Public Policy Update

APA's Public Policy Office (PPO) wishes to thank APA members and other advocates who contributed their time, expertise and energy to make psychology's voice heard on Capitol Hill. Your participation in such activities as presenting testimony at congressional hearings, briefings and exhibits, meeting with members of Congress and other staff, attending advocacy training workshops and serving on federal agency panels has been instrumental in ensuring that the expertise of psychologists is considered in important federal policy matters.

We thank you for your active involvement--members of Congress seldom act on legislation without hearing directly from their constituents--and look forward to collaborating with you in the coming year to advance issues of importance to psychology on Capitol Hill.

Here is a wrap-up of this year's advocacy efforts:


Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program

Despite an incredibly challenging federal budget cycle, education advocacy staff sustained last year's funding level for the GPE program, even while funding for other programs was drastically reduced or eliminated. The GPE program, the first federal initiative solely dedicated to psychology education and training, trains health-service psychologists to work with underserved populations, including the elderly, children and the chronically ill. Thanks to the help of our grassroots network and our champions in Congress, Reps. Bill Young (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, $3 million will be allocated for GPE and $1.5 million for geropsychology training grants in fiscal year 2004. Moreover, the Senate appropriations report, through the help of Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), includes language that specifically recognizes the value of the GPE program and supports its continuation.

Over the past year, psychologists have made more than 150 visits to their elected members of Congress to urge support for the GPE Program. PPO thanks these advocates, including Herb Goldstein, PhD, who has been instrumental in gaining the support of Rep. Young, as well as Laura Barbanel, EdD, Kathleen Kendall Tackett, PhD, Art McDonald, PhD, David Powers, PhD, Patricia Morokoff, PhD, Timothy Blaney, PsyD, Joe Hatcher, PhD, Michael Dougher, PhD, and GPE grantees Brad Hudson, PsyD, Bob Archer, PhD, Barbara Cubic, PhD, Dean Kilpatrick, PhD, Gary Fireman, PhD, Jeff Baker, PhD, Tom Power, PhD, and Paul Robins, PhD. Other members came in groups for advocacy training and hill visits, such as members of the Council of Chairs of Training Councils (CCTC), including Emil Rodolfa, PhD, Lee Cooper, PhD, Craig Shealy, PhD, Cynthia Baum, PhD, Michael Roberts, PhD, and Sue Jacobs, PhD.

Moreover, as part of the annual Education Leadership Conference (ELC), more than 60 APA members made Capitol Hill visits in early September. Leading the charge were Federal Education Advocacy Coordinators (FEDAC): Sharon Berry, PhD, Kathi Borden, PhD, James Bray, PhD, Pauline Clansy, EdD, Patricia Cole, PhD, Dave Gansler, PhD, Rod Goodyear, PhD, John Klocek, PhD, Mary Jo Loughran, PhD, Lee Nelson, PhD, Gilbert Newman, PhD, Laura Palmer, PhD, and Michael Roberts, PhD. Also making visits during ELC were newly recruited FEDAC campus representatives, APA President-elect Diane Halpern, PhD, and former APA presidents Philip Zimbardo, PhD, and Bonnie Strickland, PhD.

Higher Education Act

APA members also provided critical input to several APA proposals to improve the Higher Education Act (HEA), the law that supports postsecondary education. For example, APA members helped craft a definition of "teaching skills" that was subsequently adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives. Without their efforts, this initiative would not have been so successful. Our thanks to Sylvia Rosenfield, PhD, Susan Goldman, PhD, Steven Little, PhD, Stephen Rollin, EdD, Scott Solberg, PhD, Robert Felner, PhD, Paul Pintrich, PhD, Phil Winne, PhD, Nora Newcombe, PhD, Mary Brabeck, PhD, Linda Forrest, PhD, Lauren Resnick, EdD, Jonathan Sandoval, PhD, Jane Conoley, PhD, Earl Hunt, PhD, Cindy Carlson, PhD, Barry Zimmerman, PhD, Angeleque Little, PhD, Alan Lesgold, PhD, and many others whose hard work significantly advanced the field of psychology in federal education law.

Furthermore, the work of Harvette Grey and Bob Portnoy, PhD, helped to persuade Reps. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Tom Osborne (R-Neb.) to introduce an APA-offered HEA amendment to authorize federal support for campus centers that provide mental and behavioral health services to students. In addition, PPO thanks Emil Rodolfa, PhD, for his expertise and information-gathering as an early champion of APA's HEA counseling center initiative. Other psychologists who have been critical on this front include: Sherry Benton, PhD, Rebecca MacNair-Semands, PhD, Karen Lese-Fowler, PhD, Louise Douce, PhD, Michael Johnston, EdD, Robert Hatcher, PhD, and other members of APA Div. 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology).


Children, youth and families

Psychologists Larry Aber, PhD, Cybele Raver, PhD, Diana Slaughter-Dafoe, PhD, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa, PhD, participated in a congressional briefing on "The Head Start advantage," co-sponsored by APA, the Society for Research in Child Development and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. They provided a strong research basis for retaining federal control of the Head Start program and its well-established components and performance standards.

Michael Cohen, PhD, a developmental psychologist and member of New York City's crisis response team, presented at a congressional briefing on adolescents and trauma co-sponsored by APA and the College Board titled, "How traumatic events worldwide are affecting adolescents' decisions about postsecondary education."


Susan Benjamin Feingold, PsyD, spoke at a Chicago news conference with Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and the Postpartum Depression Illinois Alliance in support of the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act (H.R. 846). This legislation would direct the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to expand research on the causes of postpartum depression and would fund grants to increase services for the diagnosis and treatment of postpartum depression.

Ethnic minorities

Henry Tomes, PhD, executive director of APA's Public Interest Directorate, presented on "Affirmative action in health professions training and its impact on health care," a congressional briefing sponsored by Rep. Donna Christian-Christensen (D-Virgin Islands), chair of the Health Braintrust of the Congressional Black Caucus, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Institute of Medicine report "Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare."

People with disabilities

William Haley, PhD, presented psychological research findings on caregiving's effects on stress, health and emotional well-being, and the benefits of respite services, at a congressional briefing on "Providing life-span respite care: Vital support for family caregivers." In a follow-up visit with staff of his elected official, Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Haley urged passage of the Lifespan Respite Care Act (S. 538/H.R. 1083), introduced by Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and John Warner (R-Va.), and Reps. James Langevin (D-R.I.) and James Greenwood (R-Pa.).

Older adults

Donna Cohen, PhD, and Jane Pearson, PhD, testified on elder homicide and suicide at a hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, titled "Senior depression: Life-saving mental health treatments for older Americans" and chaired by Sen. John Breaux (D-La.).

Steve Zarit, PhD, presented a statement to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) National Advisory Mental Health Council applauding the final report of the Aging Workgroup and recommending that NIMH reinstate its Aging Branch and increase funding for aging research.

President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health

Three APA members--Deanna Yates, PhD, Stephen Mayberg, PhD, and Larke Huang, PhD--were appointed by President Bush last year to serve on this landmark mental health commission. The commission's final report was presented to the president and released in July. APA policy staff members are now working with Congress, the Bush administration and other mental health organizations to implement the report's recommendations.


Testimony in support of research

Timothy Wilson, PhD, testified at a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in support of increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Darlene Howard, PhD, presented APA's testimony regarding funding for the National Institutes of Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the GPE program to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Steve Sellman, PhD, testified on behalf of APA before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, focusing on proposed cuts to Department of Defense (DoD) research budgets and highlighting the valuable contributions of psychological scientists funded by the agency.

Department of Defense

Gerald Krueger, PhD, Col. Robert Roland, PsyD, and Howard Weiss, PhD, gave presentations highlighting the role of psychology in military operations, addressing research relating to human factors and the ongoing needs for more effective equipment, repatriation of prisoners of war and military family issues at a congressional briefing co-sponsored by APA and the office of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), titled "Psychological science in support of the soldier." See page 22 for more information

Science advocacy workshop

Military psychologists from around the country came to APA headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in this year's science advocacy workshop: "Psychological science and the military." Participants in the weekend training included James Callan, PhD, Janis Cannon-Bowers, PhD, Nancy Cooke, PhD, William Howell, PhD, Dennis Kowal, PhD, Gerald Krueger, PhD, Sandra Marshall, PhD, Kevin Murphy, PhD, Mike Paley, PhD, Elaine Pulakos, PhD, Karlene Roberts, PhD, William Strickland, PhD, Jennifer Vendemia, PhD, and Stephen Zaccaro, PhD. The workshop participants put their training to the test when they met with their congressional delegations to advocate for increased DoD behavioral research funding for fiscal year 2005. The participants also attended the APA-McCain briefing (see above).

Tobacco control

Jack Henningfield, PhD, Dorothy Hatsukami, PhD, and Lynn Kozlowski, PhD, testified before the House Government Reform Committee at a hearing addressing the public health impact of tobacco and regulatory challenges of reduced-risk tobacco products. Their testimony addressed questions about whether smokeless tobacco offered a safer alternative to smoking and advocated for governmental regulation of all tobacco and nicotine products.

Education disparities

Rebecca Marcon, PhD, and Patricia O'Reilly, PhD, presented research findings and policy recommendations for improving student academic performance at a congressional briefing co-sponsored by APA and the Consortium of Social Science Associations titled, "Enhancing educational performance: Social, motivational and cultural factors."

NSF Reception on Capitol Hill

APA showcased psychological research funded by NSF at a Capitol Hill exhibit and reception. APA's exhibitor, Linda Jackson, PhD, presented results from her HomeNetToo project, which examines the effects of home Internet use on low-income families.

Further Reading

Have you been called upon by Congress to participate in the policy-making process? APA's Public Policy Office will assist you in promoting psychological research, psychology education and psychology in the public interest. For more information, visit the PPO Web site or contact us at (202) 336-6062; e-mail: Public Policy Office.