President's Column

… to APA’s 2010 Annual Convention in San Diego, Aug. 12–15. It is the first time we are meeting in this beautiful city and we are located right on the bay.

Our convention will be vibrant, scholarly and stimulating to our diverse APA membership — a tall order when it involves 12,000 to 14,000 people!

I know the convention can seem daunting to newcomers because it is such a large event and people may not know quite how they will fit in or fulfill their interests. Therefore, my goals are to make it as welcoming as possible, to add value for members, and to enhance our sense that we are a community of psychologists that is also welcoming to families, partners, friends and guests. Toward those ends, we are offering some special opportunities.

The opening session will be a bit different this year. Former first lady Rosalynn Carter will be our guest and receive a presidential citation for her sustained national leadership on behalf of caregivers. She will also sign copies of her new book, “Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis” (Rodale Books, 2010). Dan Gilbert, PhD, Harvard psychology professor and author of “Stumbling on Happiness” (Vintage, 2007) will deliver the keynote speech. Shelley Taylor, PhD, UCLA distinguished professor, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

For families, there will be at least three specially tailored events. Former APA President Diane Halpern, PhD, will speak on work-family balance at our “Bring the Family” evening presentation. For the first time, we are sponsoring a Discovery Day at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center for children of convention registrants. We are offering an APA Day at the San Diego Zoo’s Wildlife Park for families, too.

Adding financial and professional value is important. One of my initiatives is the Hands-On Training Series of five leading-edge continuing-education workshops on Friday and Saturday. Attendees with a limited number of days in San Diego do not have to arrive early and they will go home with new skills they can use right away. We’ll also be offering discount coupons for local food vendors this year. Students and early career psychologists are invited to the Speed Mentoring Breakfast to meet with senior psychologists.

Giving to the community always matters. We will leave an enhanced psychology exhibit as a gift to the Fleet Science Center. We are also co-sponsoring an AIDS Community Day with the National Institutes of Health, focusing on caregivers of people with AIDS, as a tie-in with the convention theme of caregiving. Because California is ground zero for marriage equality, we will offer a wide variety of programming, activities and media events to highlight APA’s policy statement in support of same-sex marriage and the science that supports that position (see a list of programs on this topic).

The heart of every APA convention is the extensive programming, and this year is no exception. APA’s Board of Convention Affairs has developed excellent plenary sessions with some of the top names in their fields. The divisions are offering an array for every facet of psychology. All divisions have also been invited to participate in the caregivers theme by featuring a program on any related aspect of psychological research, education, intervention, interdisciplinary collaboration or policy formulation. The invited presidential track programming will feature OppNet and other behavioral/social science funding opportunities at NIH; marriage equality for same-sex couples (science and the legal debate); the new ICD-10 coding system, focusing on clinical utility, public health and primary care; strategic partnerships with other professions for healthy people, organizations and communities; and the work of my task force initiatives on Family Caregivers and on Advancing Practice.

San Diego is a colorful, energetic city for our 2010 convention and for a vacation. Do come. The three major convention hotels and the convention center are within easy walking distance of each other, as well as the shops and restaurants of the Gaslamp Quarter. Join me and let’s make the meeting an unforgettable experience for all who want to come, learn, network and grow.