Public Interest Directorate Government Relations Office update
By Stefanie Reeves, MA
Advocacy for the Minority Fellowship Program
Over the course of 2012, the Public Interest Directorate Government Relations Office (PI-GRO) coordinated an advocacy campaign in support of the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) that included: federal advocacy trainings and Capitol Hill visits for members of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs and participants in the MFP Psychology Summer Institute; the participation of APA member Sherry Davis Molock, PhD, at a congressional briefing on the MFP entitled Addressing the Behavioral Health Needs of Minority Populations; and advocacy by members of the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA), for which PI-GRO staff provided training for CEMA members to meet with staff in their congressional district offices in support of the MFP.
PI-GRO, OEMA present at Division 45 Biennial Conference
In May 2012, PI-GRO presented with the Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs (OEMA) and a member of CEMA on APA’s Programmatic and Public Policy Efforts to Advance Ethnic Minority Issues at the 2nd Biennial Division 45 Conference in Ann Arbor, Mich. The presentation centered around the collaboration between OEMA and PI-GRO in advocating for ethnic minority issues within psychology and on Capitol Hill respectively.
APA hosts congressional briefing on immigration
PI-GRO coordinated a May 2012 congressional briefing and Capitol Hill visits to share the findings of the report of APA’s Presidential Task Force on Immigration, in which Melba J. T. Vasquez, PhD, ABPP, Carola Suárez-Orozco, PhD, Dina Birman, PhD and Usha Tummala-Narra, PhD, participated.
Friends of Indian Health Coalition meet with congressional staff
In April 2012, PI-GRO, as a member of the Friends of Indian Health Coalition, participated in bipartisan meetings with key staff from the offices of six members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to advocate for additional Indian Health Service funds to better serve the needs of AI/AN populations.
APA member provides expertise at Congressional Black Caucus event on veterans’ issues
APA secured the participation of Josef Ruzek, PhD, for a Sept. 21 Veterans Braintrust event at the 2012 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. Dr. Ruzek shared his knowledge and experience as director for the Dissemination and Training Division of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. He was joined for the discussion, called "Mental Health & the Workplace: Social Messaging, Interventions and Help Seeking Behavior," by Billy E. Jones, MD, MS, senior advisor to the assistant secretary for policy and planning, Department of Veterans Affairs; and Donna H. Barnes, PhD, co-founder of the National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide.
There are a number of ways to get involved with advocacy through APA’s Public interest Government Relations Office including:
Sharing research and clinical expertise with policymakers
Attending an advocacy workshop and advocacy day
Participating in state/district visits with policymakers
Testifying or presenting at congressional hearings or briefings
Applying for a fellowship or internship in Washington, D.C.
APA hosts the Public Policy Advocacy Network (PPAN) which allows APA members to take action on the important legislative issues of the day. We encourage you to learn more about PPAN and sign up on PPAN's website to receive alerts.