President's message

The new division president announced consideration for alternative funding opportunities to benefit members, and a new initiative to improve communication with the creation of a new division Website

By Tonia S. Heffner, PhD

I am pleased to have assumed the duties of Division 19 president on January 1, 2012. It is a very exciting time to be involved with the Society for Military Psychology. There are many initiatives underway that will benefit our members.

I am taking the reins from Armando Estrada who is now the past president of Division 19. Armando‘s dedication to the division and efforts he put forth during his presidency are unobtainable goals for most people. It is my goal to continue the execution of the many initiatives started under Armando‘s watch. Armando focused on a) using the division‘s financial resources to best benefit our members, b) developing a long-term strategy to provide continuing education for clinical members, and c) identifying ways to assist Early Career Psychologists (ECPs) within our division. Additionally, the executive committee also identified the need to focus on how to improve communication among members of the division.

We have made tremendous progress on each of these areas and details can be found in other pages of the newsletter. However, I want to highlight a few of these developments in my column. The Financial Planning Committee proposed several ways to give back to our membership. The Division 19 Executive Committee approved two new sources of funding for our members – research grants and travel awards. Both funding sources provide options for our members to further their research and increase their participation in Division 19 activities. We also expanded our student research and travel award programs. This is just the beginning! The application process and criteria for all of these programs can be found elsewhere in the newsletter. The executive committee is considering other possible funding opportunities to benefit our members in other endeavors. None of these opportunities would be possible without the contributions of the Financial Planning Committee (Kathryn Lindsey, Ann Landes, Rebecca Porter, and Eve Weber) chaired by Kathryn Lindsey and Rebecca Porter.

The Continuing Education Committee‘s (CEC) report can be found on the later pages of this newsletter. The CE Committee was co-chaired by W. Brad Johnson and Carrie Kennedy. Committee members (John Ashburn, W. Brad Johnson, Carrie H. Kennedy, Freddy Paniagua, Randy Reese, and Morgan Sammons) not only developed a list of objectives and recommendations, but also accomplished two of these objectives and recommendations! They have put together an exciting pre-convention workshop that should interest psychologists within and outside of the traditional Division 19 borders as well as a program symposium that provides CE credits. At the midyear meeting, the executive committee approved one of their recommendations and now the CEC is a standing committee of Division 19! I look forward to hearing from the new co-chairs Freddy Paniagua and Carrie Kennedy as they continue to lead our efforts on the CE front. My thanks to the members of the CEC for their hard work.

The Early Career Psychologists Committee (ECP Members: Dave England, Jessica Gallus, Rhett Graves, Arwen Hunter-DeCostanza, Kristen Kochanski, Greg Matos, and Krista Ratwani) was equally successful. The ECP Committee was chaired by Jessica Gallus and Krista Ratwani. As a result of their enthusiasm and hard work, the EXCOM approved to establish a standing ECP committee of Division 19. The ECP Committee will provide a vibrancy and flow of fresh ideas into the division. In addition to accomplishing their objective to become a standing committee, the ECP Committee also developed programming for the APA convention and established travel awards for ECPs (as part of the larger travel award). The ECP Committee has more work to do so, if you are an ECP, I want to encourage you to assist the work of this committee by helping its members identify ways for the division to best serve you!

Our most recent initiative to improve communication with the Division 19 membership is the launch of our new website. Arwen Decostanza, our division Webmaster is leading our efforts on this front. With APA‘s assistance, the Website should be a consistently available source for current division news. We want members to view Division 19 as one of many resources available to them to further their research and practice goals and the Website will be a great resource for tracking all that the division has to offer.

All of these initiatives and opportunities do not happen by themselves. We need your involvement as volunteers to provide input on how we can best serve you as military psychologists. We need your ideas for continuing education programming. Early career psychologists, we need to hear from you. How can Division 19 help you further your career and involvement in the profession? We need to know what content you would like to see on the Website and also your contributions to the website and the newsletter. Let me encourage you to contact any member of the EXCOM or any of the chairs of the standing committees to find ways to provide input or get involved. Contact information for the executive committee and committee chairs can be found on the inside cover of this newsletter.

We want to hear your ideas!