Caring for ourselves and our patients
By Dinelia Rosa, PhD
This past March, I attended the APA Practice Organization (APAPO) State Leadership Conference (SLC). As usual, this is an opportunity to learn about issues that impact our state, provincial and territorial psychological associations (SPTAs) and come back to our respective SPTAs with renewed ideas to share with our respective associations.
A main highlight this year was the clear distinction between APA and APAPO mentioned by various presenters, in particular Cynthia Belar, PhD, APA’s interim chief executive officer; Katherine Nordal, PhD, executive director of APAPO; and Kathleen Brown, PhD, chair of the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice. In a nutshell APA’s main concern is the good of psychology, while APAPO’s main endeavor is advocacy for psychologists. They are equally important for us. One without the other would meet just part of our professional needs. It is up to us, however, to consider our membership in either one or both.
Another topic discussed at SLC, membership, is a concern for most SPTAs. With few exceptions, most associations are struggling with recruitment and retention of members, including diversity representation. Old tricks do not seem to work the same now. New media and technology bring new opportunities to attract members, but not all our SPTAs have the resources available to venture into this new terrain. In particular, our small associations lack the infrastructure that can facilitate this and similar alternatives. Supporting our SPTAs in this and many other areas ought to be part of our division’s undertaking. Currently, we are exploring ways in which our division can play a role to support SPTAs. We are looking into creating a section of resources on our website readily available to leaders of all SPTAs. We are hoping to start with a collection of ideas implemented by some SPTAs that have shown to be effective. Soon you will receive a survey asking to share some of the most effective ideas to increase membership. We plan to collect them and add them to our website. It takes a village; therefore, your cooperation responding to the survey will be pivotal to make this happen.
Increasing communication between our division and all SPTAs has been another area of interest in recent years. We envision our associations seeing our division as a hub to share what is going on in their respective associations and to learn how other associations are addressing similar issues. More importantly, we envision our division as a venue of collaboration and empowerment for our SPTAs. With the swift outward changes in health care, telehealth among others, and the inward transition and reconstruction, more than ever our SPTAs can benefit from sharing in the common issues. These commonalities can serve as a baseboard to associations’ efforts. No need to reinvent the wheel.
Toward this goal we have been reaching out to all APA Council representatives inviting them to join our division. For the second consecutive year, we are offering a complimentary membership to presidents of SPTAs. Additionally, each SPTA membership includes the membership of the executive director. The hope is that by having the executive director, president and council representative(s) of each SPTA as members of our division, we would increase the connection between us and associations. As we all know, this effort goes beyond a one-year presidential initiative. I stand on the shoulders of recent presidents who had this as one of their main initiatives. I just hope to continue the efforts.
Our division is best known for advocacy and leadership. We are proud to have an active group of members, including ECPs, committed to these efforts. In an effort to increase visibility and collaboration, we are in the process of creating an advocacy committee to bring all existing efforts into a common umbrella. We envision a committee consisting of seasoned members, working in advocacy for quite some time; early career members; and students. This interactive model will serve a dual role of advocacy and mentoring in action. I invite you to consider participating in this effort.
On another topic and for the first time, this year our division will recognize the “host” SPTA where the annual APA convention takes place. This year we will be acknowledging the Colorado Psychological Association (CPA) during our social hour. Needless to say, they are proud of having the convention in their state and will be sending information about things to do while in Denver via our Listserv. Additionally, CPA will participate in our convention program. Stay tuned for further information as we get closer to August.
In closing, keep using our Listserv for discussions relevant to our SPTAs. Don’t forget to visit our website for useful information to you and you state. Stay in tune with the blogs of our task force groups. Let’s keep in touch. Feel free to share your thoughts about how to make our division relevant to the needs of all our leaders. It takes a village.