Despite the great progress psychology has made in diagnosing and treating mental illness, most Americans still lack access to effective treatments or can't afford them, says Ronald T. Brown, PhD. That's why as incoming Editor of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice®, Brown wants to publish research on ways to make mental health services more widely available — and possibly more affordable.
"No matter how innovative treatments are, unless they're accessible or economically manageable to the average individual, they're not really treatments that can be employed in the mainstream," he says.
Brown also wants to put clinically useful findings more quickly into the hands of practitioners, who don't have time to sift through voluminous piles of research.
"This journal provides a forum for succinct reviews and some empirical research that's really geared to the practitioner understanding the essential," says Brown, who serves as provost and senior vice-president of academic affairs of Wayne State University.
His other goals for the journal include:
- Quicker turnaround time. Brown will give reviewers three weeks and action editors one week to turn around author reviews. If a reviewer doesn't meet deadlines, he or she could be dropped.
- A more diverse editorial board. Brown is recruiting to increase the board's racial, ethnic and gender diversity.
- Crossing disciplines. He wants to publish more articles from school psychology and industrial/organizational psychology researchers, by attending national meetings in those fields and soliciting articles on interesting research. He also wants to publish more research from child, adolescent and pediatric psychology.
Key issues Brown wants to focus on include:
- Work/life balance. Now that technology means a practitioner is never out of touch, he wants to publish more research on how people can balance the competing demands of work and family life.
- Effects of medication. The journal will periodically review the latest developments in psychopharmacology for adults and special populations such as the elderly, children and people with developmental disabilities.
- Cultural competency. As the nation grows more diverse, psychologists need more research exploring whether certain interventions work better with different populations.
- Economic benefits of mental health treatment. The field also needs more studies showing how expanding mental health services benefits the nation's economy by, for example, helping people who are depressed get better and miss fewer workdays.
To his role as Editor, Brown brings experience and accomplishment as a previous journal editor, researcher, clinician and educational administrator.
His research as a pediatric psychologist uncovered cognitive problems experienced by children treated for chronic illnesses and cancer, and developed assessment tools for practitioners.