Candidates for APA President
Psychology has been very, very good to me! It has allowed me to move almost effortlessly from J.F.K.-inspired adventures in community psychology to independent practice to publishing. Along the way, 30 years of rich friendships have developed, I met Jude (my best friend and partner in all things for the past 36 years), and shared the joys of watching our daughter and son grow into talented, delightful and altogether magnificent adults. What a profession. I love it!
Education: I received my doctorate in clinical psychology from the APA-approved program at the University of Florida (scientist-practitioner model) and completed my clinical-community psychology internship at Southshore (Mass.) Community Mental Health Center.
Practice: I began my career as a psychologist in a community mental health center (CMHC) and later served four years as CMHC director. I was in independent practice as a clinical psychologist from 1974 to 1999.
Publishing: In 1979, Peter A. Keller, PhD, and I founded Professional Resource Press (PRP) to develop books, home study CE programs and other highly applied resources for practicing clinicians. I currently serve as PRP's president. I have authored and edited numerous books, articles and other professional materials.
American Psychological Association: I served nine years on the Council of Representatives, as co-chair of the Finance Committee and as chair of the Caucus of State and Provincial Representatives. I also served as chair of the Public Information Committee and as a member of the Continuing Professional Education Committee. I am a member of the Assembly of Scientist/Practitioner Psychologists, the Society of Clinical Psychology and the divisions of Independent Practice, Social Issues, State Affairs, Psychol-ogy and Law, Men and Masculinity, Psychopharmacology and Psycho-therapy.
Florida Psychological Association (FPA): I was president of FPA, and served 18 years on its Board of Directors, as treasurer and as chair of Florida's political action committee. I have been honored with FPA Awards for Outstanding Contributions to FPA, Distinguished Psychologist and Outstanding Contributions to Professional Psychology, and am the only male to ever receive an FPA Women's Issues award for "selfless dedication to the betterment of women within FPA, as well as APA...as not only a supporter of women and women's issues but as a mentor as well."
Other professional and public service and awards: In 1990, I served on the steering committee and as a participant in the National Conference on Scientist-Practitioner Education and Training for the Professional Practice of Psychology ("The Gainesville Conference"). I also served on the Council of Advisors to the President of the University of Florida, as a member of Sarasota County Florida (SRQ) Commission on the Status of Women and on the SRQ Children and Youth Services Advisory Commission. Gov. Lawton Chiles appointed me to Florida's Twelfth Judicial Circuit (12JC) Judicial Nominating Commission, and I later served on the 12JC's Task Force on Custody Evaluator Guidelines, 12JC Task Force on Shared Parental Responsibility Guidelines and 12JC Community Control Advisory Committee. In 1994, I received the Florida Twelfth Judicial Circuit Judges' Award for Outstanding Service to Children.
Ritt's candidate statement
APA and its members continue to make major contributions to psychological science, training and practice. Visionaries within our profession note the growing array of possibilities for expanding our scope of practice, research opportunities, educational initiatives and public policy advocacy.
However, I am very concerned about the negative perceptions held by many members who are not directly involved in APA governance. They complain that "APA is distant and out-of-touch...not very relevant to my professional life...doesn't seem to care what I think." Although perhaps not accurate, such perceptions need to be addressed and corrected because they obviously impact member satisfaction and can erode participation in council apportionment and presidential elections, convention attendance, membership retention and new member recruitment.
Before I discuss some of the initiatives I will implement if elected, let me note some of the assets that currently exist at APA that make those initiatives possible:
APA's dedicated, hardworking and talented staff. They serve us well and guide the implementation of policies, procedures and governance initiatives.
The psychologist members of APA's many boards, committees and task forces who volunteer countless hours of service for psychology and the association.
If elected, I will ask members to answer the question: "What can APA do for you?" Two of my first initiatives will be:
To develop a broad-based working group that can use APA's existing research and quick survey capabilities to assess a wide range of member expectation, satisfaction and quality improvement variables; disseminate the findings to all constituencies; and facilitate dialogue on possibilities for constructive changes.
To encourage divisions and state and provincial associations to identify, nominate, support and mentor members who have never served in APA governance but who have the insights, knowledge and skills to help grow new ideas and behaviors within APA.