From the CEO
This year marks the 120th anniversary of APA’s founding, prompting me to reflect on our humble beginnings and how we have grown into the world’s largest and most influential psychological organization. APA was founded on July 8, 1892, at a meeting hosted by G. Stanley Hall at Clark University. The 31 original members sought to create the group that would help other scientists in the emerging field of psychology exchange information about scientific findings. For decades, APA accomplished this goal primarily in two ways — through annual meetings and publications. Today, the association has more than 150,000 members and affiliates, and works in all aspects of the field, including education, practice and public interest, in addition to science. APA headquarters is located very close to Capitol Hill, where we have a strong presence making sure the voice of psychology is heard. Hundreds of APA members come to Washington throughout the year to advocate for psychology before Congress and federal agencies.
Through our first strategic plan, APA is now poised to address critical issues facing the field by focusing on three goals: maximize organizational effectiveness; expand psychology’s role in advancing health; and increase recognition of psychology as a science. APA has already begun to address two objectives under the first goal of maximizing organizational effectiveness. Its Good Governance Project is assessing APA’s structure, examining other governance models and will make recommendations to the Board of Directors and Council of Representatives. The objective of the project is to ensure APA has the best governance system to meet our current needs. The second objective is to ensure ongoing financial health of the association. For example, the council approved a plan last year to invest in APA’s publications program and a supporting technology infrastructure.
After receiving input from boards and committees, the council and the executive management group, the board also prioritized seven initiatives. These initiatives will, among other things, develop new models to increase member engagement and value; analyze the demand for the psychology workforce to meet national needs; develop treatment guidelines; expand the public education campaign; promote graduate and professional development to advance psychology’s role in health care; reduce health disparities among underserved and marginalized populations; and forge strategic alliances with health care organizations.
APA’s publishing enterprise has grown exponentially over the years, beginning with a single journal and adding numerous other journals, abstracts, books and videos. As the world’s leading publisher of psychological scholarship, APA continues to develop new means of electronic distribution. Last year, our journal articles were published online first, creating quicker access to new research through APA’s PsycARTICLES database. Journal articles are also now available through a mobile app. APA also released two new databases to serve the field, PsycTESTS and PsycTHERAPY.
APA’s four directorates — Science, Practice, Education and Public Interest — address member needs by working with governance to bring psychology to the public, policymakers and the news media. These directorates set standards for psychology education, research and practice; advocate for research funding and consumer access to quality mental and behavioral health care; apply psychology to human welfare; and educate the public.
These are among the many projects we are working on to advance psychology for our members and the public in the coming years. With our new strategic plan in place, we are poised to effectively meet the aspiration expressed in our new mission statement: To advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.