A Message From the Division President

Jennifer Kaminski, PhDIn 2001, I began my Div. 37 involvement as the graduate student representative. I was in awe of the names on the membership list. Seventeen years and three more Board positions later, I have the same thoughts when I look at Div. 37 membership list. You are the leaders in the field I care about most: using evidence-based psychology to help vulnerable children, youth and families. You are the authors whose work I read and cite. You are some of the most dedicated, collaborative professionals anywhere. It is an honor I hold dear, that you have put your faith in me to lead in these dynamic times.

In addition to my own personal and professional growth, the other major shift in those years has been in being able to build relationships with so many of our members. Those relationships and connections have allowed me to do more, and do more impactful work. And because so many of you have engaged my knowledge, I’ve been able to support work that I could never have undertaken on my own. I firmly believe that the power of relationships and collaboration exponentiates what we can accomplish. So rather than focus on a topical presidential theme, I offer a presidential strategy for my year of office: building, strengthening and leveraging our relationships.

This may be the most important time in our lifetime to be awake and active in service of children and families. It is equally important to be working together to achieve our aims, given how strong a role divisiveness has in our culture right now. As passionate professionals and experts, it would be easy to get caught up in arguments about “what’s the most important issue facing children, youth and families?” or “which disparity is the most important to address?” or “which population is the most underserved?” That kind of thinking and arguing adds to the divisiveness. If instead we consider each of us as a part of a team – with each person contributing what they can to improve our society – we can achieve so much more. We don’t all need to be working on the same specific issues, we just need to collectively be covering all the bases.

I am grateful that so many of us already collaborate, because I have seen firsthand the value of relationships in this important, daunting, and sometimes heartbreaking work that we do. I challenge myself and all of you not to “do more” in 2018, but to “do more together.” Drop me a line and let’s start conversations about how we can make that happen.