I am the Dr. Laurie Sands Distinguished Professor of Families and Health, director of the Institute for the Family in the department of psychiatry, associate chair of the department of family medicine, and director of the Patient- and Family-Centered Care Coaching Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Roots: Raised in the South, my values and career were shaped by the disparities I witnessed at an early age. My father was a physician who believed health care is a right; my mother was a homemaker and arts activist. In that mix, I learned the importance of science, humanism, creativity, public service and leadership to promote change. My college (Duke) and graduate school (University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill) education planted the seeds of my career, which focuses on patient- and family-centered health care, reducing health-care disparities, physician-patient communication and leadership training.
Experience in integrated care: Following internship (University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston) and postdoctoral training (Texas Research Institute for Mental Sciences) in 1980, I joined the faculty at the University of Rochester departments of psychiatry and family medicine, where I was the first female and first non-MD. In family medicine, I applied psychological science to primary-care practice. In 1985 because we were not successful in referring our diverse, low-income patients for mental health care, we initiated psychological services onsite. After eight years in independent practice, I moved my practice into this clinic. The program flourishes, providing behavioral health care to patients and families and training for psychology students, interns, fellows and later career members. Psychology faculty and fellows headquartered in the Institute for the Family now do clinical work, teaching and research in family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics and surgery.
Research/scholarship: My scholarship focuses on integrated care, including over 100 peer-reviewed publications, 15 books and several videotapes for APA about primary care, infertility and family therapy. My early research focused on patient trust, emotion and depression in primary care. Recently, I've focused on patient-centered communication. This research became the basis of a Physician Faculty Communication Coaching Program that I direct, now with four other psychologists.
Leadership: I was the first psychologist to represent APA at the Department of Health and Human Services Primary Care Policy Fellowship. I represented the University of Rochester School of Medicine at the Executive Leadership program for Women in Academic Medicine. I was president of Div. 43 (Society for Family Psychology) and chair of APA's Publications and Communications Board. I have been a member of APA's Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice, Council of Representatives and Board of Directors. I chaired the Presidential Inter-organizational Work Group on Developing Primary Care Psychology Competencies.
I hope to bring my broad leadership experience to serve as APA president and address the pragmatic issues psychology faces. To lead psychology into the future, we must strengthen our identity as psychologists and develop strong alliances with other health professional organizations to further our agenda in practice, science, education and public interest. For more information, go to Susan McDaniel for APA.
McDaniel's candidate statement
I am running for APA president because I believe I'm the right person at the right time. I recognize mental and physical health as inseparable, and see this fact emerging as critical now in how we view health and change health care. Emotions and behavioral choices are integral to illness, health and wellness. So many solutions are psychological in nature. Our science backs the use of psychotherapy and behavioral interventions to help solve the looming health-care crisis.
We have the opportunity to contribute to a responsive health-care system that facilitates people using our clinical, consulting and coaching services; focuses on evidence-based practice; and recognizes the importance of psychological research and psychology as a STEM discipline. Doing so will demonstrate our value in the new system. The challenge is two-fold: 1) To be clear about whom we are as leaders in science, practice, education and policy, and 2) To extend our reach working with other disciplines and organizations.
To address these challenges, I will promote psychology and psychologists through two broad initiatives:
- Psychologists as leaders. This initiative will develop a blueprint for APA's Leadership Training Programs: preparing psychologists as leaders in team science, inter-professional practice, interdisciplinary education and advocacy to increase diversity and reduce health disparities.
- Psychology in health care. APA defines psychological practice as a health profession. To achieve inclusion of psychology in comprehensive health care, we must strengthen alliances between APA and other health professional organizations. Drawing on my relationships with the leaders of primary-care organizations, APA will convene an inter-professional group to examine the roles, effectiveness, satisfaction, quality measures and science necessary for collaborative, integrated health care that reduces disparities and cost.
Through leadership and collaboration, together we will expand the reach of psychology and the influence of psychologists. Please visit my website.
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