Candidates for APA President
Thank you for taking a moment to read my statement. I'm the candidate who stands out to you. The status quo and old ideas are well-represented by other candidates. I have a fresh outlook and am open to innovative adaptations like national APA membership leading to automatic membership in a local association; we'll swell the ranks of state associations at this important time in health-care reform and increase local opportunities for psychological scientists. You can't engage members remotely, and we risk an ever-shrinking membership base if we don't end ineffective traditions. The Association for Psychological Science has already split off and fewer psychologists maintain APA membership over their careers. Less than half of licensed psychologists are APA members. As president, I'll bring psychologists an APA they'll value and want to stand up and fight with.
We must continue the process of healing from two wars. Military psychologists should be thanked for their service and defended from being placed in ethically challenging situations. Also, APA's position should never be even in a gray area when it comes to human rights. I'll personally invite back with open arms those members who resigned over human rights concerns. We need their passion now for our coming fights, including ensuring that all people have access to the best available care—no matter where they live, how much they make or who their ancestors were.
I earned a PsyD from a professional school and like to talk about evidence-based practice and setting stricter guidelines on the standard of care; if the stereotypes are true then no psychologist will support me. The stereotype of a PsyD wouldn't like that I train professionals in evidence-based practice or that I'm a member of APS. The stereotype of a PhD would be offended by my degree's very existence. When I'm president it will have been 18 years since the one and only other time a PsyD was APA president. However, we know that judgments based on these stereotypes will lead to error. Many psychologists, regardless of their degree, feel that people deserve the highest quality interventions available. PsyD candidates are qualified and dedicated to making a difference in people's lives. They deserve internships and our respect. However, there is more work to be done to promote a professional development process that leads to all practitioners offering quality care.
My business, PsychContinuingEd.com, offers continuing-education courses for psychologists. I started PsychContinuingEd.com with my wife to promote ethical, data-driven decision-making along with maintaining a strong therapeutic alliance. I'm a hockey fan who has lived in New York, Missouri and now Columbus, Ohio. I consult on Social Security disability claims in Ohio's disability determination service. My wife, Jennifer, is originally from Pittsburgh and is a health psychologist with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Our daughter Erin's name was inspired by a trip we took to Ireland. She was born not long after I returned from Mississippi volunteering with the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina. Learn more about me online and at twitter.com/DrFinnerty.
In the future, we'll need more psychologists, not fewer. Psychology saves health-care costs. SAMHSA's statistics reflect millions of Americans who'd access our services if they could just find a way. It makes great business sense for psychologists to open up this market, but it also reflects our ethical principle of justice. We have the greatest opportunity in a generation to bring high-quality, affordable care to the many people who need our help but can't access it; we can't wait or we'll miss our chance. We can't wait to ensure that all Americans have access to quality psychological services. Quality care saves money, improves outcomes and is an integral part of our health care system. This is our moment to tip the scales toward an expectation of evidence-based approaches for everyone. We can no longer afford to scapegoat stereotypes about PsyDs or rest on the organization's status quo. We'll advance effective guidelines that provide clearer communication on the standard of care.
APA can't simply respond passively to changes impacting science and health care. We'll stimulate a culture of innovation in teaching, research and practice, and actively educate and advocate for those innovations. We'll swell an army of locally involved psychological scientists who regularly meet to exchange ideas and provide mentorship and service. We'll identify best practices and new ideas and help connect them to grant funding and the national attention APA can provide. We'll organize practitioners willing to collaborate on psychological science research and explore how interventions work under field conditions. Let's achieve something great together. There are millions in need of the innovative and real solutions you and I can offer. I'm counting on your number one vote this fall. Please review my detailed proposals online, subscribe to my blog for email updates and follow @DrFinnerty on Twitter.