I am excited to write my first column as President-Elect of Division 18. I am pleased and honored to have been given this opportunity. However, I am just a little anxious to step into this role. My anxiety subsided some as I began to reflect on all the wonderful members of the Division who have always stepped up to the plate to help. So I am writing encourage those of you who have participated in the past to continue to do so and to ask others to consider the benefits they may enjoy by increasing their activities in Division 18. I am therefore, going to mention some of the opportunities, many of which are highlighted in this newsletter.
I’d first like to discuss the advantages of attending the convention. The 120th annual meeting of the American Psychological Association will be held on August 2nd – 5th, 2012 in Orlando, FL. I’m hoping that you are considering attending the meeting. Our division programming will be organized by Drs. Jay Supnick and Howard Steinberg, who are already busy organizing a stellar program. Others though, are needed to help with program development and implementation – submit your work for presentation, serve as a reviewer of submissions, and respond to the program co-chairs requests for help.
You may also be interested in assisting with the development of the new section within the Division. Established, in part, through the efforts of Dr. Mary Jansen, a section has been formed that will address the needs of persons who have Serious Mental Illness and Severe Emotional Disturbance (SMI/SED). The Section will serve many purposes, which focus on promoting understanding of SMI/SED among both psychologists and the general public and advocacy for inclusion of training on SMI/SED for psychologists. These purposes will be achieved by providing forums for the exchange of information, the development of psychological knowledge related to SMI/SED, the development and dissemination of communications to enhance services for persons with SMI/SED, and the development of standards that will enhance treatment of persons with SMI/SED. This section is still being organized so there will be roles for many to play. Please support the section.
I’d also like to mention the journal, Psychological Services. I am pleased to assume a more active role conferring with those responsible for the development and management of the Division journal. It is a great read and provides a valuable benefit to those working in public sector settings. I encourage you to read the journal, to submit your work for publication, and to make sure that your institution’s library has an active subscription! The journal supports and is supported by our Division, and is something of which we all should be proud.
I’d like to mention the newsletter. This publication, edited by Drs. Marcia Baruch and Victor Wolski, is a tremendous asset of the Division. Updates on Division and Section activities, informal reviews of books and media, and articles of member interest are included. Contact Marcia or Victor and consider sending your work to this periodical.
Lastly, I will mention advocacy and mentoring. Our work involves improving the lives of others. So when asked to post a letter to an elected official, to advocate for a case, a class or our profession, please consider supporting the effort. Talk about advocacy with those who are new to the field or are in training. Support our new professionals by having discussions about the value of our work and invite them to participate in our Division!
In sum, become more involved in Division 18. There are many more ways to participate than I have mentioned here (e.g., committees and task forces) and there is a need for persons with a range of skill sets. Send me a note to learn more about the ways to contribute. I’m looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you next summer in Orlando.