Candidates for APA President
How would you use the position of APA president as a key spokesperson for American psychology?
The president should create opportunities for representing American psychology to the public and to policy-makers by chairing and sponsoring--alone or in partnership (a member of Congress, AAAS or FBPCS)--a series of special symposium-like events, each with experts focusing on one critical issue in health, welfare, education, and science. In the right venue, on Capitol Hill, congressional members and staffers and the media attend. One should speak only on issues for which there is relevant psychological evidence and an articulated APA position and should limit the topics on which to speak, so as not to diffuse our messages.
How can psychology increase its influence on public policy?
We must communicate. Above, I have suggested one possible vehicle. But how shall we communicate? I think we should move away from reliance upon Council resolutions supported in long series of "Whereas..." and "Therefore we resolve..."--which are commonly seen as one-sided polemics. Rather, APA should focus on communicating careful meta-type analyses of the psychological evidence we have on critical issues challenging the government, the public and individuals. Such analyses and the conclusions they support reported in readable narrative should be widely circulated to national and state leaders and media. APA is a scholarly community; it should act like it.