What happens when you bring 150 thought leaders from psychology, business, consumers of services, economics, insurance, medicine and politics together to transform the practice of psychology? The Presidential Summit on the Future of Psychology Practice, held May 14–17, in San Antonio, Texas, did just that and was a transforming event. Jeffrey Magnavita, PhD, a Div. 29 delegate to the summit, summed up his experience this way: "It was awesome, inspiring, frustrating, challenging, generative and hopeful."
The real work of the summit occurred in small work groups. The Task Force on the Future of Psychology Practice will synthesize these ideas and recommendations, feed them into APA's strategic planning process and recommend policy changes for the association. The impact of this summit has the potential of bringing a sea change to the practice of psychology. You can watch portions of the summit online.
Among the most important issues that emerged at the summit, especially in light of national health-care reform, are:
• The need to collaborate in primary care. As summit speaker Frank DeGruy, MD, said, "Mental health care cannot be divorced from primary medical care, and all attempts to do so are doomed to failure." It is becoming increasingly clear that health-care reform will include a greater emphasis on primary care and prevention of chronic disease. These are both areas in which psychologists can make major contributions. This will require that we partner and practice with primary-care physicians and nurse practitioners. It is one of our future practice opportunities.
• The need to be accountable. Whether we like it or not, there will soon be changes in health-care payments and reimbursements that require practitioners to demonstrate accountability for their work. We have the opportunity to define how we should be evaluated by developing our own psychology practice guidelines and methods to assess our work. Psychiatry has done this. Its guidelines are used by the insurance industry to determine treatment and reimbursements. According to the summit's insurance and legislative delegates, there are such guidelines for psychotherapy and psychological services. We have long resisted developing these guidelines, but the time has come to define psychological practices, or others will do it for us.
Learn more about the summit on page 16. And be sure to attend the two-hour session reviewing the summit and seeking your input during APA's Annual Convention, Friday, Aug. 7, 10 a.m.– noon.
Collaborating to change APA's convention
The need for change is also in the air at this year's convention with the introduction of the Convention Within a Convention (CWC). When I ran for APA president, many people told me that APA's convention no longer met their needs. They wanted programming that was cutting-edge for both science and practice, longer, more in-depth sessions and more continuing-education programs. The CWC represents the collaboration of 37 APA divisions and APA boards and committees to bring 94 hours of this kind of programming. The CWC will run from noon, Friday, Aug. 7 through noon, Sunday, Aug. 9. Participants can earn 16 hours of high-quality CE by attending CWC programs. The programs are organized into thematic tracks: business of practice, child/family, evidence-based practice, famous psychologists, health, incarceration, methodology, and neuroscience/neuropsychology. We will also have a speed mentoring event with famous psychologists for graduate students and early career psychologists on Aug. 7.
This year's convention also offers an opportunity to give back to our communities. APA and the National Institute of Mental Health, along with Canadian HIV/AIDS organizations are co-sponsoring a community day on "The Role of Families in the Prevention and Adaptation to HIV/AIDS." NIMH will be bringing in some of their top clinical scientists to provide cutting-edge information and workshops for community workers in Toronto. Make your plans now to attend what is sure to be one of the best APA conventions ever.
Let me hear from you—engage—get involved. This is YOUR APA. Contact me anytime via e-mail.