In this issue

APA program chair report

Following the success of its program at the 122nd Annual APA Convention, Div. 19 is planning exciting changes for 2015 in Toronto.

By Nathan Ainspan, PhD, Ann Landes, and Rebecca Blais, PhD

As the annual meeting cochairs for our division, we are pleased to report that we had a very successful conference in August and want to inform you about some of the exciting changes that we are planning for the 2015 conference, which will be in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, from Aug. 6 to 9 (Thursday through Sunday).

2014 Meeting

Our 2014 meeting was held in Washington, D.C., from Aug. 7 to10. Because we were meeting in our nation's capital and the headquarters of our military, we really worked hard to maximize our location and make the best use of our geography. During the weekend our division offered 35 symposia and sessions, 51 paper presentations, and a number of receptions. All of this was in addition to the other panels on military psychology that were held throughout the weekend and sponsored by other divisions. All of these sessions provided our members with a plethora of choices. We heard from many members that they had the enviable problem of having to choose from too many options during a specific time slot. We will endeavor to create this “problem” for you in future conferences.

This year we tried something new and used our convention suite as an additional location for symposia and presentations. Instead of simply hosting parties in the room in the evenings, we had presentations going in the room virtually every day from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. There were logistical challenges to doing this, but we felt that the benefits of increasing our programming —and having a place to host more interactive and smaller presentations — were worth the risk. From the comments we heard, this experiment was successful, as it seems like our members valued the extra sessions and the opportunity for networking.

We look forward to repeating this practice at next year's conference in Toronto. We will book a suite large enough to accommodate both the sessions and informal get-togethers. The programs in the suite truly helped us to expand our offerings at a time when the hours assigned to us are shrinking and while our membership and the range of our programs keep growing.

One of the highlights of our program was the session organized by COL Stephen Bowles. He assembled senior psychologists from the services and academic researchers to speak about the current state and future direction of military psychology. Included in this august group was the highest ranking enlisted member of our military, SGT MAJ Bryan Battaglia, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His comments, including his honest description of his own experiences with counseling, were a powerful testimony to the importance that our military leadership has placed on military psychology.


We owe a debt of gratitude to the following people who made the conference so successful:

  • Jennifer Barry, our tireless Student Affairs Committee chair, who organized sessions and extracurricular events and ensured that all of our students felt welcome, were involved, and—dare we even say it?—had fun during the weekend;
  • Angela Legner, our Student Affairs Committee chair-select, who recruited, scheduled, and supervised the volunteers;
  • Past President Kathryn Lindsey, who provided leadership and guidance to the program and the schedule;
  • Incoming President Ann Landes, who served as program co-chair in 2013, who, as always, did yeoman's work on every aspect of the conference and to whom no detail was too small — and no detail was overlooked.

New Annual Meeting Co-chair

We also want to introduce a new program cochair: Rebecca “Becky” Blais. Becky will serve as a program cochair for the 2015–2017 conferences. Becky is currently an assistant professor of psychology at Utah State University. Her program of research focuses on posttraumatic stress disorder, postdeployment distress, barriers to care, and relationship quality in veterans. She has been a member of Div. 19 for over 5 years. For more information about Becky and her program of research, you may visit her website.

2015 Toronto Meeting

Even before the 2014 convention ended, we were already planning the 2015 convention in Toronto. The deadline for proposal submissions is Dec. 1, so start contacting colleagues if you have not done so already. Remember that any APA member can submit a proposal—even students—so do not be bashful in reaching out to others to assemble a panel. More information about the convention (and the online proposal system) is available. If you have questions about creating a proposal, contact Nate or Becky.

Remember that Tom Williams, our president, has established a number of themes for the program next year. He is encouraging submissions of sessions that focus on the 100th-year anniversary of World War I to look at how military psychology impacted the world and the rest of the psychology during the past century and what home front lessons we have relearned during this century. He has a particular interest in presentations that represent the historical foundations of psychology that were greatly influenced by psychologists responding to threats to our national security: for example, Robert Yerkes and his role with psychological testing (e.g., Army Alpha and Army Beta) to help more scientifically screen large numbers of conscripts and that set the stage for the tremendous demonstrations of assessment and selection processes by the Office of Strategic Studies in World War II. Psychologists, and in particular those focused on military psychology, have always demonstrated that the security of our nation is a shared responsibility of all. Help us tell that important story.

We anticipate receiving a large number of proposals for the 2015 convention. We are seeking self-nominations for reviewers of these proposals. As a reviewer, you will be given a selection of these proposals and scoring criteria and will be asked to evaluate their fit with our 2015 convention program and goals. The proposals will be distributed to possible reviewers based on areas of expertise. This type of service takes very little time (and you will have a few weeks to review), but is a great help to our division. Please consider being a reviewer. If you are interested in providing this type of service to our division, please contact Becky Blais. Please be sure to let Becky know of your areas of expertise.

We look forward to welcoming you in Toronto and answering your questions prior to that.

In the words of Bob and Doug McKenzie (of Second City TV ), “Take off to the Great White North!”

Nathan Ainspan and Rebecca Blais, Div. 19 Program Co-chairs