In this issue

President's column

Div. 18 members are being recognized for their expertise in current events, police and community relations and in informing policy on integration of technology and psychological interventions.

By Femina P. Varghese, PhD

As 2015 is moving forward full throttle, I am excited about this year and what it will bring for our division. I am increasingly convinced that Div. 18: Psychologists in Public Service is a division whose members have expertise relevant to the issues of our day. Therefore, it was wonderful to see our members being tapped and recognized by leaders in Washington, D.C., and APA for their expertise on current events, ranging from mental health care to police and community relations.

Specifically, the issue of police and community relations has come to the forefront and has continued to remain in the national discussion. That is why I am thankful for the members of our Police and Public Safety Section who have expertise in this area. Specifically, Lorraine Greene, PhD, and Ellen Scrivner, PhD, were invited last fall to Washington, D.C., to take part in a congressional briefing on police and community relations. Both have agreed to write an article for our newsletter on this issue. Thus, the current newsletter features an article by Scrivner, a past president of our division, and one with long-time experience and knowledge in this area.

Recently, the Div. 18 Executive Board was asked by our council representatives to note important areas in need of focus in our field. The Div. 18 Executive Board noted three issues, as indicated by one of our council representatives, Dolly Sadow:

  • Insurance and other reimbursement for psychological services.
  • The integration of technology and psychological interventions.
  • In partnership with other professionals, psychologists should be integrated in all aspects of care including, among others, primary care.

I am excited to note that Div. 18 is moving in the right direction on these issues. For example, right now Div. 18 is collaborating with the Coalition for Technology in Behavioral Science (CTiBS) and Div. 22 on technology-related issues in psychology. In this vein, a panel discussion concerning technology competencies has been accepted to be presented at APA, with our very own Tom Miller as a panelist.

Of the topics from various divisions submitted to council, the APA COR board selected “Translating Science into Policy” as their topic of focus. This is also relevant to our division, as we have members, such as Shelia Brandt, PsyD, who work directly in public policy—directing our science to public policy issues. In addition, as mentioned, our members are being tapped nationally for their expertise to inform policy.

In regard to APA, now is the time to consider traveling to the APA convention in Toronto. Travel to Canada does require a passport, so have those ready to go. We hope to have some exciting events in the hospitality suite. In addition, many of the proposals that were sent as interdivisional programming were accepted. I look forward to seeing the work of our members.

Another important conference is occurring in Canada this summer, the 3rd North American Correctional and Criminal Justice Psychology Conference in Ottawa, Canada. This conference is being co-sponsored by Div. 18 and attracts some of the best scholars in criminal justice, nationally and internationally. I hope that I will see those within our division attend.

Talking about conferences, Div. 18's Conference on Public Mental Health Innovations: From Research to Practice will be held on March 27. We have wonderful speakers, including our very own Arthur Evans, PhD, who will be giving the keynote. I hope you can attend. It would be nice to see our members at our conference.

In connection with the conference, the call for papers for a special issue on public mental health innovations in our journal Public Service Psychology is still out, with submissions due May 31, 2015. Looking forward to reviewing some wonderful papers.

I also want to welcome our new associate editor to our journal, Bettina Schmid, PhD. I am certain she will be a wonderful addition to our editorial team. Our journal is doing well under the leadership of Pat Deleon, PhD, Gary VandenBos, PhD, and Daniya Tamendarova. I also want to thank all of our associate editors for their dedicated work. Most especially, I would like to honor Morgan Sammons, PhD, who provided years of service as an associate editor and recently stepped down.

As our journal is progressing and growing, it is important to encourage good scholarship. That is why I am grateful to the editorial team of Psychological Services and the Div. 18 Executive Board for supporting my initiative to develop a best paper award. Special thanks to the committee helping me in developing criteria: Sarah Manchak,PhD; Tanecia Blue, PhD; Alix McLearen, PhD; Daniya Tamendarova; Leon Green, PhD and Herb Gupton, PhD.

Let me conclude by stating that I am excited for the future of this division. On March 26, a core group of division leaders will meet to develop a strategic plan to guide our division for the next three years. I believe such a plan will allow us to focus our energy and resources to benefit the division and the membership. Finally, as I have said in other articles, the membership is the most important part of our division. I am always happy to hear your thoughts and input. Hope to see some of you in person at the various conferences mentioned.