Introduction

The Board of Professional Affairs (BPA) addresses broad issues related to (1) developing recommendations for and monitoring the implementation of APA policy, standards, and guidelines for the profession of psychology; (2) maintaining relationships with other professional organizations and groups appropriate to its mission; (3) recognizing contributions to the profession of psychology through awards and honors, (4) proposing to the Association ways to enhance the profession of psychology; and, (5) fostering the application of psychological knowledge in order to promote public welfare.

This report provides information on some of BPA’s major activities in 2010, including its commitment to and incorporation of diversity in its focus, interests and deliberations.

Composition of the Board of Professional Affairs

BPA consists of nine (9) members of the American Psychological Association who serve for terms of three years each, except when filling a vacancy on the Board.  Insofar as possible, BPA members represent the range of interests characteristic of the profession of psychology.  Likewise, BPA is a diverse board in terms of gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, experience, field of interest, settings, among others. 

In 2010, BPA’s roster included the following distinguished psychologists:

3rd Year

June Ching, PhD (2008-2010)
Thomas Kubiszyn, PhD (2008-2010)
Judith Patterson, PhD (2008-2010)

2nd Year
Ruth Fassinger, PhD (2009-2011)
Judith Blanton, PhD (2009-2011)
Nadine Kaslow, PhD (2009-2011)
1st Year

Lydia Buki, PhD (2010-2012)
Susan Cochran, PhD (2010-2012)
Terry Gock, PhD (2010-2012)

Dr. Judith Blanton has been selected as the chair of BPA for 2010. Dr. Blanton has been active in APA governance and other activities for many years, including having served on the Council of Representatives. She is a fellow in APA Division 13 (Society of Consulting Psychology) and a member of APA Division 14 (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.) She was a member of the Task Force for the Revision of the Model Act for State Licensure and is active in the California Psychological Association, among other groups. As such, Dr. Blanton will no doubt be a very hard working and effective Chair.

Strong Support from Practice Directorate
In January 2010, the new department of Governance Operations assumed responsibility for the activities of the two major Boards and Committees for Practice, including BPA, the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP), and Committee on Professional Practice and Standards (COPPS). As such, the reorganization and new Department aimed to provide strong governance support and facilitate a coordinated approach to advancing the Practice agenda. BPA recognizes and commends the APA Practice Directorate and staff for ongoing support of professional affairs issues and items.
Governance Matters & Meetings
BPA held two (2) in-person business meetings in 2010, at APA Spring and Fall Consolidated Meetings respectively. The March 2010 consolidated meeting, held in Washington, DC brought together 26 boards and committees, including the Board of Professional Affairs, as well as the APA Board of Directors. On recommendation of the Council of Representatives, reinstatement of the fall meetings resulted in BPA having a face-to-face meeting where important policy and practice issues were reviewed.

In 2010, BPA addressed more than seventy-five (75) governance items and issues of importance to APA, its members and the field of professional psychology. Some of these items dealt with examining practice-related issues and policies, whereas others were cross-cutting, relevant and germane to psychologists in science, education, and public interest.

BPA’s annual Retreat, usually held on the day prior to the Fall Meeting, focused on telehealth and telepractice, culminating in a recommendation that APA establish a Task Force to develop telepsychology guidelines and a host of other ideas that were transmitted to relevant Boards, Committees and other groups. This material, along with resources relevant to telehealth/telepractice was well- received by these groups.

Of course, BPA and COPPS made use of technology with online Team Sites that afforded members access to relevant documents, capacity to edit and respond to policy reviews time efficiently, and reduced paper use. BPA looks forward to continuing to explore technology resources to enhance member and staff collaboration, communication and work products.

BPA’s Executive Committee conducted meetings on a monthly basis via telephone conference call, and initiated conference calls for the entire Board as warranted. In addition, BPA members provided leadership to other APA governance groups, i.e. committees, task forces and work groups, and integrated the work of these groups into the mission and purpose of BPA. Formal liaison assignments are made in January of each year to these APA governance entities, and some of these same BPA members network with outside organizations, such as the National Commission on Correctional Heath Care (NCCHC) and Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

Like other APA parent Boards, BPA takes great pride in its policy role and, consequently, brings strong focus and due deliberation to formal governance items and other matters that come before it. BPA members and staff liaisons work in close coordination with CAPP to coordinate policy and seek input on issues related to professional practice. In 2010, BPA Chair Judith Blanton served as official liaison to CAPP and submitted reports on BPA’s activities and progress to date.

Practice Guidelines

Practice guidelines help APA define and clarify roles and settings in psychological practice, and provide guidance to practitioners on best practices and approaches. According to APA policy, guidelines are created to “educate and to inform the practice of psychologists. They are also intended to stimulate debate and research. Guidelines are not to be promulgated as a means of establishing the identity of a particular group or specialty area of psychology; likewise, they are not to be created with the purpose of excluding any psychologist from practicing in a particular area. Guidelines must be reasonable, as described in the APA ASME Guidelines (APA, 1992). All guidelines should be well researched.”

BPA has spent the greater part of two years discussing ways to streamline and clarify the process of practice guideline development and revision. BPA has developed a Practice Guidelines Framework to articulate the appropriate steps in guideline development. These include association-wide education of staff and governance regarding various options for guideline development, a Guideline Developers Toolkit, a Registry that would help the developers, COPPS, BPA and Practice staff track guidelines currently in process, definition of consulting roles of BPA and COPPS, and plans for dissemination and implementation of Practice Guidelines. Educational resources on guideline format and policy will be made available in one location online for the benefit of developers. More than ten practice guidelines are currently “in the pipeline” of development and will require significant resources of BPA and COPPS to oversee their development.

BPA continues to support and engage COPPS (and other guidelines developers) on several key guidelines in progress or undergoing revision:

  • Guidelines for Psychological Practice in Health Care Delivery Systems

  • Guidelines for Psychological Evaluations in Child Protection Matters

  • Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology

  • Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients

  • Guidelines for the Evaluation of Dementia and Age-Related Cognitive Change

  • Guidelines for the Practice of Parenting Coordination

  • Guidelines for Assessment of and Intervention with Persons with Disabilities

  • Proposed Guidelines for Prevention Practice, Research, Education and Social Advocacy for Psychologists

  • Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists

Committee on Professional Practice and Standards (COPPS)

To make sure that guidelines conform to APA policy and format, BPA and the Committee on Professional Practice and Standards (COPPS) spend considerable time facilitating guidelines development and review, requiring significant collaboration and support among governance members and Practice staff. BPA closely collaborates with COPPS as guidelines come through the APA governance pipeline for development, review, revision and approval.

As can be seen from the above guidelines list, COPPS has had a strenuous workload in 2010. Meeting twice in 2010, COPPS members reviewed a number of practice guidelines in progress and those that are slated to expire within two years or ones that came to COPPS from BPA, having originated as a new business item at Council, including:

  • Structure and Function of an Interdisciplinary Team for Persons with Acquired Brain Injury 

  • Practice Parameter: Screening and Diagnosis of Autism 

  • APA's Guidelines for Test User Qualifications

COPPS also consulted by telephone and in person on Proposed Guidelines for Prevention Practice, Research, Education and Social Advocacy for Psychologists, a new set of guidelines that have support from several divisions and ones that were originally conceptualized following publication in The Counseling Psychologist. Both BPA and COPPS provided feedback on Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology.

At the Spring 2010 Consolidated Meetings, BPA discussed the possibility of increasing the number of members on COPPS (from 6 to 8), due to increased workload based on more guidelines coming to COPPS for approval and greater consultation and involvement of COPPS members in guidelines development and revision. This was referred to COPPS for their discussion. COPPS agreed with the need for two additional members, with re-consideration of the rotation schedule to accommodate change. The item was placed on the Cross Cutting Agenda to get comments from other boards and committees. Questions were raised about fiscal implications and discussion clarified that the current BPA budget can support two additional COPPS members. At its Fall 2010 Meeting, BPA approved the addition of two additional COPPS members and directed APA Staff to address fiscal considerations as the motion moves forward through APA governance.

BPA Policy Development and Review
BPA supported and recommended approval of various policies and guidelines that support and enhance the professional practice of psychology, including Model Act for State Licensure of Psychology and establishment of a Task Force for the Development of Telepsychology Guidelines.
Health Information Technology & Telepractice
Heretofore, BPA established a Health Information Technology Working Group to address issues relevant to the general impact of technology on psychological practice, implementation of HIT through the 2010 federal HITECH Act which has set a goal of 2014 for implementation of electronic, interoperable health records, and the burgeoning applications of telehealth to treatment and consultation. BPA continues to review a wide range of technology issues that impact practitioners: HIT, EHRs, telehealth and telepractice, IT systems and social networking, among others. Since telepractice concerns are being received by various committees, such as BPA, CAPP and COPPS, efforts are being made to collaborate among practice governance groups.
Development of Treatment Guidelines
BPA continues to support and track the development of Treatment Guidelines within APA, and commends the Clinical Treatment Guidelines Advisory Steering Committee for advancing project goals.
Enhancing Multicultural Diversity
n response to APA’s Committee on Structure and Function of Council (CSFC), which was directed by the Council of Representatives to gather input regarding the direction, nature, focus, and process by which Boards and Committees expanded their multicultural/diversity capabilities, BPA continues to hold meaningful discussions on ways to enhance multicultural diversity and understanding amongst themselves, within governance and within professional practice. BPA has determined that it has been quite proactive in this area and demonstrates its continued commitment through diverse representation on the Board.

Additionally, BPA has enhanced its commitment to diversity in several ways and adopted the following measures:

  1. Broad review of all items placed before BPA for consideration, including agenda items at its Fall and Spring Meetings, and analyze these items for their implications on diversity. BPA agreed that its meeting minutes need to include the item’s diversity implications, and BPA members who are assigned meeting items need to both prepare the items for discussion and decision, and include a statement, where appropriate, on how their recommendations or BPA actions might impact diversity.

  2. BPA continues to refine its explicit commitment to diversity, through its multicultural mission statement, agenda setting, and Board composition.

  3. BPA regularly assesses the possibility of having diversity skill building activities (i.e. discussions of articles/issues/topics) offered at each BPA meeting.

  4. BPA encourages its members and APA staff to share model diversity programs and practices from the broader non-profit community.

Actions to enhance diversity will be evaluated as they are implemented. Ideally, these actions will: (1) strengthen diversity within professional practice; (2) increase sensitivity to diversity issues and concerns; and, (3) increase diversity within the governance process.

Colleague Assistance

The Advisory Committee on Colleague Assistance (ACCA) is an ad hoc committee of BPA and gives significant attention to the student or psychologist impacted by stress, distress or impairment. BPA commends Diane Bridgeman for her leadership and ACCA members’ dedication for their project achievements this past year. A summary of ACCA’s recent areas of focus and activities includes:

  • APA/ACCA Survey Results – Further analysis and write-ups of the recent APA/ACCA survey were implemented after three years of developing items for the assessment. The importance of work/life balance as an antidote to stress was a primary survey finding for means of coping, and its lack of balance was reported as an obstacle.

  • Office Safety/Violence Prevention & Psychologist Suicides- Projects involving office safety/violence prevention and psychologist suicides were undertaken.

  • Handout on Self-Care - A finalized handout on self-care was developed and will be disseminated on the SPTA colleague assistance (CA) listserv along with other newly developed ACCA materials.

  • ACCA Toolkit - ACCA’s web presence and materials were updated on the newly revised APA website. This included the recently completed “toolkit”, a 21-page compendium of resources for assisting states that want to develop and/or sustain a CA program. Tools of engagement were compiled with articles across the spectrum from graduate student/early career through retirement phases of psychologists’ personal life and professional careers. The toolkit centralizes a compendium of articles, books, power points, and other information on areas relevant to colleague assistance.

  • ACCA Listserv - The SPTA CA listserv is available as a communication tool for interested parties.

  • ACCA Outreach and Consultations - ACCA has been reaching out to states that request support on developing, or revitalizing their CA programs by scheduling then to be part of the conference calls for consultation.

  • SPTA Colleague Assistance Survey - The most pressing ACCA project has been the continuation of the SPTA CA survey. Data has been gathered from approximately 30 states.

  • ACCA’s Prevention Model Promoted - A major thrust of ACCA during these past few years has been to encourage a prevention approach, whereby self-assessments are promoted, early warning signs are heeded, while normalizing the challenges inherent in the work of psychologists throughout their lifespan and stages of their careers.

  • Exploring Outreach to SPTAs - ACCA has been exploring means by which various SPTA committee chairs can further the initiatives of promoting self-care and wellness.

Convention Sessions 2010

The Board of Professional Affairs and its committees offered and/or participated in several Convention sessions, among them:

  • Practice Guidelines: How, What, Why, and What Happens Next? (COPPS)

  • Listening to Our Colleagues: 2009 APA Practice Survey Results: Worries, Wellness, and Wisdom (ACCA)

  • Clinical Treatment Guidelines: Value for Psychology

  • Electronic Health Records: What’s Out There, and What’s Coming

  • Overview of Draft Guidelines on Parenting Coordination

  • Advisory Committee on Colleague Assistance (ACCA) Social Hour

BPA’s 2010 Convention sessions were well attended and received, and several carried CE credit.

2010 Distinguished Professional Contribution Awards

In carrying out its Association mandate, each year BPA recognizes distinguished contributions to professional psychology. The following individuals were named recipients of the 2010 Distinguished Professional Contribution Awards which were presented at the 2010 APA Convention in San Diego:

  • 2010 Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research – Catherine E. Lord, PhD

  • 2010 Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Independent Practice - Lisa Robbin Grossman, PhD

  • 2010 Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Institutional Practice – Kathleen M. McNamara, PhD

  • 2010 APA/APAGS Award for Distinguished Graduate Student in Professional Psychology - William Q. Hua