From the CEO

In 2007, the APA Council of Representatives directed me to initiate a process that would lead to the first strategic plan in the history of APA. The purpose of the effort was to identify a limited set of top priorities for the association for the next three to five years. After over two years of collecting data from our membership, governance leaders and staff, and examining societal trends that could affect psychology, the Council of Representatives approved our first strategic plan at their meeting in Toronto in August. In addition to specifying our main goals and objectives, the plan also includes new mission and vision statements, and a set of core values, which are still under development. This column focuses on the plan's three goals and associated objectives:

• Maximizing organizational effectiveness. This goal focuses on the need for APA's structures and systems to support the organization's strategic direction, growth and success. One key objective under this goal is to increase both the engagement of our members in the association and the value they receive from their APA membership. This can be done by enhancing our programs, services and communications. Another objective is to ensure that our governance and staffing structures and functions meet current demands and goals facing the association.

• Expanding psychology's role in advancing health. Achieving this goal would mean that key stakeholders realize the unique benefits psychology provides to health and wellness and that our discipline is more fully incorporated into health research and delivery systems. Through our efforts on health-care reform, we are already aggressively pursuing an important element of this goal. Yet, there are many other objectives that are also important, such as creating innovative tools to allow psychologists to enhance their knowledge of health promotion, disease prevention and management of chronic disease; educating other health professionals and the public about psychology's role in health; and promoting psychology's role in decreasing health disparities, to name a few.

• Increasing recognition of psychology as a science. A distinctive feature of psychology is that it rests on a foundation of science. However, it is clear from surveys that the public does not have a clear conception of psychology as a science. In particular, decision-makers often don't see the unique value that the science of psychology brings to many endeavors, including its ability to help understand basic human functioning; psychology's role in addressing significant global challenges; and the many applications of psychological science and evidence-based practice to improving daily living and human welfare.

Through this goal, we want to increase the public's awareness of psychology as a science and the benefits psychology brings to daily living. This goal, although related to the science of psychology, connects with all aspects of the association including practice, public interest, education, publications, public communications, advocacy and others.

More information on the new APA strategic plan, including our new mission and vision statements is available online. In addition, our APA Practice Organization has also developed a strategic plan, which can be found online.