President's Column

President's Column

In this column space last month, I wrote about my presidential initiative, "Making Psychology a Household Word," and the role that you, as an APA member would have to play in this project if it was going to be successful. The Household Word Task Force, chaired by Dr. Ruth Paige and co-chaired by Drs. Jessica Henderson Daniel and Tom DeMaio, and assisted by APA public relations and public communications staff, has been hard at work over the past four months laying the groundwork for this important initiative.

As you read last month, the household word project is based on a "train the trainers" model. Our goal is to assist as many APA members as possible to become (or to continue to be) "ambassadors" for psychology by making use of the public education materials available through the association and by brushing up on their public presentation and media skills.

We invite all interested APA members to attend a "household word" training session to learn more about the available public education materials and what makes for successful public education presentations. These trainings will focus on a few key skills:

  • Public education presentation skills and some general "dos and don'ts" about communicating with the public.

  • Tips for preparing for news media interviews and what makes for successful encounters with the news media.

  • How to translate psychological expertise into information the public can relate to and put to use in their daily lives.

  • Ideas for community outreach and public education opportunities in your community.

These training sessions will familiarize members with the excellent public education materials available through APA. The training will include an overview of the APA public education tool-kit materials available for use as the framework for public education presentations to community groups in schools, churches, synagogues, community health fairs, Rotary clubs, etc.

Our initial announcement of the plan for the initiative has been well received. I want to thank those members who have contacted us by e-mail to express their enthusiasm and their willingness to not only attend a training session but also take a leadership role in training others within their home communities.

We held our first training session at last month's APA consolidated governance meetings. It was well attended and the excitement about "getting out there" to talk to consumers about the value of psychology was very much evident.

A second training session will be held at APA's Annual Convention in August. Everyone is welcome to attend this session. (We are in the process of arranging for continuing-education credit for the session for those who so desire.) In the meantime and throughout the year, you can go to the president's page on the APA Web site to read updates about the "household word" project. We will also post the dates and locations of future training sessions as they are arranged.

A second component of the "household word" initiative involves building grassroots support for several radio public service announcements (PSAs) being produced by APA. These recorded PSA messages focus on the connection between the mind and the body. The PSAs are designed to educate the public about the importance of the mind/body connection and lay the foundation for the rest of the "Mind/Body Health" phase of APA's ongoing public education campaign. This new phase of the campaign shines a spotlight on psychology's critical role in general health care. This is an important message, but it will only have impact if heard by the public. We are asking those active in the household word project as well as the ongoing APA public education campaign to contact radio stations in their hometown media markets and encourage stations to play the PSA messages.

In future issues of the Monitor on Psychology you'll read more about the "household word" initiative as well as psychologists who are making a difference in their communities and their profession through activities designed to educate the public about the power of psychology. I hope you'll be inspired by these stories and decide to join the effort.

Our goal for the year is for 1,000 APA members to make a consumer education presentation about the value of psychology in their home communities. I think you'll find doing so a rewarding experience. I also believe the community members who learn more about how psychology can help them with the challenges of everyday living will find the information valuable--maybe even life changing.