From the President’s Desk

APA Div. 28 President Column

Greetings from Vermont and congratulations to award winners.

By Stacey C. Sigmon

Stacey C. Sigmon, PhDGreetings from Vermont. I hope everyone is weathering the winter and starting to see signs of spring (at least for those of you not at the Canadian border). I am honored to serve as president this year as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our division. Div. 28 was founded in 1966 to provide a home within APA for psychologists interested in the behavioral effects of psychoactive drugs. As you’ll see below, we have some great convention programming built around this important milestone, as well as several other exciting initiatives for 2016.

First, I would like to extend an enthusiastic thanks and congratulations to Bill Stoops and our division’s officers, Executive Committee and members for a great year and outstanding scientific program at last August’s conference. It may seem like a long time ago, but Toronto provided a wonderful setting for us to share our work and discuss science with friends and colleagues from all over the country.

We have a similarly strong line-up for our upcoming
 convention, thanks in large part to the dedication of our program chair,
 Mollie Miller. We will have
 symposia and presentations on the timely topics of tobacco regulatory science and cannabis legalization, as well as many other areas of psychopharmacology and substance abuse. To commemorate our division’s golden anniversary, we will also have a 50th anniversary symposium in which five past presidents and Med Associates Brady-Schuster Award winners will reflect on the scientific contributions made by Div. 28 members over the past five decades. Our presenters will include Bob Balster, Warren Bickel, Marilyn Carroll, Steve Higgins and Maxine Stitzer. Our celebrations will continue with a 50th anniversary social hour. More details on our convention program will be posted in upcoming months, but in the meantime, please start making your plans to join us this Aug. 4-7 in beautiful Denver. 

Second, I’d like to thank and congratulate our newest elected officers and award recipients. Congratulations to President-elect David Festinger. Cecile Marczinski joins us as member-at-large, Cathy Stanger as awards chair, Matt Johnson as fellows chair and Andrea Robinson is our new ECP representative. Welcome to all of you and thank you for your service.  

Please also join me in congratulating this year’s award recipients: Katherine Marks (Dissertation Award), Matthew Kirkpatrick (Young 
Psychopharmacologist Award) and John Grabowski (Med Associates Brady-Schuster Award). We also welcome our newest Div. 28 fellows: Sandra Comer, Adam Leventha and Matt Johnson. Congratulations on these well-deserved honors. Each of our honorees will share their research with us at the August meeting.

As another way to commemorate Div. 28’s 50th anniversary, we will be publishing a special issue of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology® highlighting the scientific contributions of our division’s members over the past 50 years. I’m sure you have seen our many calls for manuscript submissions. As some outstanding papers have already begun rolling in, we will be inviting many of you to serve as reviewers on these manuscripts. Please consider contributing in this way — this special issue of ECP will represent a lasting acknowledgement of our division’s 50th anniversary. 

Finally, I’d like to share a new initiative that I began this year and which I hope will continue in the years to come. For many of us, our early interests and even research experience in psychopharmacology and substance abuse began as undergraduates in the laboratories and clinics of many of our Div. 28 members. For me, it was the invaluable opportunity to serve as research assistant in the behavioral pharmacology laboratory of Linda Dykstra (Div. 28 president, 1988-89) at UNC-Chapel Hill. However, an opportunity to actually attend and participate in scientific meetings would be icing on the cake for these undergraduates who are positioned to become the future scientists in our field. Toward this end, we are establishing the Div. 28 Undergraduate Scholarship. Each year we will sponsor several undergraduate students from universities or colleges in the convention host city who are involved in psychopharmacology research. Awardees will receive a one-year APA membership and convention registration, be invited to present their research at a poster session, and will join our members at poster sessions and symposia. I hope this will provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to network with leaders in the field of psychopharmacology and substance abuse and to learn more about graduate school programs and training opportunities.

We have three outstanding recipients of our Div. 28 Scholarship for our inaugural year: Nihal Eltom, Helen Mamo and Joseph Rosales, all of whom are undergraduate students at the University of Colorado, Denver. Congratulations. I’d also like to thank Justin Strickland, chair of our newly-formed Div. 28 Undergraduate Scholarship committee (and also our student representative), for his efforts in pulling this all together in time for the August 2016 meeting. Please extend a warm welcome to these students in Denver and consider nominating an undergraduate in your lab for next year’s scholarship.