Cynthia D. Belar, PhD, executive director of APA's Education Directorate, opened the Education Advocacy Breakfast at APA's 2003 Annual Convention by highlighting psychology's success at maintaining funding for the federal Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) program.
The program, which supports health-service programs that train psychologists to work with the underserved, has gathered steam even though many other government programs have been slated for drastic reduction or elimination.
Belar went on to applaud the efforts of psychologists Herb Goldstein, PhD, Rick Weinberg, PhD, Rus Bauer, PhD, and others, in helping to secure for GPE a one-time $1.2 million extra--beyond the $4.5 million already allotted for it in fiscal year 2003--to rectify an oversight that resulted in a lack of open competition in the funding of awards for this year.
Echoing Belar's applause was this year's breakfast keynote speaker, Evan Knisely, associate vice president of Van Scoyoc Associates, a Washington, D.C., government relations firm. Knisely, a consultant to APA's Education Public Policy Office, described how the office strategized to survive the GPE appropriations battle.
Knisely noted, however, that APA's education advocacy staff can only do so much, and that APA members' involvement is crucial to GPE's survival because congressional representatives want to hear that GPE matters to their constituents.
"Each APA member in attendance possesses something no lobbyist in Washington could ever fake--the ability to bring a program home to a member's doorstep by conveying the importance of GPE from a local perspective," Knisely explained.
Knisely also reiterated the significance of achieving fiscal year 2004 GPE funding in the current federal budget climate. "At a time when surpluses have turned to deficits and discretionary dollars have become highly scarce, psychology has achieved its rightful seat at the federal budget table," he concluded.
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