Division 22 President
Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute
50 Township Line Rd.
Elkins Park, PA 19027
Telephone: (215) 663-6153
Fax: (215) 663-6113
It’s hard to believe that my year as Division 22 president is more than half over! It’s been a very busy seven months and a lot of fun as well, believe it or not. I know that much of the work of our Executive Committee goes on “behind the scenes,” so I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you all about a few of the things we’ve accomplished during this time, and what we’re planning to do in the months ahead.
In my August message, I said that one of our main goals was to work on elevating the visibility of Rehabilitation Psychology. In December 2012, we achieved a major step toward that goal by submitting an application to recognize rehabilitation psychology as a specialty, to APA’s Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology. This mammoth effort was spearheaded by Bill Stiers, who was recognized with a special award from ABRP presented at the Jacksonville conference. The CRSPPP application will be reviewed for several months, but we are confident that it is a strong document with an excellent chance of succeeding. Stay tuned for more news on this important initiative as soon as we hear from the commission.
Speaking of the Jacksonville conference, about 200 of us gathered at the end of February for what many people said was the “best yet” collection of workshops, plenaries and symposia for rehabilitation psychology practitioners, researchers and trainees. (Watch the website for access to conference slides and other materials.) While we were 100 percent pleased with this meeting, chaired by Pamela Fitzpatrick, we’d also like to hear what would attract the other 900 members of the division to join us next year! Planning for the February 2014 Rehabilitation Psychology conference in San Antonio, chaired by Michelle Meade, started literally the day after Jacksonville wrapped. Feel free to email me with any suggestions you have for future RP meetings. What would entice you to attend?
Another goal for the Executive Committee was to “connect” with as many division members as possible, to hear your thoughts about how to improve division services and attract new members. Last fall, more than 30 percent of you (a great response rate, by all accounts) participated in the member survey in which we asked you to rate the services available in Division 22 and to make suggestions for improving them. There’s a lot of information there, and we’re still pondering the results, but here are a few things we found out:
Who are we? More than one-third of the survey respondents were students or early career psychologists. We’re very proud of our ability to attract younger members and are committed to doing an even better job in the future, assisted by the student and early career reps on the Executive Board. The survey also gave us great suggestions, such as the idea to make a special place on the website just for students and to collect and post more job and postdoctoral opportunities for early career members.
Most of us (more than 70 percent) do clinical work, but more than one-third of us also do research and nearly half are involved in education and training. It’s a challenge to meet the diverse needs of our multi-talented members.
What’s important to us? We rated the four “most important” benefits of Division 22 membership as the journal, Rehabilitation Psychology; opportunities for continuing education; networking with colleagues; and advocacy for legislation and policy affecting reimbursement and practice issues.
Are we satisfied with these benefits? Generally yes, especially the journal (high marks to editor Steve Wegener and the other members of the Editorial Board). Members are also pretty satisfied with the educational and networking opportunities afforded by division membership. We received excellent suggestions in both areas, too, such as to offer online courses (something we may be able to do soon since our CE Committee, led by Kim Gorgens, has been certified to provide distance CE).
Where could we improve? Of the “most important” benefits, advocacy for the profession got the lowest satisfaction ratings. Comments from respondents made it clear that we should do a better job of informing members about advocacy activities and providing more practice-related updates. We’ll work on this in the coming months. We are also actively recruiting a new federal advocacy coordinator for the division. The person in this role works with the state associations and APA to stay on top of issues that affect rehabilitation psychology as a profession.
We also got feedback that we could improve the Division 22 website with more frequent updates and features of use to members, prospective members and the general public. We’ve already gotten started on this with a task force chaired by President-Elect Mary Brownsberger, along with chairs and members of the Communications Committee.
Last but not least, many of you said you wanted to get more involved with the division but are not sure how. We’ll be putting updated information on Committees and Special Interest Groups on the website and will be making announcements about how to get involved through the site and the Division 22 email list.
Thank you all for your support of Division 22! As always, contact me directly at any time to discuss ideas, questions, comments or concerns.