Question 1: Describe your activities on the local/SPTA/national/APA level which have strengthened or benefited SPTAs.
a. I have spent most of my career involved with SPTAs. In Ohio, in the early 90’s, I was centrally involved in the transition from a one-person ED office to the hiring of a professional ED (Michael Ranney) and administrative staff. Over time, OPA has enhanced its success as an SPTA, built on a sound administrative, managerial and strategic framework. I served as a mentor and consultant to many OPA presidents, staff and committees.
In the past few years, I was involved in the OPA Governance Project to refocus and restructure OPA to be more responsive and to engage members more effectively.
b. Nationally, I have been a frequent presenter/facilitator for many PLC/SLC Conferences for topics ranging from the management of performance feedback for SPTA EDs and staff to engaging in difficult multicultural dialogues. I have served as a consultant or informal advisor for a number of SPTAs and/or their EDs and presidents on topics such as leadership, organization, diversity and strategy. In 2005, I was honored to receive the SLC Outstanding State Leadership Award.
c. In 2011 Jennifer Kelly wanted to establish a Division 31 Diversity Leadership Development program for Diversity Delegates and she asked me to put together a faculty and curriculum. From 2011 to the present, we have conducted this program preceding PLC/SLC every other year. We are now working on bringing in our fifth cohort group. For this work and some other work on difficult diversity conversations, I was recognized with the SLC Diversity Recognition Award in 2015.
d. I have been active in federal advocacy throughout my career. I have served as FAC for Ohio, the Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17), and the Society of Consulting Psychology (Division 13), working on many issues including parity, healthcare funding, reimbursement and access to care. I was awarded the Heiser Award for advocacy in 1996 and an AAP Group Advocacy Award for initial EDAT advocacy work.
e. At the APA level, I have served as the Chair for the APA Board of Professional Affairs, focusing on alternate practice options such as executive coaching. During my term on BPA, I put together a Demographic Institute for all Boards and Committees to present the summary and trends for the 2000 Census. BPA during that time also worked on the application of ICD-10 and the training needed to support its adoption.
f. As the Board of Directors liaison to CAPP for the past two years, I worked to help find solutions for the sustainability of the c6 APAPO organization. I facilitated a staff retreat and was a member of the work group that came up with the current c3c6 integration. While noting that concern exists for some SPTA folks about the implications of the c3c6 integrated advocacy strategy and the change of the SLC to the PLC, I believe this is our best option to leverage advocacy at all levels. During all of this time, I have continued to support SPTAs through these planning and budgeting processes.
g. In 2012, I was honored with the APA Award for distinguished contributions to Independent Practice, based partly on my activities in OPA and work with SPTAs.
Question 2: What do you perceive as being the issues of greatest concern to SPTAs, as organizations?
The vast majority of legislation affecting psychologists and psychology either happens at the state level or is best advocated for within the home states of Congressional members. Our SPTA’s are the bedrock of advocacy efforts for much of psychology, particularly for practitioners. In recent years, a number of SPTAs have struggled to maintain membership and related operational resources. Based on this perspective, the biggest issues of concern to SPTAs as organizations include the following:
a. Keeping the doors of every SPTA open. I have been a longstanding supporter of programs such as the Small State Grants historically. We need to help SPTAs maintain or enhance their membership and other resources so they can retain a significant presence in their respective states, provinces or territories.
b. Clarify and strengthen the relationship between APA and the SPTAs. The relationship of SPTAs and APA is not based on a chapter model. Further, the APA Practice Directorate has been the singular point of connection for SPTAs to APA for many years. As a result, there is a longstanding inconsistency or disconnect in the relationship and perceived relevance of APA to the SPTAs for many members. While some SPTAs focus almost exclusively on psychological practice and practitioners, some SPTAs focus more broadly across psychology. SPTAs are not just practitioner organizations, yet they provide much support to the practitioner community. SPTAs are not generally well connected to other areas of APA even though there may be ongoing needs related to other areas.
c. There is some concern among SPTAs about the significance of the change from the SLC to the PLC conference. Many SPTAs do not see themselves as solely practitioner organizations and see the shift as possibly diminishing the perceived importance of SPTAs at APA. This can be perceived as a lack of deep understanding of what SPTAs do (or could do) as psych organizations. There is also a concern that the PLC might not exist in the future as most other leadership conferences have been discontinued.
d. Many SPTAs, like APA, have had difficulty attracting and/or retaining ethnic minority psychologists and ECPs. There must be a priority put on encouraging, supporting and engaging ECPs and diverse psychologists from many demographic backgrounds and identities to join and be actively and meaningfully involved with both SPTAs and APA. The less relevant we appear to both the public and potential members, the less relevant we will be.
e. The membership of most SPTAs is quite disconnected from both APA and other SPTAs, so that the organizational experience is siloed. This can result In SPTA members feeling that APA may not be a viable or important option for their professional development, especially when SPTAs themselves may offer local, more affordable and accessible continuing education for psychologists who might otherwise attend the APA Convention. Many SPTAs also have had difficulty recruiting and retaining academic and science-focused members and leaders, despite the significant presence of major academic institutions and psychology programs in their membership areas.
Question 3: If elected to the APA Presidency, what would you do to address these issues?
a. As President, increase the frequency of two-way interaction with SPTAs and Division 31. It is not just about the President or APA imparting information to Division 31 and SPTAs; it is also about the President and APA continuing to learn what is going on in psychology around the US and identifying/prioritizing key needs.
b. Ensuring a PLC continues and adapts to current and changing needs, with additional emphasis on diversity. Given the significance of SPTAs in advocacy for both the public and psychologists, this conference represents a significant opportunity to solidify and strategically focus the efforts of SPTA leadership and APA leadership in advocating for both the public and for psychology and psycholgists.
c. Create a workgroup to develop a line of communications from APA as a whole, meaning all directorates, with the Division and its member SPTAs. Division 31 could be brought in to play a critical role in the new integrated c3c6 integrated advocacy process.
d. Develop and maintain a coordinated data base of SPTA legislative initiatives and legislative challenges on an ongoing basis to make it easier to coordinate and support integrated advocacy efforts. The c3c6 integration needs to build a strong data base foundation to make it work effectively. I am well aware of Division 31’s new advocacy coordinators initiative, linking an advocacy coordinator within the SPTA to Division 31. The proposal here builds on the new c3c6 model and can utilize the framework already built for the advocacy initiative.
e. Establish and grow a coordinated data base and data access to support Division 31 and SPTAs. We should be at the point where we can create a virtual data base and platform for regular information and data mining both between APA and SPTAs and amongst SPTAs with each other. A commonly established platform could be helpful to struggling SPTA organizations who have difficulty maintaining strong administrative infrastructures and help more robust associations accelerate their impact.
f. Work with Division 31 to clarify and enhance the relationship of APA to both 31 and the member SPTAs. Without using a chapter model, we can still build a tighter collaborative model for collective benefit to psychology and psychologists.
g. The most significant and comprehensive initiative would be for APA to broaden and redefine its relationship with SPTAs so that SPTAs could broaden their membership and focus to appeal to all their resident psychologists, while retaining longstanding ties with the Practice Directorate. Once again, common data bases and technology platforms could assist in building this foundation. Division 31 could play a vital role in such a transition, bringing APA and SPTAs closer together for the good of the public psychology and psychologists.