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  • Meet the 2021 APA president-elect candidates. 

The election for the next president-elect begins September 15. Each of the five 2021 candidates for APA president-elect has prepared statements for Div. 18 members and has been interviewed for the Public Service Psychology Now podcast. Check out the candidates' statements and interviews below.

I appreciate the opportunity to introduce myself and my platform to the members of Division 18. I completed my doctorate in clinical psychology at Duke University and my postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical Center's Victims of Violence Program. I served as the coordinator of the Princeton University SHARE Program, which provides intervention and prevention programming to combat sexual assault, sexual harassment, and harassment based on sexual orientation. I am currently a tenured professor of psychology in the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University.
 
My clinical and research interests center on interpersonal trauma and the societal trauma of oppression. I provide training nationally and internationally on trauma recovery for marginalized communities, embodied psychotherapy, spiritual integration in psychotherapy, and liberation psychology (including womanist psychology, Black psychology, and anti-racism). I am a past president of the Society for the Psychology of Women and a past APA representative to the United Nations. I was a part of the first APA team to serve at the United Nations, and within my tenure I contributed to the APA Resolution on Racism and Racial Discrimination. I also served on the APA Committee on International Relations in Psychology and the Committee on Women in Psychology. I am co-editor of the APA text Womanist and Mujerista Psychologies, which illuminates the psychology of Black women and Latinas and am the editor of the APA text Multicultural Feminist Therapy: Healing Adolescent Girls of Color to Thrive. I am one of the foundational scholars on the topic of the trauma of racism, and in 2020 I gave an invited keynote address on the topic at APA. Along with reviewing for several APA journals on the topics of trauma and culture, I served as an associate editor for the APA journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.
 
APA honored me for Distinguished Early Career Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest in 2013. The Institute of Violence, Abuse and Trauma honored me with their media award for the film Psychology of Human Trafficking in 2016 and the Institute honored me with the Donald Fridley Memorial Award for excellence in mentoring in the field of trauma in 2018. The California Psychological Association honored me for Distinguished Scientific Achievement in Psychology in 2015. In 2020, the International Division of APA honored me with the International Contributions to the Study of Gender and Women award for my work in Africa and the Diaspora. I have raised public awareness regarding mental health by extending the reach of psychology beyond the academy and private therapy office through community programming and media engagement, including but not limited to Headline News, National Public Radio, and CNN.  
 
My presidential platform is "Thriving in a Post-Pandemic World: Applying Psychological Science to Enhance People’s Lives." This theme, which has five keys, aligns with the priorities and focus areas of your division. The first key is to focus on applying psychological science to address trauma and loss. Division 18’s sections, namely Community and State Hospitals, Criminal Justice, Police and Public Safety, Psychologists in Indian Country, Serious Mental Illness, and Veterans Affairs, are all communities at increased risk for both trauma and loss. The second key is to use psychological knowledge to address injustices and inequities. These are issues that have been documented to especially affect persons living with severe mental illness, as well as persons who are American Indian, persons who are in the criminal justice system, and veterans from marginalized communities. The third key is the promotion of holistic therapies that attend in particular to the body, culture, and spirituality. Evidence-based and ethically sound practices have been found to be holistic and systemic with each of your specific populations. The fourth key is the rebuilding of community and with each population group social support has been found to be a major protective factor for PTSD and other symptoms of psychological distress. The fifth key is integration of the expressive arts which have been found as a great tool for not only therapeutic practice, but also self-help and community-based programming.  
 
Along with my five keys it is my aim to revitalize APA by bringing in new members, regaining departed members, and healing ruptures with overlooked members and divisions. I have a track record for collaborative leadership and bridge building with an emphasis on attending to marginalized voices including the voices of psychologists in public service. My work has not only been in education and governance but also in public service as a licensed practitioner and consultant serving many of your focus populations. I hope you will give me your full consideration and rank me as your number one choice for president elect of APA. To learn more about my campaign, please go to this website. I am not only asking for your vote but for you to join a movement where we aim to empower APA, its divisions, and our larger society to thrive.  
Serving as president of APA would be a continuation of my life’s work, which has been promoting psychology and breaking down silos. While in continuous practice as a clinical psychologist, I have held leadership and advocacy roles in science, practice, education, public policy, and communications. Throughout my career, I have been recognized for skills to work at a systemic level while building strong relationships with individuals, and I believe that I am the only candidate who has led collaborations across psychology subfields, other disciplines and professions, organizations, and countries. This has included work with Congress, federal and state policymakers, federal funders and private foundations, insurers, business, and advocacy groups. I am poised to promote both APA and the field of psychology effectively, and to continue and expand both national and international collaborations as APA president.
 
It is fair to say that the culture of public service is an embedded part of my personal and professional development. As a first-generation student from a working-class family, I learned very young that a community becomes stronger when people come together. Public service was viewed with reverence in my neighborhood, and we were proud of my father and other relatives who worked for the city of Boston. I have family, friends, and neighbors (and, as a certified Tricare provider, patients in my clinical practice) who are retired and/or disabled military, receiving services through the Department of Veterans Affairs. During my work both within and outside APA, I have had the opportunity to become familiar with several of the systems in which public service psychologists work and to collaborate on issues of shared concern with them.
 
I have learned that in every crisis there really is opportunity, and we have several before us. The pandemic year has focused our attention on many urgent problems that are not new, yet are impelling action: rising rates of mental health conditions, substance use disorders, suicide, and domestic violence, with inadequate and inequitable access to care; health, mental health, and educational inequalities; systemic and structural oppression and intergenerational trauma; discrimination against BIPOC, AAPI, LGBTQ+, disabled, and older people; a crisis for public trust in police; unequal economic fallout and access to career advancement, with women and minoritized people especially impacted; universities and research threatened, alongside a student debt crisis; employers and employees trying to adapt to new ways of working; climate change and extreme weather events that displace communities; mistrust of science and political divides; and immigration chaos and global refugee crises. Never in our lifetimes has psychology been poised to make such significant contributions to public wellbeing. I am both hopeful and certain that we are primed to make lasting progress to address these challenges.
 
Psychology and mental health need to be part of the public health safety net. Across my priority areas, my emphasis is to start early and set long-term goals for sustainable change. If I am elected, my leading initiative will be to advance evidence-based and culturally responsive prevention across the lifespan. This will be directly relevant to the work of many public service psychologists. Based on our science, we know that what happens earlier in life – both positive and negative - affects lifetime health, families, communities, and equity. If, together, we leverage psychological science, we will enable a new generation where racism and bias are mitigated in early childhood, and early education disrupts inequalities. Mental health, relational health, and health behaviors will be laid down early, and individual resilience will be built while systemic barriers are addressed. Climate change will be slowed by behavior changes, and psychology will be recognized as essential for the wellbeing of all people, organizations, and communities. It is within our reach to enable a new generation to live healthier lives in a safer world.  
 
We must address several things at the same time. The crises facing society right now provide both public appetite and demand for science and practice in all the subfields of psychology. We need to showcase psychological science and practice that contributes to public wellbeing. APA has begun the hard work of dismantling racism within the association, the discipline, and the profession. I pledge to continue to lead this work; it will be a marathon. I commit to leading psychology, and bringing psychology to bear, in combatting all forms of discrimination based on race, country of origin, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, ability status, religion, and age. We need to integrate mental health in police and criminal justice reforms, and frame public safety as part of public health. In 2020 APA established a Presidential Task Force on Police Use of Force Against African Americans; I expect that enacting its recommendations will draw heavily upon the expertise of leaders in public service psychology.
 
We will also need continued advocacy regarding clinical practice, such as enforcement of parity, continued reimbursement for telehealth, interjurisdictional practice, and equitable access to mental health care. We need to reinforce collaboration with SPTAs and continue to grow the network of advocacy needed for psychologists across our states and territories. We need to set the standard for training that centers cultural humility and trauma-informed practice. Likewise, we will need continued advocacy regarding science, including elevation of psychological science as a hub discipline and collaboration across disciplines to promote science literacy. We need to continue advocacy for funding basic and applied psychological science and innovation. As we move increasingly to emerging technologies and artificial intelligence, psychological science and practice need to be at the forefront. 
 
I have several priorities for education and training that emphasize starting early for sustainable change. I am committed to cultivating a more diverse psychology workforce and leadership pipeline and measuring our progress. I am steadfast in promoting the representation of early career psychologists in governance. And I believe we should promote psychology as a STEM field in PreK–12 education and expose students early to the full range of subfields and careers in psychology.
 
The role of the president of APA is to be of service to the members and the organization. I will support APA in continuing to become nimbler and inclusive, engaging members to meet the current sense of urgency and applicability of our work, sustaining our recent progress and taking a longer view. All the subfields of psychology will be addressing the issues facing us, and I firmly believe we will be “Better Together.” My uniquely broad leadership experience fits this moment for APA, and my passion for equity and health promotion fits this moment in history. I have earned a reputation as someone who is collaborative, hard-working, strategic, and who demonstrates integrity and respect for others. If I am elected, I am prepared to lead, eager to listen, and ready to work on behalf of all of psychology. To learn more about my work, vision, and endorsements, please visit this website
My desire as APA president is to form a large diverse organizational umbrella under which all psychologists bring their unique mixture of race, religion, age, cultural background, physical difference, sexual orientation, gender identity, political perspective, and theoretical orientation, united by our love of psychology and our agreed-upon strategic plan. As this inclusive organization, we will strive to hear and respond to the various voices of our psychologists, meeting their needs and helping them obtain the necessary resources to develop to their full potential. At the same time, we will use our understanding of humanity and our collective unity as psychologists to address the pain we are witness to each day, resulting from factors like the COVID pandemic, brutal racism, and the natural and human disasters we are witness to in Haiti and Afghanistan. In service as APA president, I will extend upon the previous presidential initiatives focused on deep poverty and health equity, focusing on our underserved and/or rural populations.    
 
Division 18 is foundational to the APA, having been established in 1946. The division has some impressive contemporary leaders, such as Dr. Pat de Leon, who advised me when I made the transition to the role of Recording Secretary for APA, Dr. Linda Mona (a Council colleague), Dr. Jacque Gray (a fellow Committee on Rural Health [CRH] member), Dr. Christopher Loftis (a Practice-related colleague), and many others. I believe our campaign platform aligns very well with the vision and goals of Division 18. Our campaign specifically includes a pillar on our website entitled Social Justice. For more information on how Division 18’s focus on social justice and other initiatives connects to our president-elect campaign, please see our website.
 
Social justice has been defined as “the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.” I was born in Indiana and lived on a farm essentially in the middle of a cornfield. My dad, who was a farmer and bus driver, did not complete college. He told me I could be anything I wanted to be. My mother was an English teacher. I graduated from college. I believe everyone deserves the opportunity for these types of equal rights and opportunities.  
 
While attending high school and college, I taught Spanish grammar in summer migrant school. The children were not being fairly assessed, due to language barriers. I talked to my Intro Psych professor, Dr. Sally Beck, and she told me I should become a psychologist. I took her advice, became a psychologist, and have continued to volunteer to improve the education and health of migrant farm families throughout my career. 
 
My life’s work has been to care for the rural and underserved, women and children, and persons with mental health difficulties. I have presented this work nationally and internationally. I have advocated on behalf of the people I have served as federal advocacy coordinator for APA. I have chaired the CRH and the Rural Caucus, and I am volunteering with the Maine Rural Health Action Network (RHAN). I believe I have served the public interest and social justice by serving on the Board of Directors as member-at-large during the Independent Review and recording secretary during the COVID and racism pandemics.  
  
In considering the role of public service psychology in connection with our presidential initiatives, I was struck by our initiatives’ connection to your sections. For example, I completed a community psychology minor as part of my PhD, and I have worked in community hospitals (medical and psychiatric), which is one of your sections (Community and State Hospitals). I noticed in this section, there is a focus on rural and/or underserved areas, telemedicine, and advocacy through the state psychological association. In your section entitled Psychologists in Indian Country, this “provides an organized professional voice, advocacy for issues and concerns, and a communication network among their members who frequently work in isolated rural areas.”  In my hospital and consulting practice work, I have worked with children and adults with Severe Emotional Disturbance, which is another Division 18 section. All these Division 18 sections are personally relevant to me professionally and/or we are focusing on these areas in our campaign initiatives.  
 
The strong alignment of Division 18’s priorities with APA’s Strategic Plan is very consistent with our intention, which is to continue to support the implementation of APA’s new strategic initiatives. The implementation of APA’s strategic initiatives, such as employing psychology to improve population health, increase access to services, and reduce disparities is perfectly timed. Psychologists should the leaders of psychological intervention teams, varying levels of team training, providing appropriate supervision and offering an array of modalities of public intervention.  As stated in the strategic plan, the application of psychological science can foster the advancement of human rights, fairness, and diversity. APA is strategically positioned to advocate to remove barriers to equitable health care for all people. 
 
Division 18 and/or its members potentially could be integrally involved in our presidential initiatives.  I believe my strength as a leader in connection to people, groups, and organizations is very consistent with Division 18’s goal of Increase the division’s effectiveness by increasing communication and collaboration, (“…bolstering cross-fertilization among the sections, investing in strategic priorities, creating capacity for new initiatives, reviewing, and updating the strategic plan, and enhancing the division’s visibility and impact within APA”).  It is exciting to consider the possibility that Division 18 is likeminded and would potentially want to assist in creating and building these types of collaboration.  Our team has a strong focus on our early career psychologists and doctoral students in the campaign, as well as on mentoring.  I was impressed by your Mentoring Program and would be interested in enhancing and growing these types of programs that benefit both the mentor and mentee.  
 
I am a down to earth person devoted to psychology and psychologists. I have served as a state champion and federal advocate. I have experience in the major areas of our discipline of psychology. I am a scientist-practitioner who has taught and trained students and practiced in medical centers and consulting practice settings (both private and integrated). I was elected by our Council of Representatives to serve as member-at-large and recording secretary on the Board of Directors. I am the only candidate that has served as an officer on our Executive Committee, which has prepared me to be president-elect. I include, connect, and unify people, and I can mobilize others to correct injustice, build bridges, help heal our systems, and create positive, timely impact. As a proven leader and collaborator, I ask for your vote. If you like what you hear, please ask five APA colleagues to vote for me (snowball effect). If you would like to join our team, please message us through our website. We welcome ECPs and students to our team! As president-elect, I look forward to joining with you to make a difference in the world.
Hello, I’m Dr. Beth Rom-Rymer, and I’m thrilled to be a candidate for APA president-elect 2021. My campaign slogan, “Together We Move Forward,” reflects my deep gratitude to all of you in the psychological community, to your tremendous commitment to your patients, your clients, your students and academic colleagues, your probing, far-reaching research inquiries.  Thank you, all, for the critically important work you do to move our profession into the future. I’m asking for your #1 vote for APA president-elect on September 15.
 
Especially as a longtime member of Division 18, it’s been an honor to connect with you, my friends, colleagues, and partners, from around the country and throughout the world, hearing about your interests, your passions, and your concerns. There are many of you whom I’m eager to meet, for the first time, as our community of professionals grows in new and exciting directions. I want to share with you my experience and my vision, and my determination to lead the APA with boldness, decisiveness, inclusiveness, imagination, innovation, judiciousness and compassion.  
 
By the age of 5, I knew that I wanted to be a psychologist. It’s been a treasured journey as I have pursued my dreams and built my career. From the beginning, I’ve been a pioneer in women’s educational opportunities, a co-founder of both a shelter for survivors of domestic abuse and a founder of a comprehensive program for the survivors of violent crimes in the Tallahassee, Florida State Attorney’s Office. I have been and continue to be an entrepreneurial clinician, a mentor and teacher to generations of psychologists, an author, and a tireless legislative advocate. I am a leader of the Illinois, national, and international movement for psychologists’ Prescriptive Authority, so that we can comprehensively treat some of the most vulnerable and underserved communities in our land. I have held multiple leadership roles and have received numerous awards from the APA, from Division 18, the Illinois Psychological Association, the National Register, and University Boards of Trustees, among others. I was a chair of the APA Council Leadership Team and I served on the APA Board of Directors. I am in independent clinical and forensic practice, based in Chicago; I am founder, president, and CEO of the Illinois Association of Prescribing Psychologists; and I am the chair and president of the National Register of Health Service Psychologists.
 
My vision for the APA has six Foundational Pillars of Action:
 
  • identifying evidence-based and evidence-informed treatments for the sequelae of Covid-19;
  • identifying empirically-based initiatives to combat the pandemics of racism, police brutality, and to support all social justice initiatives;
  • using our effective scientific evidence to contribute to the eradication of global health disparities and to achieve health equity;
  • promoting global initiatives to end global warming and creating a world that respects and nurtures ecological balance;
  • facilitating greater access to comprehensive, integrative, mental health care by utilizing telehealth and other technologically innovative strategies and by broadening the scope of practice for psychologists to include prescriptive authority; 
  • providing for the continued growth of an inclusive APA that ensures multi-disciplinary, multicultural and multinational APA leadership with representation from BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, AAPI, differently abled communities.
I will execute my vision with a unique combination of decades of administrative, clinical, forensic, organizational, community mental health, legislative advocacy experience; a practiced expertise in building and elevating broad coalitions of diverse voices; and a proven track record in leading inclusive, grassroots movements that transform our communities.
 
Please visit my campaign website, or reach out to me through social media on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thank you for your support, and for your #1 vote for APA President-elect 2021!

Thank you for reaching out in regard to my APA presidential campaign and platforms. I believe that my work and advocacy is directly relevant to Div. 18, as public service is a large and growing part of what I do and promote. Please see my flier and 1000 word platform statement attached and feel free to share these with the Division. Please also note that I recently wrote a book called the Depolarizing of America: A Guidebook for Social Healing that many members may find of interest. I elaborate a conflict mediation approach—the Experiential Democracy Dialogue—that may be of particular interest to your specialty groups in dealing with criminal justice reform, police and public safety, psychologists in Indian Country, and veterans affairs. Each of these groups have grappled mightily with stigmatization and dehumanization, and those are precisely areas my book and the Dialogue format addresses. I also have a YouTube video of an earlier version of the dialogue between a black community activist and a white police officer (I elaborate on and update the results of this encounter in my aforementioned book as well).   

Warm regards,
Kirk Schneider

  • Calling mentors and mentees to participate in Minute Mentoring, a program that allows students and early career psychologists to interact within a flexible model of networking and mentorship that fits the needs of both the mentee and the mentor. Members will be matched based on research/academic/clinical needs for any amount of time. We are asking for mentors of all depths and commitments. Sign up today!


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Last updated: September 2021Date created: October 2011
Public Service Psychology