APA opened its 113th Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., with plenty of political star power. Sen. Tom Harkin and Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams welcomed attendees to the city, and Williams proclaimed August 15-21--the week of the convention--to be "psychology week" in the nation's capital.
Several psychologists also welcomed attendees--including APA President Ronald F. Levant, EdD, APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD, and District of Columbia Psychological Association Secretary Rona M. Fields, PhD.
The evening continued with awards and citations and was capped off with a musical performance by folk singer Arlo Guthrie, who stopped by on his "Alice's Restaurant" 40th anniversary tour.
APA and D.C., a fruitful partnership
Anderson kicked off the evening with the good news that Washington, D.C., has extended the association's annual 50 percent real estate tax abatement--currently worth about $1 million per year.
The district first granted APA the tax abatement in the early 1990s, when APA built its headquarters in a then-underutilized neighborhood near Union Station. In exchange for continuing the tax abatement, Anderson said, APA has agreed to bring its Annual Convention to Washington, D.C., every three years once it fulfills its contracts with other convention cities. "This is a win-win situation for everyone," Anderson said.
Mayor Williams voiced his agreement with that sentiment.
"I appreciate the role that major associations play in our city, both for economic reasons and as a voice of conscience," he said.
Levant presented citations and awards to several psychologists who worked this year on his presidential initiatives on evidence-based practice in psychology, health care for the whole person, making psychology a household word and enhancing diversity. The recipients were:
Carol Goodheart, EdD, chair of the APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology and APA's treasurer.
Margaret Heldring, PhD, chair of the APA Presidential Task Force on Health Care for the Whole Person.
Ruth Ullmann Paige, PhD, chair of the APA Presidential Task Force on Making Psychology a Household Word and APA's recording secretary.
Richard M. Suinn, PhD, chair of the APA Presidential Task Force on Enhancing Diversity, recipient of this year's Raymond D. Fowler Award for Outstanding Contributions to APA members and 1999 APA president.
Levant also presented four presidential Latina/o leadership citations for students and early-career psychologists, which were made possible by a grant from Carlos Albizu University. The recipients included:
Juan Carlos Arango, PhD, for his work on rehabilitation of memory in Hispanics with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and his work creating a Spanish-language support group for TBI survivors and their families.
Miguel E. Gallardo, PsyD, for his work as a founding member and president of the California Latina/o Psychological Association and as an advocate for Latino psychology.
Evelinn A. Borrayo, PhD, for her research on ethnic minorities, women and the elderly, particularly on health-care factors relevant to community preventive and long-term services.
Lisa Sánchez-Johnsen, PhD, for her research on using culturally tailored behavioral interventions to improve cancer-related outcomes in Latinos.
Levant also awarded a presidential citation to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) for his work advocating for mental health parity and behavioral and social science research. In his acceptance, Harkin described his interest in wellness and disease prevention.
"We don't have a health-care system in America--we have a sick-care system," Harkin said. "If you get sick you can get care, but what is there to keep you healthy in the first place?"
He described the legislation he introduced last year, the Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention (HeLP) America Act, which he said aims to reorient America's health-care system from its focus on disease treatment to a focus on promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing chronic disease.
Media in the spotlight
Peter Sheras, PhD, president of APA's Div. 46 (Media) and Elizabeth Carll, PhD, past-president of Div. 46 and chair of its News Media, Public Education and Public Policy Committee, presented the 2005 News Media Recognition Award to the producers and on-air cast of CBS News's "The Early Show," for the show's reporting on psychological information and research.
"The news media has great influence in shaping public opinion and ultimately public policy," said Carll, who praised "The Early Show" for its mental health and wellness stories. "The show's psychological perspective has had a broad focus relating to health, family and relationships, as well as helping to understand world events."
News anchor Harry Smith accepted the award via video clip, thanking APA for the honor and explaining the show's goals: "On 'The Early Show' we try to break through the clutter for our audience," he said.
A lifetime of achievement
Finally, Levant presented the APA Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology to Judith Rodin, PhD, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation and former president of the University of Pennsylvania.
"Your distinguished scientific career is marked by decades of interdisciplinary work, integrating psychosocial and biomedical factors that influence health," Levant said. Rodin's research topics ranged from aging to HIV risk to eating disorders and obesity.
She's served as a professor, provost and as the first woman president of an Ivy League university. In that post, she was instrumental in helping to rejuvenate the economically depressed area surrounding the University of Pennsylvania campus in downtown Philadelphia (see page 42).
"I must say a lifetime achievement award is very daunting," Rodin said. "It sounds like the end of a career, but I hope I still have a lot to contribute."