Feature

At its August meeting during APA's 2005 Annual Convention, the APA Council of Representatives took action on a number of issues designed to recognize and advance the work of psychologists, to bring psychological research to public policy issues and to increase diversity within the association.

The council actions included:

  • The adoption as APA policy of a statement defining evidence-based practice in psychology as crafted by the Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice. The statement is available at www.apa.org/practice/ebp.html.

  • Adoption of a resolution recommending the immediate retirement of American Indian mascots, symbols, images and personalities by schools, colleges, athletic teams and organizations. The council action followed a report by Stephanie Fryberg, PhD, of the University of Arizona, on her research on the effects of American Indian mascots on both American Indians and European Americans.

  • Received the report of the President's Task Force on Enhancing Diversity in APA and adopted the task force resolution on enhancing diversity within the association. The resolution directs APA CEO Norman Anderson, PhD, to develop a diversity implementation plan, with immediate, medium-term and long-term goals for achieving improved diversity within the association.

  • Accepted an annotated version of the report of the U.N. World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. This annotated report, available at www.apa.org/pi, will be an appendix to the report of the APA delegation that attended the conference.

  • Adopted a Resolution on Anti-Semitic and Anti-Jewish Prejudice and referred back for further refinement a sister Resolution on Religious, Religion-Based and/or Religion-Derived Prejudice.

  • Adopted a resolution on violence in video games and interactive media that calls for a reduction in all violence in video games and interactive media marketed to children, as well as the development of a content-based rating system that accurately reflects the content of the games or media.

  • Adopted a resolution encouraging the 2005 White House Conference on Aging to review the current status of mental and behavioral health research and practice and to offer recommendations that will promote access to quality mental and behavioral health services for all older Americans.

  • Approved revisions to the National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula.

  • Approved the association's preliminary 2006 budget, which calls for a surplus of $463,400.

Also, on endorsing the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security, the Council of Representatives reaffirmed an association resolution against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (see September Monitor ). The task force report prohibits psychologists from any participation whatsoever in such abusive behaviors and places an ethical obligation on psychologists to be alert to and report abusive behaviors to the authorities. Council stated that there are no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether induced by a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, that may be invoked as a justification for torture, including the invocation of laws, regulations or orders.

Council directed APA's Ethics Committee to review a proposed change to the association's Ethics Code, which would assure that psychologists faced with a conflict between ethics and law follow only those laws that are "in keeping with basic principles of human rights." Council also voted that credible evidence of unethical behavior shall be referred to the Ethics Committee, the body charged with investigating and adjudicating ethics complaints.

Council was also addressed by representatives from four ethnic-minority psychological associations in what many council members hoped would be a new coming-together of APA and the minority psychology groups.

"I was delighted to have the opportunity to extend the invitation to my colleagues, the presidents of the ethnic-minority psychological associations, and honored to have my invitation accepted," said APA President Ronald F. Levant, EdD. "I believe that we are all one psychology family. By working more closely together we can learn from one another and make more rapid progress on the issues that matter to all of us."

The representatives of the four ethnic-minority associations were Frederick T.L. Leong, PhD, representing the Asian American Psychological Association; James E. Savage Jr., PhD, representing the Association of Black Psychologists; Azara L. Santiago-Rivera, PhD, representing the National Latina/o Psychological Association; and John Joseph Peregoy, PhD, representing the Society of Indian Psychologists.