Commitment to science?

The figure on practicum student activities (January Monitor) demonstrates why science-minded psychologists question APA's commitment to science, especially among its practice members. The figure shows that students in doctoral programs and internships spent about 5 percent of their time in activities called "supervised program evaluation and research." This would amount to about two hours in a 40-hour week, suggesting a minimal commitment to research even when applied evaluation is included.

The statistics reflect poorly on APA, as well, to the extent that APA monitors and guides the activities of clinical doctoral programs and practicum sites. Presumably, the monitoring process has failed to determine that the virtual absence of supervised research activity represented some lack in the programs, which I suspect is the conclusion that many experimental psychologists would draw.

Advocates of the status quo might argue that practica are the applied aspects of programs and are somehow balanced by other research-oriented activities. But for this argument to carry weight would seem to require a heavy emphasis on research in non-practicum activities, which seems implausible given the excessive course-load demands of clinical programs.

Until clinical and other areas of applied psychology take seriously the possibility of scientific foundations for their practice activities, psychology should not be too surprised to find that professions outside of psychology are likewise indifferent to the riches of scientific psychology.

University of Winnipeg

A word on pharmaceutical ads

The Monitor provides a service to members by alerting them to current research findings. In the January issue, the articles on cardiac psychology and the potential link between estrogen and memory were particularly well written. The authors presented a comprehensive overview of the work of a number of researchers on each topic. However, I was (am) appalled by the glossy three-page ad insert for 12-hour methylphenidate. We are psychologists, not psychiatrists.

The plethora of malpractice insurance ads are enough of an irritant without drug promotion. With these forms of advertisement, the Monitor risks crossing the boundary from science to huckster.

Western Washington University

Passion and compassion

I was pleased to open my January Monitor and see Dr. Joe White's smiling face. As a psychology undergraduate at UC Irvine, an advisor recommended I take Dr. White's "Urban Adolescents in American Culture" class. His approach and teaching in that course demonstrated his passion and compassion for adolescents. For those three hours one night a week, students were taken on a historical and theoretical journey into adolescence and into Dr. White's own experience with racism. His depictions were not only captivating but motivational to support systemic change.

Subsequently, I took the only other course he taught, "Adolescent Psychological Disorders," which tapped into his vast knowledge of clinical theory and methods. My own interest in adolescence was sparked by Dr. White. Just before I became a faculty member, I ran into him at the APA Convention. I was thrilled to tell him that, in the fall, I would be teaching in a department of child and adolescent studies because of him. Thank you, Dr. Joe White!

California State University, Fullerton

Thanks for the policy update

I would like to commend APA's Public Policy Office for providing a summary of the critical federal appropriations passed by the 106th Congress in the February Monitor. As a graduate student who has become increasingly aware of how political and social forces shape the direction of psychological research, education and public interest (but who has little time to watch C-SPAN), I appreciated the detailed update of legislative events. I strongly believe it is my professional responsibility and personal interest to stay abreast of the relevant legislative actions of the current administration. It would be helpful to see similar updates included in future publications.

University of Missouri­Columbia