Candidates for APA President
I am a professor of psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J. I received my PhD in clinical psychology from Auburn University in 1984. At FDU I currently serve as:
• Director of the APA-accredited PhD program in clinical psychology
• Director of the MS program in clinical psychopharmacology
• Director of the APA-approved Continuing Education Program.
I teach courses focusing on the theoretical foundations of clinical psychology, quantitative methods, clinical assessment and professional issues in clinical psychopharmacology.
One unique quality I would bring to the job of APA president is the variety of hats I have worn. I have been a teacher and administrator, a health-care provider and researcher, a psychotherapist and statistics geek, a political advocate, and community activist. Through these experiences I have developed a respect for a broad range of the constituencies that make up psychology.
Service to APA: I am a former president for APA Div. 55 (American Society for the Advancement of Pharmacotherapy). I am also a member of Divs. 8 (Society for Personality and Social Psychology) and 12 (Society for Clinical Psychology), as well as the Society for Personality Assessment, Association for Research in Personality, the Association for Professional Psychology and the Association for Psychological Science. I am currently a member of Div. 12's Committee on Science and Practice, and have served on a number of APA committees and task forces.
Professional experiences: I am a licensed psychologist in the states of New Jersey (inactive) and New York. After 10 years in private practice I continue to supervise doctoral students on assessments and individual psychotherapy. I have also been a statistical consultant for a variety of projects, including a social welfare program for abandoned infants, several state credentialing exams, implementation and validation of a testing procedure for public safety candidates, and several companies engaging in data collection over the Internet. I have been a leader in the movement for prescriptive authority, participating in writing guidelines, drafting legislation and testifying to legislators in a number of states.
Research experiences: I conduct research primarily in the areas of applied measurement and professional issues in pharmacotherapy, with more than 150 refereed publications and presentations. I am a former associate editor of the Journal of Personality Assessment, and have won research awards from the Society for Personality Assessment and the New Jersey Psychological Association.
Personal avocation: I am very involved in environmental action in my community, having worked to pass a local bill creating a transfer tax for preservation of open space, and founded a community organization called Sustainable Warwick that is working with local government to create an environmental plan for the town where I live.
A little-known fact: My father never finished high school, and I am the only one of five siblings who completed college.
McGrath's candidate statement
Each year I read these statements looking for the candidate who comes across as a real person. I know that can be hard to do, but I'll give it a shot.
After 25 years as a psychologist, I'm still amazed by the field's potential to stimulate me intellectually and emotionally. When I decided to become a clinical psychologist I had no idea how much it would help me become a better thinker and better person.
Even now I struggle to be a good person leading a good life. I try my best to listen, to accept my mistakes and apologize for them, to be respectful even when I passionately disagree. More than anything else, I always try to learn, and I am excited by the possibility of bringing what I have learned to the role of president.
These are challenging times for psychology science and practice. We face growing economic pressure as scientists, educators and practitioners. Many psychologists in clinical practice and in academia are struggling with these pressures, and I think APA needs to focus more than ever on enhancing our involvement in the public arena. We have a great deal to offer to the national dialogue about issues as diverse as health care, substance abuse, domestic instability and educational policy. Psychologists have the opportunity to become agents of change rather than victims of circumstance. Doing so will require moving beyond our differences, acknowledging our interdependence and working collaboratively.
I have a number of specific proposals related to this agenda. These include overcoming divisions within our discipline, increasing our public presence and involvement in political advocacy, integrating psychology into primary-care settings, and continuing our support for prescriptive authority. I invite you to visit my Web site, to learn more.