The National Latina/o Psychological Association
Milton Fuentes, PsyD
President, National Latina/o Psychological Association (NLPA)
It is a distinct pleasure and honor to write about the National Latina/o Psychological Association, formerly the National Hispanic Psychological Association. Since its reestablishment in 2002, NLPA’s mission has been to create and sustain a supportive professional community that advances psychological education and training, science, practice and organizational change to enhance the health, mental health and well-being of Hispanic/Latina/o populations in the United States. Recently, our mission was revised by the NLPA Leadership Council and adopted by NLPA’s membership to ensure it captured the supportive and personable nature of NLPA. This salient aspect of the mission resonates for so many of us, who are involved with NLPA. While the support we receive from NLPA is ever-present, it was clearly evident in our 5th Biennial Conference that recently took place in New Brunswick, NJ, where hundreds of students, researchers and practitioners met to celebrate the unity and diversity that exists in the Latina/o community.
In 2005 I had the pleasure and honor of serving NLPA as its second secretary and I am currently serving as NLPA’s fifth president. My presidential efforts have primarily involved sowing seeds of sustainability. The past presidents, Patricia Arredondo, EdD; Azara Santiago-Rivera, PhD; Jose Cervantes, PhD; and Edward Delgado-Romero, PhD, have all made tremendous contributions to the association and I wanted to develop an infrastructure that captured all their efforts and subsequent efforts, as I am confident our incoming President, Lynda Field, PhD and future presidents will contribute substantially to NLPA. To this end, we have strengthened and clarified our relationship with our association management vendor; revised our bylaws; overhauled our antiquated web platform and replaced it with a state-of the-art infrastructure; and are engaging in formal strategic planning efforts, under the guidance of Sandra L. Shulman, PhD, managing partner of the Executive Development Group. The main focus of this process will be on creating mechanisms of sustainability and communication as well as focusing on membership recruitment, engagement and retention. As part of a recent strategic planning activity, we surveyed our members and asked them in what ways NLPA has been most helpful. Members repeatedly noted that NLPA provided opportunities for networking, collaboration and connection; allowed members to explore mutual interests and secure support; as well as offered helpful information and resources. NLPA offers its members many valuable services, including a very active listserv, a biannual newsletter, special interest groups, and the Journal of Latina/o Psychology. While we are orgulloso (proud) of our many accomplishments, resources and strengths, we recognize that there are areas that require further attention. Therefore, the association should see major growth in the next five years, as it works toward implementing its newly amended bylaws, which include new advocacy roles in teaching, practice, policy and research. Moreover, further association developments will be informed by our current strategic planning efforts. As our members advance in their careers, we would like to ensure they continue to receive the support they received as students and early career psychologists.
Personally, NLPA has served as my professional family and holds a special place in my heart and mind, as it has created and maintained a lively and supportive environment for my personal growth and professional endeavors. I can only hope that other psychologists enjoy similar experiences in their professional associations. To learn more, I invite you to visit the NLPA website. Should you have any questions about NLPA, please feel free to email me. ¡Saludos!