Candidates for APA President
Gerald P. Koocher was born and raised in Cambridge, Mass. He completed his BA degree in psychology at Boston University (1968), and his MA (1970) and PhD (1972) in clinical psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. From 1971 through 2001, he served successively as an intern, postdoctoral fellow and ultimately as chief of psychology at Boston's Children's Hospital and Judge Baker Children's Center. During this period, he also served as a full-time faculty member (associate professor) at Harvard Medical School. In June 2001, Koocher became professor and dean of the School for Health Studies at Simmons College (Boston).
Licensed in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Koocher has conducted a part-time independent practice in clinical and forensic psychology for more than 30 years. He has also served as principal investigator on competitively funded research grants from several private foundations and four federal agencies. He remains active in the classroom at Simmons College, teaching an undergraduate course in child development and public policy; at Boston College, teaching ethics and professional issues to doctoral students in counseling psychology; and at Harvard Medical School, lecturing and supervising interns and postdoctoral fellows.
Koocher is a fellow of 12 APA divisions and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the only psychologist to have earned five specialty diplomas from the American Board of Professional Psychology (clinical, clinical child/adolescent, family, forensic and health psychology). He is founder and editor of the journal Ethics & Behavior and previously served as editor of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology and The Clinical Psychologist. He has published more than 150 articles and book chapters and authored or edited eight books. His areas of expertise include adaptation to chronic and life-threatening illness in childhood (especially cancer, cystic fibrosis and diabetes), coping with bereavement and loss, psychological assessment, professional and scientific ethics, and mental health malpractice.
Active in professional affairs, Koocher served as president of the Massachusetts and New England Psychological Associations and of APA Divs. 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology), 29 (Psychotherapy) and 37 (Child, Youth and Family Services). He also served as president of the Societies of Pediatric Psychology and Clinical Child Psychology (now Divs. 53 and 54). He currently serves as treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of APA (1995-2004). In that capacity, he has chaired the Finance and Investment Committees of APA while serving ex-officio on the Publications and Communications Board, Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice and APA Insurance Trust for 10 years.
Koocher received the APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Public Service in 1992. He has also received the Nicholas Hobbs Award for Distinguished Contributions to Children's Services, the Karl F. Heiser APA Presidential Award for state advocacy, the Robert Chin Memorial Award of APA Div. 9 (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues), the Florence Halpern Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Clinical Psychology and a Presidential Citation for his service to APA.
Koocher's candidate statement
I enjoy treating clients, researching new ways of making a difference in people's lives, teaching the next generation of psychologists and advocating for psychology. As president, I would focus on family in the broadest sense both within and outside psychology. We face many external threats and cannot afford to feud with each other. We must begin within our own family, communicating, tending and befriending. I believe that we must:
Communicate more effectively with members and psychologists who have become disaffected or chosen not to join.
Tend to the needs of our junior colleagues who often begin careers facing significant student-loan debt, barriers to practice entry, and mobility problems by advocating for increased educational funding and loan-forgiveness programs, while supporting national licensing mobility.
Expand the scope of psychological practice into new health-care arenas, including prescribing privileges, work with the justice system and electronic service-delivery; supporting and encouraging practice wherever psychologists add value and quality.
Confront threats to scientific integrity and in research funding. Politicians continue trying to impose ideological restrictions on research. We cannot remain silent and must ally with colleagues from other fields to advocate for scholarly integrity and freedom of inquiry.
Begin an infusion of inclusion within APA by tending to all segments of American psychology, especially those too long marginalized by social and economic factors; reaching out to underrepresented groups, including minority-based psychological associations forging new collaborations.
Assuring that colleagues from other nations feel welcome in the family of psychology.
Bring psychological knowledge about improving family life prominently into the public forum, including public policy, health, employment, education and interpersonal relationships.
Healthy, well-adjusted people build better societies, and improving societal institutions builds better people. Psychology has much to contribute, and we must do a better job of making these potential contributions self-evident.