FEATURE COLUMN

From the president's desk

The new president looks back on the accomplishments of his predecessors, introduces the new executive committee and outlines the division goals for the coming year

By Rick Bevins, PhD

As I look at the list of esteemed past presidents of Division 28, both recent and distant, I am deeply humbled that my colleagues elected me to represent them as their 43rd President. I will do my best to maintain the longstanding tradition of excellence so clearly demonstrated by our previous presidents and I will work hard to look out for your interests in all Division and APA affairs. The trust you have placed in me means a lot and I look forward to repaying that trust and support across the year.

Your past president

Before I introduce you to the other dedicated individuals on the Executive Committee, I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to Mark Greenwald, our past president. His innovative and thoughtful leadership has placed the Division on more solid fiscal grounds, has stopped the downward trend of membership in the Division, and has continued the outreach efforts to Early Career Psychologists (ECPs) — just to name a few. He has set a high bar. One of my goals as President is to keep his many successful efforts moving forward. Personally, he provided me with mentorship across his term, serving as a role model and sharing some key insights into effective management and administration of the Division. I hope I was a good student and can use it to better serve you, my colleagues, friends, and members of Division 28, as I advocate for our science-based division.

Your executive committee

I’m pleased to introduce you to the Executive Committee for 2012:

  • Anthony Liguori (President-Elect)

  • Mark Greenwald (Past President)

  • Bill Stoops (Secretary, 2011-2013)

  • Mark Smith (2012 Convention Program Chair; Liaison to Science Directorate, 2011-2012)

  • Kelly Dunn (Newsletter Editor, 2011-2013 and one of our ECP Representatives)

  • Sarah Tragesser (ECP Representative)

  • Ryan Vandrey (Membership Officer, 2011-2013)

  • Chana Akins (Awards Officer, 2011-2012)

  • John Grabowski (Council Representative, 2012-2014)

  • Diomaris Jurecska (Student Representative, 2011-2012)

  • Jane Acri (Treasurer since 1996)

  • Ron Woods (Electronic Communication Officer since 1997)

  • Vic Laties (Webmaster since 1997)

  • Marlyne Kilbey (Continuing Education Chair since 2005)

  • Wendy Lynch (Member-at-Large, 2010-2012)

  • Ellen Walker (Member-at-Large, 2011-2013)

  • Matthew Johnson (Member-at-Large, 2012-2014)

  • Stephen Heishman (Fellow Chair, 2009-2014)

  • Nancy Piotrowski (Women’s Network Representative since 2003)

  • Ming Li (Liaison to Committee on International Relations since 2012).

They have already been working hard for you and I look forward to tapping into their energies and talent to move the Division forward. Note that there will be several openings on the Executive Committee at the end of the year. I encourage you to consider getting more involved with Division 28 and its governance. I have found it to be a rewarding experience as I meet more colleagues and make more friends. Just drop them an email or contact me if you are interested.

Summary of goals

The field of psychopharmacology and substance abuse is active and strong. I will continue and reinforce ongoing efforts to make this field’s division within APA just as strong. To do so, we must continue to recruit new members with a focus on engaging and retaining ECPs. Thus, we will continue to offer free membership for the first year to ALL new members. A no-cost trial is a great way to see what the Division has to offer in mentorship, information, guidance, and resources. Recent changes on how the Division handles new membership applications means that new members will begin to enjoy the benefits of membership almost immediately. The prize drawing for recruiting new members at the Division 28 mixer at CPDD was a huge hit and a great success last year. The idea is for current Division 28 members to bring “buddies” to the mixer. For each buddy that fills in an application for Division 28 membership, you earn one chance to draw for a prize. The only catch is that your buddy needs to be an APA member at the post-doc level or beyond, but is not a member of the Division (or membership has lapsed). The more buddies you sign up the more chance you have at winning one of the fabulous prizes. More information regarding this event will be sent out electronically.

Of course, I hope that all of us will consider doubling our efforts across this year to encourage our colleagues and trainees to join the Division; be ready for reminders across the year. I know that everyone is asked to join so many organizations, and money is tight. However, joining the Division (free the first year, and cheap thereafter) instantly makes a large and seemingly scattered conference into a more intimate, focused and themed meeting. To that end, Mark Smith, Program Chair, has organized an exciting lineup for the 2012 APA meeting in Orlando. Many of the symposia highlight translational research in psychopharmacology and substance abuse. Research topics include sex difference in relapse, behavioral economics and addiction, psychopharmacology of antipsychotics and much more, including talks from our award winners and new APA Fellows. We will keep you informed and look for more on the conference schedule soon.

Last year the Division 28 website saw a major overhaul. Our division, thanks to the efforts of Ron Wood and Vic Laties, is also on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Ning. Much of the technology is integrated, with information that is posted to the listserv being pushed to Facebook and then tweeted @APADiv28. The social/professional network platforms on Linked-In and Ning will likely be replaced, at least in part, by APA Communities. I just received an e-mail from Ron Wood saying that the site has been populated with Division 28 membership data and is ready to go live. In Ron’s words “[APA Communities is] limited to APA members and noncommercial, this is a truly innovative effort by APA to enhance your professional life. Enable collaborations, share documents, maintain profiles. A very rich tool, a real benefit of membership.” Stay tuned for more innovations and efforts on this front as we explore ways to increase the utility of these cyber-tools for the membership.

We will continue to advocate for the discipline and science on all fronts. These issues include, but are not limited to, compliance and regulatory policies for research, funding priorities of various agencies, merging of NIDA and NIAAA, psychology as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) discipline, interference with scientific peer review and funding, etc. We encourage you to be active and communicate when the opportunities arise. A concerted voice will be heard.

Here’s to a productive and successful year. Please feel free to communicate any of your thoughts and suggestions to me. And seriously consider becoming more involved in the Division; the rewards are many.