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In a changing world, psychology practitioners have to keep up. Health-care reform proposals, demographics, technology and the worries of terrorism and war can all have an impact on psychologists and their patients. The APA Practice Directorate's convention offerings in Toronto aim to give practitioners an edge on practicing today--and in the future.

The session, "Practice 2020: perspectives on the future of professional psychology," on Friday, Aug. 8, 11-12:50 p.m., will outline a number of predictable changes that seem to indicate that the practice of psychology will be quite different in 20 years than it is today. The session will feature four central themes and speakers, in addition to the session chair, Joseph Matarazzo, PhD, of Oregon Health & Science University's School of Medicine, and discussant Sandra Shullman, PhD, managing partner of the Executive Development Group in Columbus, Ohio:

  • Vicki M. Mays, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, will discuss "Psychology and America's changing demographics" and how these changes will affect client populations, needs and competencies for psychologists.

  • Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD, professor and chair of the department of medical humanities and social sciences at Florida State University, will talk about public health and policy development and how these issues relate to emerging scientific literature that could possibly break down the traditional biological bias in health care in her segment, "The biology bias in U.S. health care: Are we on the verge of a paradigm shift?"

  • Leigh W. Jerome, PhD, JD, director of research and training for Pacific Telehealth and Technology Hui, will discuss "The impact of advances in technology and science" on lifespan development, diagnosis, interventions and treatments, and models of practice.

  • Russ Newman, PhD, JD, APA's executive director for professional practice, will talk about the ongoing evolution and expansion of practice, including issues such as behavioral health, prescription authority, diversity and public health in his portion of the session, titled "Anticipating consumer needs in 2020."

Another practice session, "Resilience in the war zones of life," on Saturday, Aug. 9, 9-10:50 a.m., will add to practitioners' toolboxes by sharing information about resilience and its applications to different contexts, such as personal hardships or risks to communities. Col. Larry James, PhD, will talk about how resilience can help military families adjust. Josephine Johnson, PhD, will share how resilience education can potentially deter adolescent substance abuse, and Michael C. Roberts, PhD, Joanna O. Mashunkashey and Montserrat C. Mitchell will touch on how psychologists can be trained to enhance resilience. This session, which is sponsored by the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP), will be immediately followed by a CAPP conversation hour.

In addition to enhancing resilience in patients, some psychologists want to help those people who have been adversely affected by disasters or terrorism. APA's Disaster Response Network (DRN), which was established in 1992 in partnership with the American Red Cross and state psychological associations, can provide a way for trained and licensed psychologists to offer disaster mental health assistance in times of local and national disaster relief. In the session, "APA's Disaster Response Network: community outreach for psychologists," on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2-3:50 p.m., DRN advisory committee members--Susan Silk, PhD, John R. Tassey, PhD, Alma Elder, PhD, Richard A. Heaps, PhD, and Rosemary Schwartzbard, PhD--will focus on "The ABCs of building a state disaster response network," "Developing disaster mental health practice guidelines," "Interest and commitment to trauma work post-9/11," "Disaster mental health and the state DRN: examples from a small state" and "The DRN in Virginia--10 years in perspective." Div. 31 (State Psychological Association Affairs) is sponsoring this session.

Other practice session highlights include:

  • "The 10th annual institute for psychology in the schools," which will focus on resilience in children and adolescents, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 1-5:00 p.m.

  • "Early warning signs of psychologist impairment: prevention and intervention," Saturday, Aug. 9, 12-1:50 p.m.

  • Practice Directorate awardee presentations, such as the Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research winners, Theodore Millon, PhD, and Stanley Sue, PhD; the Distinguished Professional Contributions by a Graduate Student winner, Nmandi Pole; and the Distinguished Professional Contributions in Independent Practice in the Private Sector winner, Philip G. Levendusky, PhD.