I write this column having just returned from the annual Division Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. Each year the presidents-elect of APA divisions have the opportunity to gather and learn about the opportunities and challenges that await them as division presidents in the following year. The conference provides a wealth of information, but also invaluable networking opportunities and the ability to engage in joint program planning.
Our divisions face an interesting and significant challenge in that 53 percent of our members do not belong to even one division. This seems especially sad, because division membership offers a wealth of opportunities to both grow professionally and to become active in areas of psychological practice, research or social action.
Nearly every division provides members with a newsletter, many publish high-quality peer-reviewed journals, and all offer opportunities to showcase your work or meet colleagues at APA's Annual Convention and at smaller topical meetings.
I asked the participants to jot down a few reasons why a psychologist would want to join their division. This proved an interesting projective test, but here are some of the more interesting features these future presidents cited about the advantages of their division.
Div. 2 (Society for the Teaching of Psychology) provides many free resources to anyone interested in teaching psychology via their well-developed Web site.
Divs. 7 (Developmental) and 20 (Adult Development and Aging) have active programs of awards for junior and senior contributions to the field.
Div. 18 (Public Service) has a new initiative to train public service psychologists in psychopharmacology.
Div. 27 (Society for Community Research and Action) runs a biennial conference on community research and action, plus an active awards program, and Div. 41 (American Psychology-Law Society) does likewise with respect to psycho-legal content.
Divs. 30 (Society of Psychological Hypnosis), 37 (Child, Youth and Family Services), and 38 (Health) run workshops offering continuing-education credit.
Div. 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women) annually sponsors several task forces and affords many opportunities for member involvement.
Div. 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology) offers free downloadable brochures for neuropsychology clinics and practices, and extensive advocacy to protect psychologists' use of technicians.
Div. 43 (Family) offers members access to an inclusive poster session to present their work at convention.
Div. 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues) provides opportunities to learn about the latest developments in multicultural competence and network with colleagues interested in serving diverse populations.
Div. 46 (Media) hosts special interest groups focused on media, new technologies, telehealth and communications.
Div. 47 (Exercise and Sport) offers discounts for members competing in Ray's Race, a five-kilometer fun run held at APA's Annual Convention.
Div. 48 (Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence) hosts working groups on topics related to peace, conflict and violence. The division also offers networking with like-minded colleagues.
Div. 50 (Addictions) sponsors special mentoring opportunities for early-career psychologists.
Div. 54 (Society of Pediatric Psychology) allows its members to earn free continuing-education credit online by answering quizzes based on articles published in its journal.
Div. 55 (American Society for the Advancement of Pharmaco-therapy) provides networking and advocacy for those interested in prescriptive authority and a biopsychosocial focus.
Join your colleagues
As this partial list indicates, division membership offers many attractions in addition to helping with professional growth and networking. I urge each of you who have not yet joined a division to do so. You will not regret it.
To find a full list of APA's divisions point your Web browser to Divisions. You can also read more about the activities of particular APA divisions by reading the Monitor's "A closer look" department in each issue.