President's Column

My grandmother became a nurse in 1917 when she was 34 and had four children. It was her response to WW I and her husband's death. My father went to the front lines in WW II as part of the medical corps. For both, their passion was bringing health to others. Their challenge was war.

First of all, I want to thank all of you for this year. For the challenges and the friendships, for the opportunity to serve psychology-this discipline I love. I'm proud of all the accomplishments of psychology and I'm in awe of the responsiveness of psychology during this time of terror, trauma and war for our country and the nations of this world.

Women's leadership.

As APA's ninth woman president, I have felt the responsibility and the pleasure in being able to bring a woman's leadership to this position. A style, I might add, that is shared by many men in our organization.

Jan Yoder and Alice Eagly are but a few of those who have written about the importance of considering that leadership itself is gendered and is enacted within a gendered context. Of primal importance to the effectiveness of any woman leader is utilizing a range of leadership styles appropriate for the context. Two of the traditional characteristics of women's leadership are consensus building and inclusiveness. For me that meant bringing together the diverse constituencies of psychology in a conversation on the issues and as decisive participants in policy-making such as my regular monthly phone consultations with council caucus chairs.

As APA president, I faced a daunting range of issues, beginning with the challenge of positioning psychology as a health discipline and culminating with the trauma, terror and aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

In health.

I engaged the challenge of positioning psychology as a health discipline by establishing two presidential initiatives, "Psychology Builds a Healthy World" and "Expanding Opportunities in Psychology Science and Practice." Valuing inclusiveness and empowerment were paramount in decisions about the content and the participants of these initiatives, which represented the breadth and depth of our psychology science, practice, public policy, multicultural scholarship and education.

The result of shared leadership coalesced at APA's 2001 Annual Convention in San Francisco where co-chairs Barry Anton, PhD, Jean Chin, PhD, Carol Goodheart, EdD, Rodney Hammond, PhD, Cheryl Travis, PhD, and Karen Zager, PhD, facilitated a rich and varied array of programming that drew record numbers of participants and outstanding evaluations of the quality of the offerings. The outcomes of the initiatives will be lasting products in multiple media-print, visual and online.

There were so many convention highlights, which can be seen in this Monitor edition. For one, I will long savor the opportunity I had to share the stage with four women APA presidents. Giving Presidential Citations to Dorothy Cantor, Florence Denmark and Bonnie Strickland as well as presenting the 2001 APA Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology to Janet Spence was like a dream come true.

In war.

Sept. 11 refocused many of APA's priorities. In order to respond to the need of the public for information about trauma and terror, APA established a multipronged effort in responsiveness. November's Monitor highlighted these efforts, among them, the partnership with the Red Cross and the Disaster Response Network (DRN), coordinated by Marguerite Schroeder, APA's DRN director, and the vast numbers of our members who responded to the call for trained help in trauma work. In the wake of the attack, decisions needed to be made to respond to the crisis quickly and decisively to balance safety, to respond to changing priorities, and to keep the membership and governance informed.

As APA's president, I was asked to be one of the spokespersons in this effort. Within 24 hours of the attacks APA media staff had made arrangements for an APA radio message from me that would be available to hundreds of affiliate stations. In the weeks afterwards I did several television shows, including a nationwide segment on CNN.

Being APA's ninth woman president in 107 years has been a powerful and life-changing experience. As the psychology and health agenda moves forward and as psychology demonstrates once again that it is one of the essential disciplines in the creation of knowledge and in the practices for the spectrum of world issues today, I will treasure this opportunity.