Candidates for APA President
My work as a psychologist spans practice to public policy. In 2000, I founded a national health policy nonprofit, America's HealthTogether. Funded by several of the nation's major health foundations, we address the mental health component of shared public disasters, strive to strengthen philanthropic investment in mental health, assure that mental health is on the global health agenda, and educate the public about universal health care. Along with other groups such as Opportunity Agenda and the Center for the Advancement of Health, we emphasize social justice in health care. Today, I combine this policy work with clinical practice in Seattle.
With two small sons in tow, I received my PhD in clinical psychology from the University of South Dakota in 1984. For 10 years, I coordinated behavioral sciences for a family practice residency affiliated with the University of Washington. In 1994, I ran for the Washington State legislature, finishing second. I lost the election, but found my commitment to public service and public policy. I was an APA Congressional Science Fellow in 1995-96 and went on to serve as senior health policy advisor to former U.S. Senators Bill Bradley and Paul Wellstone. I was the lead congressional staff for the Newborns' and Mothers' Health Protection Act of 1996 and co-led the staff effort to assure mental health parity in the 1997 creation of the Child Health Insurance Program.
I coordinated health policy for Bill Bradley's 2000 presidential primary campaign, and, because I had lived in South Dakota, it was decided that I knew agriculture and was assigned to develop the blueprint for the campaign's agriculture policy.
In 2005, I chaired APA President Ronald Levant's presidential initiative, Health Care for the Whole Person. Currently, I chair the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest and am the president-elect of Div. 43. I served as the 2004 president of Div. 31 (State, Provincial and Territorial Psychological Associations), the 1999 chair of the Committee of State Leaders, and the 1993 president of the Washington State Psychological Association.
I am an editor of Primary Care Psychology and editor of the Family Health and Public Policy Department for Families, Systems, and Health.
In addition to the integration of psychology and primary care and disaster mental health, I am committed to addressing family caregiving issues, especially in caring for older Americans. Until December, 2006, I served as co-chair of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter's National Family Caregiving Report Card project.
I am a potter and a former soccer player. I am writing a book called "Dr. Benson's Animal Hospital," the true story of a vet who has practiced for 54 years on the same street corner in Bethesda, Md.Heldring's candidate statement
Psychology is many things. Striving to speak with one voice on behalf of the range of our interests and the many calls for our science and practice is our paramount duty.
I have five priorities for psychology today:
Create. This is the call for imagination. Looking to the future, it is difficult to believe that psychology tomorrow will look like psychology today. The questions are what do we want to look like by 2025 or 2050 and how will we get there?
Unite. With my strong background in public interest and practice, I believe psychology must be about more than psychology. Each part of us, science, education, public interest and practice, is fundamental to the whole. We should value serving the public interest.
Collaborate. Whether it is with primary care and other health-care providers on a clinical level or with other professional organizations on a policy level, the most promising future belongs to those who integrate, blend and form partnerships. At the same time that we reclaim psychology, we must demonstrate collaboration.
Be about social justice and public health. Stay focused on the progress we are making to prioritize diversity within psychology. Step up to the abuses of human rights, such as the separation of immigrant families in the United States. This is not a time for too much caution. I believe we should explore a new dimension to our identity, and that is as a component of public health.
Go global. Understand that psychology must be a part of global health actions. Whether through nonprofit, corporate or governmental initiatives, we have our familiar struggle to educate funders and policy-makers about the contributions psychology can make and the universal need to train local mental health workers in stressed communities around the world.