Education Leadership Conference

Education Leadership Conference (ELC) attendees honored Rep. Ralph Regula's (D-Ohio) chief of staff Lori Rowley, a major contributor to the success of the Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program, which supports graduate programs that train health-service psychologists to work with underserved populations.

At a reception held in the historic Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill, APA officials paid tribute to Rowley for tipping the scales in GPE's favor by advising Regula--chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education--to support the program.

"During the last two budget cycles, [Rowley] has worked to ensure that this program not only continues but also receives significant funding," said APA's Past-president Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD, who presented the honor.

In her talk, Rowley advised ELC attendees to make further advocacy inroads on GPE and other psychology initiatives through home district-based relationships with their senators and representatives.

"When we first began talking about establishing this program in the Bureau of Health Professions, we heard about it first from the folks here in Washington," she said. "But then we heard about it from a psychologist at home in Canton, Ohio--someone who was familiar to us and from our district." That psychologist gave GPE a significant boost by pointing out how the program could make a direct impact on constituents' health back in Regula's home district, Rowley explained.

Rowley gave participants a rundown of the appropriations process and explained that funding is competitive during a tight budget year such as this one. GPE, she noted, competes with early childhood education programs, student loan programs, services for older Americans and initiatives of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

"The competition is stiff, and it will continue to get stiff and be stiffer," said Rowley. "The question is how to stand out....While the people you have here in Washington are outstanding workers on your behalf, you are all ambassadors for the programs you care about."