Upfront

Top to bottom: William C. Schoenhard; (left to right) Dr. Manuel Garcia, Dr. Randy Phelps, and Dr. Russell Lemle; Dr. Suzanne Bennett Johnson (Photos by Lalo Garcia)Enhancing mental health services within the Department of Veterans Affairs is a national priority, according to William C. Schoenhard, deputy undersecretary for health for operations and management of the VA Central Office. In his keynote address at the 15th annual VA Psychology Leadership Conference, held April 11–14 in San Antonio, Schoenhard also recognized the integral importance of mental health to the VA's health-care system and the broad roles psychologists play.

The annual conference, sponsored by APA's Practice Directorate, the Association of VA Psychologist Leaders and APA's Div. 18 (Psychologists in Public Service), gives psychology leaders a forum to discuss the best ways to improve care for the nation's veterans.

This year's conference highlighted new developments in technology-assisted mental health service delivery and the importance of evidence-based treatments. APA President Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD, presented a keynote address on the move many psychologists are making from the exclusive provision of mental health services to work on integrated health-care teams. Johnson spoke about the VA's leadership in developing and disseminating models of integrated care and providing training models and opportunities for inter-professional practice. She also discussed the obesity epidemic among members of the military and their dependents.