October 23, 2005

APA President Ronald F. Levant Visits Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay

WASHINGTON—At the invitation of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, APA President Ronald F. Levant, EdD, was one of a group of Department of Defense (DoD) officials and leaders from national health and mental health organizations that visited the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba last week.

The purpose of the visit was to learn more about the work of psychologists currently serving as part of the Joint Task Force-Guantanamo and to enter into a dialogue with DoD officials and the rest of the visiting group as to an appropriate and effective role for mental health professionals in national security investigations. APA is most interested in the role that psychologists are playing in national security investigations as part of the Joint Task Force and will continue to help advise DoD to ensure that such work by psychologists is safe, legal, ethical and effective.

"I accepted this offer to visit Guantanamo because I saw the invitation as an important opportunity to continue to provide our expertise and guidance for how psychologists can play an appropriate and ethical role in national security investigations. Our goals are to ensure that psychologists add value and safeguards to such investigations and that they are done in an ethical and effective manner that protects the safety of all involved," stated Dr. Levant upon his return.

"This trip gave me an opportunity to ask questions and observe a brief snapshot of the Guantanamo facility first hand," Levant stated. "As APA's work in studying the issues presented by our country's national security needs continues, this trip was another opportunity for the Association to inform and advise the process."

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 53 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.