In this issue
A Fundamental Concern for Others
Our 124th Annual Convention
This year's APA convention in Denver was very pleasant. The Karl F. Heiser Awards Ceremony, chaired by APA President Susan McDaniel and the division's Tom DeMaio, was particularly moving. The Iowa Psychological Association's prescriptive authority success was highlighted; with Bethe Lonning, Brenda Payne, and Greg Febbarro (posthumously) being honored. Most state psychological associations assume that to enact such far-reaching legislation over the vocal objections of organized psychiatry is a very expensive undertaking. It did take Iowa a decade; however, Bethe indicated that since 2011 they had only needed to raise $3,535.50. The key to their success was grassroots campaigning and sincerely believing that what they were proposing was important for the citizens of Iowa. It was refreshing that the board of directors, under the leadership of Susan and Interim CEO Cynthia Belar, were responsive to engaging society's “issues of the day.” Those supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement had a distinctive presence at the convention and representatives of the Board and Council (Tony Puente and Jennifer Kelly) went out and greeted those marching to show support. The board also hosted a meeting of leaders in the police and public safety community to discuss how organized psychology can best help. We would suggest that our State Psychological Associations should initiate similar involvement at the local level since psychological science can contribute in solving societal problems.
Effectively Addressing National and Local Needs:
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) reports that mental health disorders rank in the top five chronic illnesses in the nation. An estimated 25 percent of adults currently suffer from mental illness and nearly half of all adults will develop at least one mental illness in their lifetime. In 2007, over 80 percent of those seen in the emergency room had mental disorders diagnosed as mood, anxiety and alcohol related disorders. The need for integrated care should come to mind.
In Hawaii, Dina Shek, working collaboratively with her colleagues in the William S. Richardson School of Law, has actively engaged students from the various health professional programs (including law) in obtaining clinical experiences within two of the state's federally qualified community health centers. She is now exploring developing a mental health-focused medical-legal partnership with the Hawaii Disability Rights Center. During the academic year 2014-2015, the HRSA Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) initiative supported clinical training at 340 partnered sites incorporating interdisciplinary team-based approaches, where approximately 1,900 students and advanced trainees from a variety of professions trained alongside GPE-sponsored trainees. More than 210 faculty members participated in 42 GPE-sponsored faculty development activities focusing on a wide variety of emerging topics in mental and behavioral health. Approximately 22 percent of the GPE students reported coming from disadvantaged backgrounds and upon graduation 87 percent intend to pursue employment in medically underserved communities.
We would suggest that these are exactly the types of creative initiatives which SPTAs should explore at annual meetings and/or at interprofessional dinners with their local legal, nursing, pharmacy, social work and medical associations. Susan McDaniel's APA Presidency has been all about the opportunities ahead for visionary psychologists. States can be the catalysts.