In Brief

Once again, psychology's leaders will meet with their representatives on Capitol Hill to discuss ways to further the profession's agenda as part of the APA Practice Directorate's Annual State Leadership Conference, March 10­13.

"This is the single greatest opportunity where psychology visits Capitol Hill to talk about what is important to the profession," says Michael Sullivan, PhD, assistant executive director for state advocacy in APA's Practice Directorate. "The conference brings together 300 to 400 state leaders to deliver psychology's message to their members of Congress. It's very powerful."

The theme of this year's APA state conference is "Launching the APA Practice Organization: Expanding the Power of Psychology" in celebration of APA's newly created companion organization, which can spend unlimited funds on advocacy on behalf of professional psychology. The conference will highlight ways the organization will benefit all psychology organizations, members and the public that they serve.

APA Executive Director for Professional Practice Russ Newman, PhD, JD, will give the keynote speech on that theme, followed by a panel discussion that will elaborate on how the new companion organization builds on the directorate's traditional advocacy agenda and how it is evaluating innovative ways to expand that agenda, particularly by applying new information technologies.

The State Leadership Conference also offers advocacy training opportunities to guide participants on how to present psychology's case to lawmakers, as well as workshops on ways state and provincial psychological associations (SPPAs) can better serve their constituents.

"These SPPA leaders give up four days of their own time, often four days of practice income, to get leadership training so that they can do more on behalf of their members and their clients," says Sullivan. "They are very dedicated and generous people."

This year's workshops include:

  • Recent developments in Medicare.

  • Implementing diversity initiatives in SPPAs.

  • The latest developments in psychology's "test cases"--legal cases that challenge abusive practices by managed-care companies.

  • Political giving and state political action committees.

The State Leadership Conference will also feature discussions on ways SPPA leaders can connect with political and community leaders; prescriptive authority for psychologists; how to address the needs of "non-metropolitan" members of SPPAs; potential areas of collaboration between states and APA divisions; and ways to encourage graduate student involvement in legislative advocacy.

Among the weekend's highlights is a luncheon address by political analyst, columnist and author Mark Shields, best known for his commentary on "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."

Monitor coverage of the State Leadership Conference will appear in the May issue.

--S. MARTIN