Conference attendee Traci Mann, PhD, a health psychologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, said she appreciated the opportunity to promote psychology to Congress, and APA prepared her well for the trip.
“I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea of what to do during a Hill visit if it weren’t for the conference,” Mann says.
During her four visits with congressional staff, she encountered fairly strong opinions, she says.
“Three of them were supportive [of our priorities] from the get-go,” Mann said. “The fourth person, he just wasn’t going to be with them [on these issues].”
She scored a minor victory, though, when she stressed to the most skeptical staff member that increasing funding for NIH would create jobs for his representative’s constituents. “He perked up at that,” Mann said.
Jeannette Ickovics, PhD, a behavioral health psychologist at Yale University, echoed Mann’s appreciation for APA’s preparation.
“APA’s staff did a wonderful job preparing us for the Hill visits,” she said, “both in terms of content and what to expect about the whole process.”
For Ickovics, the Hill visit was a bit of a homecoming. Twenty years ago, as a graduate student, she served as an APA legislative aide. She’s proud she was able to come full circle, she says.
And considering the momentous changes happening in health care, Ickovics says she’s glad that APA is training a new generation of psychologists to support psychological science at the legislative level. “As psychologists, it is critically important to lend our expertise to achieve a sustainable, evidence-based health policy.”