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Council of Representatives report

Highlights from February 2015 APA Council of Representative meeting.

By Sandra J. Bishop-Josef, PhD

The APA Council of Representatives met in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 20-22, 2015. Several items on the agenda are of interest to Div. 37.

First, council spent a full day on a strategic issue discussion on translating psychological science for application to public policy. Four council members shared their experiences working with policymakers and APA General Counsel Nathalie Gilfoyle discussed APA's amicus briefs program. Council members then broke into three groups to discuss the implications of translating science to policy for researchers, advocacy and educating the general public. I participated in the advocacy group and was surprised by how new the idea of translating science for policy was for many fellow council members. Div. 37 really is unique among the APA divisions with our strong focus on applying psychological research to public policy.

Another major issue discussed at the council meeting was the training and skills required for psychologists working in health-delivery settings.

Council adopted an inter-organizational document (PDF, 355KB) that outlines competencies for psychology practice in primary care. The document is designed as a resource for psychology education and training programs, and current practitioners. Council also approved the Commission on Accreditation's new standards of accreditation for health service psychology, effective January 2017.

Council received a report on APA's finances, which continue to be strong. Given this strength, the finance committee has decided to draw 3 percent from APA's long-term investment portfolio to fund special projects. Two of these are of particular interest to Div. 37: the first-ever leadership conference by the Public Interest Directorate, to be held in November 2015. All divisions will be invited to send a representative to participate. In addition, there will be a roundtable on physical discipline, to be held in summer 2015. This roundtable is an outgrowth of the task force on physical punishment co-sponsored by Divs. 37 and 7.

With regard to the ongoing changes associated with the Good Governance Project, council approved plans to implement changes in APA's bylaws and rules that were voted on at council's August 2014 meeting. These changes relate to the composition and election of the board of directors and require a membership vote. The vote is expected to take place in fall 2015.

Finally, in an action designed to enhance the future of APA, council approved a change in APA's rules to require boards and committees to have at least one member who is an early career psychologist (with a few exceptions for boards and committees that have special requirements for service, such as being an APA fellow to serve on the Fellows Committee).

Please contact me if you have any questions regarding council or our recent meeting.