- Please describe your contributions to the professional practice of psychology, including any positions held and past or current committee work in Division 42.
I have never been a member of Division 42. I began my first academic position in the fall after completing my doctoral degree. Although I did pursue licensure in Pennsylvania (I was on the faculty at Penn State), over the course of my career, I have been a full time academic at research intensive institutions. Thus, my engagement in independent practice has been limited although I have done some independent practice on the side. In Pennsylvania, I worked for a school district for a day a week as an independent contractor over the course of a year. I have also engaged in consulting activities with schools and school systems, providing trainings related to my areas of expertise and conducting evaluations. I am Program Director of an APA-accredited School Psychology program, and about 25% of my program’s graduates engage in independent practice, either full time or part-time.
- The recent reorganization of the Association into APA (c3) and APASI (c6) is a critical issue affecting the ability to advance, defend, and protect the practice of psychology. What concrete measure(s) would you implement to address this issue on behalf of practice constituents, particularly to address the significant budget deficits at APA and how services for practicing psychologists will be maintained when budget revisions occur in-light of the remarkable staff reductions made in June 2020?
I agree that the APA (c3)/APASI (c6) re-organization is critical for the practice of psychology. I was on the BOD when the decision to re-organize was made, and I supported the decision it provided a sustainable revenue stream for c6 operations. In my statement to Council in February, I noted that the person elected in 2020 will be President in 2022, when APA will have had a few years with the c3/c6 integration, and one of my goals is to review the integration to see if it is providing the benefits that the BOD anticipated and to implement a change process if necessary. I have heard about the budget deficit and the staff reductions that took place this year. These issues also need to be examined for potential negative impacts and APA’s current and potential revenue sources. Serving practicing psychologists successfully also requires supporting training programs and the science on which practice is based.
- Please provide your position and how you intend to address each of the following APA governance concerns: a) improved transparency of the APA Board of Directors (BoD) with APA Council and b) the continued effects of the Good Governance Project, particularly the delegation of fiscal and operational responsibilities exclusively to the APA BoD, given how the current APA procedures have resulted in very large deficits in the last two fiscal years.
I am a great believer in transparency and in my time on the BOD, I voted for transparency in every case, except where the legal team felt that it would endanger the association. I also helped two members of Council pass a proposal on transparency in Council. I am supportive of the delegation of fiscal and operational responsibilities to the BOD, although I think it may be possible to achieve this goal while allowing Council to retain oversight. It is not feasible for a group of 170+ that meets twice a year to engage meaningfully in a budget process involving 100 million dollars. During my six years on Council, I voted on a budget two months into the fiscal year that it was impossible to have input into. On the BOD, I was much more knowledgeable about the budget than I ever could be on Council. The reports by the Treasurer and the numerous webinars have also resulted in greater transparency and opportunities for input that did not exist before.
- What do you see as additional vital area(s) facing the practice of psychology? How do you plan to confront these areas during your presidency?
In education, we argue for universal pre-K education and I think that a vital area for the practice of psychology is universal access to mental health care. Data indicate that anxiety and depression levels are rising in children, adolescents, and adults, and we know that individuals from low-income and minority communities in particular have limited or no access to mental health services. Many children in need never receive services unless they attend a school where the school psychologist is not burdened with multiple schools and testing students for special education eligibility. My training speaks to the importance of prevention and early intervention. I do not have a solution to this issue, but it is my hope that the disparities in services revealed COVID-19 and the recognition of systemic racism will result in political changes that allow APA to lobby for federal support for a preventative approach to health and mental health.