Div. 28 President’s Column

Recapping a banner year for Div. 28.

By David S. Festinger

David S. FestingerTime sure does fly. I can’t believe how quickly the year has gone by, and it’s hard to believe that this is my final column and that my term is coming to an end. It has truly been a distinct honor to serve as the president of such a remarkable division. I was incredibly fortunate to be surrounded and buoyed by such an esteemed group of scientists and innovative thinkers. I want to offer particular thanks to our past presidents Stacey Sigmon and William Stoops, our new council representative, and our president-elect, Mark Smith, for their incredible help and guidance. I also want to congratulate Kelly Dunn, our convention chair and newest member-at-large, for putting together a stellar annual convention in our nation’s capital. The exceptional programming, including a very well-attended joint Divs. 28 and 50 poster session, an innovative data-blitz designed to promote discussion and interaction between early career investigators and a host of timely and highly relevant symposia truly made for a rich and highly rewarding convention experience that highlighted the important work of our division. Finally, I want to thank our venerable Div. 28 Executive Committee for their assistance in keeping me on track and for taking time out of their busy careers to assist in helping Div. 28 make important contributions to the field of psychopharmacology and substance abuse. Addiction, particularly in the midst of our current opioid epidemic, has taken an unprecedented toll on public health and safety. And the individual contributions of our Executive Committee and division membership as a whole are helping to address and combat this plague.

This is where our division can be seen as not just talking the talk but actually taking important steps towards understanding and addressing the constituent processes of addiction and strategies to reduce it. Specific thanks should go out to Kelly Dunn, Sharon Walsh and Sandra Comer for collaborating with Div. 50 on APA’s response to the President’s Opioid Crisis Commission’s Interim Report and their involvement in a Cross-Divisional Task Force (Divs. 12, 28 and 50) to develop clinical responses to the opioid crisis. I also want to congratulate Rick Bevins for being selected to serve on the APA Prescription Task Force to review and revise the APA Post-Doctoral Education and Training Program in Psychopharmacology for Prescriptive Authority. It is a critical task for which Rick is particularly well-suited, and I am very happy that he will represent our division in this effort. I also want to express how honored I was to have members of our division attend the March for Science in Washington, D.C., this past spring and promote the importance of research. Finally, I have convened a subcommittee to identify strategies for improving diversity within our division membership and Executive Committee. I strongly encourage everyone in our membership to help identify ways to address this important division- and APA-wide objective.

In summary, I believe that Div. 28 had a banner year. We had a stellar convention, we have made excellent contributions to science, our finances are solid and we have an exemplary group of new leaders to help our division continue to grow and make even greater strides in the future.