Fall Conference Report

A recap of the division's inaugural fall conference, which featured esteemed speakers representing different sections of the division

By Anne Klee, PhD

On Friday, October 28, 2011, Psychologists in Public Service hosted a division-wide conference at the police headquarters in Revere, Massachusetts. Thirty-eight people attended this inaugural event. The theme of the conference was “Using Science to Inform Practice: Roles for Public Psychologists” and featured a lineup of esteemed speakers representing different sections of the division. Dr. Joel Dvoskin, from the Criminal Justice Section and former Division 18 president, flew in from Arizona to kick off the event with a keynote address “Using Social Science to Reduce Violent Offending.” This was followed by Dr. Kim Mueser who gave a talk titled, “Evidence-based Practices for Serious Mental Illness: Current Status and Implementation Challenges.”

Afterwards, Drs. Dvoskin and Mueser led a roundtable on “Roles for Psychologists in Criminal Justice and Mental Health Systems.” Dr. Guy Seymour, former Police and Public Safety Section chair gave a lunch time talk on “The Case for Cross-Cultural Competent Communication and the Problem of Evidence-Based Activities in Public Service Psychology.” VA Section member Dr. Brad Karlin came from Washington, D.C., to present his team’s work on “Dissemination and Implementation of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies in the VA Health Care System: National Strategy, Goals, and Outcomes.” Afterwards, Dr. Steve Nisenbaum, from the Community and State Hospital Section and former Division 18 president, and his colleague, Dr. Rina Folman, gave a talk titled, “Smarty Pants: Empiricist Imperialism, Prophets or False Idols in a Science, Art or Cult of Psychology?” Dr. Terry Keane, longstanding Division 18 member and friend, ended the day with a talk on “Recent Advances in the Psychological Treatment of PTSD.”

The conference grew out of conversations among the section chairs of Division 18 at the APA Convention this past summer in Washington, D.C. Several of us thought it would be worthwhile to put together a conference celebrating the commonalities and capitalizing on the expertise among the different sections of our division. In keeping with the spirit of public service and making learning accessible, registration fees were kept to $18 for members and $25 for nonmembers and included coffee, snacks, and lunch catered by Kelly’s Roast Beef, a Massachusetts institution (that also serves vegetarian dishes). Seven CEs were offered for an additional $25 and were provided through the division. APA programmers created an online conference registration page for us that took some time setting up, but in the end made registration and payment very easy. While earning revenue was not the goal, in the end, the division netted approximately $350 from the event.

From the speakers to the committee, this conference was truly a Division 18 group effort. Everyone on the committee actively worked on all aspects of the conference to make this day a success. Thank you to Dr. Guy Seymour for hosting the event at the Revere police headquarters,Dr. Howard Steinberg for coordinating the CEs and for serving as liaison with Dr. Lucas Shaw, the Division 18 continuing education chair, Dr. Monica Roy for designing the brochure, Dr. Kellie Condon for ensuring that the information for the conference was posted on the website, Dr. Josh Bullock for helping with registration and creating alternative registration and payment mechanisms in the event that we could not do this through APA, and Dr. Steve Nisenbaum and Dr. Dave Pilkey for making calls and posting information about the conference on email lists. A special thank you to Dr. Dolly Sadow, our champion, for making calls to speakers, inviting colleagues, posting information on email lists, and, most important, for cheering us on and keeping us on track.

With more time to plan, we intend to hold the second division-wide conference on October, 20, 2012, in New England. We would like to recruit additional committee members from all of the sections. If you would like to get involved with the conference planning, please email me.