Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest (BAPPI): 2013 Annual Report

Mission Statement

The mission of BAPPI shall be to encourage the generation and application of psychological knowledge on issues important to human well-being. It shall have general concern for those aspects of psychology that involve solutions to the fundamental problems of human justice and that promote equitable and just treatment of all segments of society. BAPPI shall encourage the utilization and dissemination of psychological knowledge to advance equal opportunity and to foster empowerment of those who do not share equitably in society's resources.

The Board shall be concerned with increasing scientific understanding and training in regard to those aspects that pertain to but are not limited to culture, class, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability. The Board shall support improving educational and training opportunities for all persons in psychology and continue the promotion of culturally sensitive models for the delivery of psychological services. The Board shall be sensitive to the entire range of APA activities as they pertain to the mission of this Board and make recommendations regarding ethically and socially responsible actions by APA when appropriate. The composition of the Board shall reflect diversity in terms of ethnic minorities, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities and religion, as well as the range of interests characteristic of psychology in all its aspects.

Meetings and Membership

BAPPI met during the Spring Consolidated Meetings on March 15-17, 2013 and during the Fall Consolidated Meetings on November 1-3, 2013. BAPPI members also met individually with their respective committees during the first round of Consolidated Meetings, September 20-22, 2013.

The members of BAPPI in 2013 were: Allen Omoto, PhD (Chair); Toni Antonucci, PhD (Chair-elect); Meg A. Bond, PhD; M. Dolores Cimini, PhD; Priscilla Dass-Brailsford, EdD; Linda M. Forrest, PhD; Claire G. Gastañaga, JD (Public Member); J. Douglas McDonald, PhD; William D. Parham, PhD; and Luis A. Vargas, PhD.

Drs. Omoto, McDonald, and Vargas completed their terms on the Board at the conclusion of 2013. Gary W. Harper, PhD; Gayle S. Morse, PhD; and Elizabeth M. Vera, PhD are joined BAPPI beginning in January 2014.

Public Interest Committee Chairs-elect attended BAPPI's Fall Consolidated Meetings and reported on the activities and accomplishments of their respective groups over the past year, and received commendation for the quality, amount, and relevance of their work. Each committee provided BAPPI with a summary sheet that highlighted activities, initiatives, and projects (current and upcoming). The chairs-elect met amongst themselves during the afternoon session to discuss potential opportunities for collaboration among committees for convention programming and on projects that have the potential to cross programs in the future.

2014 APA Convention Programming

This year's convention theme will be on Innovative Perspectives on Community Violence. The focus on community violence calls attention to exposure to, and/or participation in, acts of violence (broadly defined) between individuals or collectives and groups perpetrated by individuals. BAPPI is particularly interested in proposals that address issues of community violence in novel ways or with a new perspective, including focusing on developmental and contextual aspects of community violence.

Recent domestic and international events have brought the topic of community violence to the forefront. Psychology has much to offer in further understanding and addressing this issue. Within the topic of "Community Violence," we include the wide range of manifestations of violence that affect members of communities - including victims, perpetrators, witnesses, as well as those who simply live in fear of the violence in their neighborhood or workplace. We encourage sessions that take a unique approach to understanding community violence and that consider institutional, cultural, contextual, and societal factors that contribute to or protect against community violence. Proposed programs should address novel conceptualizations of community violence that include recommendations for new and creative and/or innovative research on community violence or innovative prevention or intervention strategies to more effectively reduce violence in communities, community participation in designing prevention or intervention programs, and/or discussion of risk and protective factors for different types of violence and for different populations. Presentations of research that have implications for public policy are encouraged. All proposed programs should include consideration of issues that cut across various dimensions of diversity, such as variation related to culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and health status, and socioeconomic background. In addition to outlining the issues of community violence that the proposed programming addresses, proposals should include description of (likely) presentation titles and speakers and plans for broader dissemination and work products beyond a convention session.

Along with two other sessions, BAPPI will sponsor the following session during the 2014 APA Convention in Washington, D.C.:

  • Risk and Resilience: Overcoming the Odds of Community Violence
    Committee on Children, Youth and Families (CYF); Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA); Committee on Aging (CONA); Committee on Women in Psychology (CWP); Committee on Socioeconomic Status (CSES); Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns (CLGBTC); and Committee on Psychology and AIDS (COPA).

Council New Business Item #25D: The National Violence Project

The Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest (BAPPI) was asked to develop a response to the main motion proposed in Council NBI 25D The National Violence Project by Frank Farley, PhD, representing the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32). BAPPI will serve as the lead governance group in recommending specific action on this item in the context of numerous other activities currently underway within the Public Interest Directorate that focus on various forms of violence. The item specifically calls for the creation of a task force to examine the state of knowledge concerning the causes of all categories of human violence and propose evidence-based and provisional solutions as appropriate.

BAPPI supported the main motion of the NBI and concurred that APA should join with other cognate organizations in this endeavor. BAPPI members generated several additional ideas for achieving the stated and/or similar outcomes, such as sponsoring a major summit on violence of all types, convening a Public Interest Leadership Conference planned around the topic of violence, and identifying foundations, particularly those focused on youth, as potential sources of funding.

A workgroup of BAPPI members Toni Antonucci, PhD; Meg Bond, PhD; Claire G. Gastanaga, JD; and William D. Parham, PhD will present ideas for BAPPI to review at the spring 2014 meeting. Dr. Farley will be consulted early in the process and invited to participate in the planning.

APA Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice and Organizational Change for Psychologists (Multicultural Guidelines)

The review process for the Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists continues in accordance with Association Rule 30-8.4. BAPPI is working closely with the Co-Chairs of the MC Guidelines Working Group to address and respond to feedback received during preliminary reviews which have taken place thus far. At this time, the current set of Multicultural Guidelines (2002) remains in effect as APA policy.

Human Rights Initiative


The Human Rights Working Group, composed of BAPPI members Meg Bond, Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Allen Omoto, and APA staff member Clinton Anderson, met to discuss the nascent human rights initiative within BAPPI and how to move this initiative forward. The group reported that it had a fruitful but truncated discussion, with progress being made on finding common ground in meaning and approach. As a result of its discussion, the working group wondered if the failure to make much traction on this initiative was at least partially due to "human rights" being broad and nebulous and meaning too many different things to different people. Since the initial discussion, the group identified one context or specific "right" as a focus for its future discussion and work. Two different data gathering town hall or open discussion sessions on human rights have been proposed by working group members, one for the APA Convention in August in Washington, DC and one at the Society for Community Research and Action (Division 27) meeting in June. The working group had a number of conference calls to follow up and organize the sessions for the two meetings.

Public Interest Awards Call for Nominations

  • The Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest Senior Career Award recognizes an individual whose single extraordinary achievement or a lifetime of outstanding contributions meet one or more of the following criteria: (a) courageous and distinctive contribution(s) in the science or practice of psychology that significantly supports efforts toward a solution to one of the world's intransigent social problems; (b) distinctive and innovative contribution(s) that makes the science and/or practice of psychology more accessible to a broad and diverse population; and (c) an integration of the science and practice of psychology that serves the public interest and advances social justice and human welfare.
  • The Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest Early Career Award recognizes an individual whose single extraordinary achievement or a lifetime of outstanding contributions meet one or more of the following criteria: (a) courageous and distinctive contribution(s) in the science or practice of psychology that significantly supports efforts toward a solution to one of the world's intransigent social problems; (b) distinctive and innovative contribution(s) that makes the science and/or practice of psychology more accessible to a broad and diverse population; and (c) an integration of the science and practice of psychology that serves the public interest and advances social justice and human welfare. To be eligible for this award, the nominee's terminal degree (generally a doctorate in psychology) must have been conferred no more than 10 years prior to the award year. For the 2015 award, nominees must have received this degree during or since 2005.
  • The APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy will honor an individual who has made a distinguished empirical and/or theoretical contribution to psychological research in public policy, either through a single extraordinary achievement or a lifetime of work dedicated to informing public policy through psychological understanding. Examples of relevant achievements include research leading others to view specific public policies differently; research demonstrating the importance of the application of psychological methods and theory to public policy; or research clarifying the ways scientific knowledge of human behavior informs public policy.

Each award recipient will receive $1,000 honorarium, an opportunity to present an invited address at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and an invitation to submit a paper to the American Psychologist on the topic of the address. Honorees will also be granted a waiver of 2015 convention registration fees and reimbursement of up to $1,500 in expenses related to attendance at the 2015 convention.

The BAPPI Committee on Public Interest Awards will evaluate each nomination based on the extent to which the nominee has exhibited knowledge and/or experience with the criteria identified in the above description of each award.