Welcome from Committee on Disability Issues in Psychology (CDIP) co-chairs

An introduction to the CDIP committee, its current priorities and the committee’s projects and goals for the year.

By Erin E. Andrews, PsyD, and Lawrence Pick, PhD

It is with much enthusiasm that we jointly take the reins this year of the APA Committee on Disability Issues (CDIP). We are pleased to welcome our two new committee members (Dana Dunn, PhD, Moravian College and Carrie Pilarski, PhD, Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center), our returning members (Joseph Rath, PhD, Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine and James Werth, Jr. PhD, Radford University) and several liaisons and monitors.

CDIP is an increasingly important and valuable committee within the Public Interest Directorate of APA. Approximately one in five Americans (i.e., roughly 50 million Americans) currently lives with a disability (U.S. Department of Education, 2007). Over the next one to two decades, the number of people in the U.S. living with one or more physical, cognitive, intellectual, sensory or psychiatric disabilities is projected to expand considerably given the increased aging population, the return of military veterans, the increased detection of developmental disorders and advances in health care that make survival increasingly possible after major illness and injury. This will affect the field of psychology in a number of important ways that CDIP will continue to address. Here are some of the current foci of the committee’s work:

  • Joining with APA Government Relations Office, the National Council on Disability, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Child Welfare League of America for a congressional briefing on Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children.

  • Publishing tip sheets for psychologists and consumers regarding the provision of telehealth services to individuals with disabilities.

  • Addressing issues related to the service provision of individuals with cognitive disabilities. 

  • Providing feedback to the APA Commission on Accreditation regarding accessibility and inclusion of individuals with disabilities at all levels of psychology training and to include education and training specific to disability as a culturally diverse population.

  • Working with the APA Board of Convention Affairs on making the annual convention as accessible and inclusive as possible for persons with disabilities.

CDIP members are putting forth additional exciting initiatives in partnership with other committees and boards within APA. A number of these collaborative efforts include important disability-related programming at APA's 2013 Annual Convention, July 31-Aug. 4, 2013, in Honolulu.

We also would like to encourage you to explore the Disability Issues Office webpage that provides a wealth of information for psychologists, trainees, students and consumers. Last, we hope that you will consider participating in the Disability Mentor Program, an invaluable program that links mentors with psychologists and students with disabilities. 

We look forward to a productive year and wish the same for you.