From the CEO

The APA Strategic Plan calls for us to take a hard look at our benefits and services to ensure they are meaningful to members. Among our top priorities is making APA's Annual Convention more engaging for both long-term and early career members.

Each year, APA's convention attracts from 10,000 to 15,000 participants, with about half that number full members, associates and affiliates. In a typical year, APA's convention offers 1,400 programs and more than 2,100 programming hours over three-and-a-half days, resulting in a great deal of session overlap.

We decided to review which types of sessions draw the biggest audiences, how programs are approved, whether there should be fewer sessions and whether members would like more collaborative, thematic programming. We also compared APA's convention to meetings of similar organizations. Based on that analysis, our Convention Task Force recommended several changes, several of which will begin this year at APA's 2012 Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla., Aug. 2–5. They include:

More continuing education (CE). This year, attendees can earn CE credit at nearly 250 convention sessions. You can earn unlimited CE credits by attending as many of these sessions as you want for a single fee. CE sessions will be identified by a special logo in the convention program and will be held in the Orange County Convention Center. In addition, this year's opening session will offer CE credit for the first time. At the session, two distinguished psychologists—Drs. Kelly Brownell and Rena Wing—will discuss their ideas about overcoming the national obesity epidemic.

Innovative program tracks. As a harbinger of more thematic, collaborative programming in the future, APA President Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD, has created three innovative program tracks that focus on critical issues facing psychology and society at large. The themes are obesity, interdisciplinary team science and interprofessional practice. (See Presidential Programming for more details on these programs.)

Enhanced digital tools. APA is also providing online and mobile tools to help you make the most of your convention experience. In June, look for the online convention program mobile app to help you search for sessions, events and speakers, as well as create a personal schedule and view expanded maps.

More child-friendly options. A family room with an entertainment and play area for children will be located in the convention center. It will be open to children accompanied by a parent. Orlando is also home to many family-friendly local attractions, including Disney World, SeaWorld and the Harry Potter theme park at Universal Orlando. Families will also want to attend the APA Evening at Disney's Epcot™ on Friday, Aug. 3, where they can join colleagues for a dessert reception, fireworks and exclusive APA access to Soarin'—an attraction that simulates a flight over California. Attendance is limited, so advance registration and a nominal fee are required.

In another family-friendly option, we will offer a Health Challenge Pavilion in the APA Exhibit Hall, where you can exercise or challenge a colleague with Wii and Xbox Kinect games.

Newsier poster sessions. Also new in 2012 will be late-breaking poster sessions related to the presidential program tracks and the most current high-impact developments in psychology.

You can find details about these and other exciting convention programs on the APA website convention page. Register by June 30 and get early bird discounts and other special offers.

I hope you will join me in Orlando this summer for our exciting lineup of speakers and events.