Publication of the Hoffman Report and subsequent reactions both within APA and the media pose a continuing major issue for the discipline of psychology and our association. I want to help us move forward with integrity and social justice.
In addition, our discipline faces five critical challenges: the integration of psychology into multiple aspects of society; recruitment and retention of members (including graduate students and early career psychologists-ECPs); appropriate reimbursement rates for providers; adequate internship positions for practice graduate students; and research funding at all career levels (ECPs to senior psychologists).
My campaign has focused on leadership and collaborations as citizen- psychologists. Based on my service on the APA Board of Directors and a state licensing board, I have seen how psychology affects society every day in every way. Psychological practice, science, education and policy encompass and enhance the human experience. Consequently, the discipline of psychology must have a presence in the room, at the table and often at the head of the table in the formulation and implementation of policy decisions.
Acting as a citizen-psychologist means participating in public and private agencies/organizations at the local, state, regional, national and international levels. Just as decision tables often include economists as well as experts in public policy and law. I believe psychologists can and should contribute to topics related to the human experience as reflected by the expertise of our 50+ APA Divisions. Those sitting at the decision tables should be asking—so where will we access psychological expertise?
Preparing psychologists to step into these roles (i.e. serving on boards, committees and commissions at the local, state, regional and national levels) will prove crucial. For graduate students, learning about leadership and collaboration should become an integral part of their education. APA can also sponsor training on collaboration, negotiation and leadership skills to prepare psychologists at various stages, from ECPs to senior levels, to step into these roles.
Psychology is only as strong as the people we attract and retain in the discipline. We must generate excitement about possibilities by telling the stories of citizen- psychologists who have made contributions across a range of settings. In doing so, we can excite, recruit and retain our next generation of members as they seek to make a difference wherever they are.
This strategy will require a shift in how we introduce students and ECPs into the discipline. The advent of integrated health care systems demands that we advocate for the inclusion of psychological science and practice throughout the health care system, beginning with training programs. Collaboration is a skill that can be taught. The goal is to nurture and sustain these relationships over time. Also mentoring across disciplines will impact research and practice, providing a deliberate socialization of graduate students and early career scholars and practitioners both within the discipline and in related disciplines as well.
I believe that the infusion of the concept of citizen-psychologists will bring energy and excitement into the discipline. Graduate students and ECPs will recognize the numerous opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills outside of psychology. They will come to live “psychology is every day in every way.” These individuals will become our ambassadors in a range of settings, making connections as they inform others about what psychology can offer and work with people who share their interest in making a difference in society.
Focusing on members at all levels of their career development will matter as well. Mid-career and senior psychologists can model how to reach across the discipline divides in the work context. Some psychologists have already moved into these multi-disciplinary work contexts. With this focus, we can maximize the inclusion of psychological science in multiple research venues.
We must assure full inclusion and appropriate reimbursement for psychological services by third party payers. We must re-invigorate the APA Practice Organization with a steady stream of products and revenue. We need that voice to insure inclusion and appropriate reimbursement for psychological services by third party payers. Healthcare operates as a business. In the past, healthcare financial decisions have been made primarily by physicians and insurance executives. Over the next three–to-five years as citizen-psychologists, the opportunity-challenge involves forming collaborations resulting in our being present in the room when decisions get made about health care finances. We must initiate and sustain those relationships with decision-makers if we hope to implement quality integrated healthcare for all Americans.
The healthcare decision makers reside in our respective communities and serve on state and local boards and committees. Psychologists appointed or elected to those boards can form cordial relationships with these individuals. Committee and board members who become colleagues may in turn provide psychologists with access to policy making and policy implementation boards and committees.
The challenge of providing access to accredited internship training positions has also become critical. We need to provide an adequate number of accredited training positions for our students so that they can qualify as licensed psychologists. Our interns and post-doctoral fellows have better training than masters prepared social workers or psychiatry residents, but their services are often not reimbursed. We must advocate for the ability to bill for trainee services as a crucial step for supporting training programs.
We must also focus on increasing behavioral and neuro science research funding at all career levels. Many technological, basic science and treatment advances lie ahead. We need citizen-psychologists who can drive progress and provide science-based testimony at the local, state and national policy levels. WE must reverse the trend of declining social and behavioral research funding. The importance of data-based decisions about policy development and implementation will keep psychological science before those who determine levels of funding for research.
Psychology has proved itself a critical discipline, but we can do better. My goal as APA president: to focus on forging leadership and collaborations as citizen- psychologists, who sit in the room, at the table, and at the head of the table when policies are created and implemented.