office on AIDS HIV Office for Psychology Education (HOPE) Program conducted 69 training events, reaching more than 1,670 mental health professionals and students.

  • The Children, Youth, and Families Office, with the Presidential Task Force on PTSD and Trauma in Children and Adolescents, released a tip sheet for mental health professionals on trauma in children.

  • The Disability Issues Office worked with Public Interest Government Relations and other major disability groups on efforts resulting in passage of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act.

  • The Office on Ethnic Minority Affairs began publishing the quarterly e-newsletter Psychology in Ethnic Minority Serving Institutions for chairs of programs and departments of psychology at the nation's minority-serving colleges.

  • The International Network on Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Concerns & Transgender Issues in Psychology, staffed by our Office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns, increased lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender programming at the 2008 International Congress of Psychology in Berlin.

  • The Minority Fellowship Program hosted its Sixth Annual Psychology Summer Institute, providing 22 advanced predoctoral and early career participants with professional mentoring on their projects, career development training, and assistance with grant writing and publishing.

  • The Office on Socioeconomic Status received a CDC National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion grant for $1.75 million over five years to address SES-related cancer disparities.

  • The Violence Prevention Office sponsored the ACT Program Fourth Annual Leadership Seminar, with 39 U.S. ACT Community Coordinators and two Coordinators from Toronto participating.

  • The Women's Programs Office, with the Committee on Women in Psychology, convened the inaugural CWP Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology, focusing on the leadership training needs of 30 mid-career member women psychologists.

  • The next few years promise serious economic and other challenges for all of us. We also mark this as a time of momentous historic change with the inauguration of Barack Obama. We know that psychological science and practice have much to offer in addressing the problems we face. As we navigate these times of challenge and hope, we in Public Interest renew our commitment to ensuring psychology plays an important role.