In this issue

President-elect's column

Overview of the Division Leadership Conference, social media and upcoming State Leadership Conference.

By Timothy Carmody, PhD

It is now winter and as I continue my term as president-elect, I am feeling very fortunate to serve the division and to collaborate with so many talented and dedicated public service psychology leaders. I have enjoyed working with our current president, Femina Varghese, and past president, Anne Klee, as well as with all of the members of the Executive Committee. I look forward to sustaining and building upon current initiatives that provide value to our members. I am especially excited about the preparation that has already begun for our upcoming strategic planning meeting to be held in March.

You don't have to look far to see that Div. 18 is embracing the important role of early career psychologists. Our current president is an early career psychologist who rapidly developed her leadership skills in the leadership academy and is now demonstrating effective, productive, and collaborative leadership. We are more and more convinced of the importance of encouraging students and early career psychologists in public service to join Div. 18 and to become active in one or more of its projects and initiatives, whether the mentoring program, diversity committee, membership, women in psychology, advocacy, SMI proficiency renewal, or continuing education task force, just to name a few.

I recently attended the thirtieth annual Division Leadership Conference (DLC) and found it to be an informative and inspiring experience. The DLC is organized by the Committee of Division/APA Relations (CODAPAR) and the Division Services Office and provides an opportunity for the 56 presidents-elect to obtain valuable information about APA governance and to learn about resources that are available to help us to be effective in our roles as division leaders. During the conference, I had a chance to meet APA staff and executives who provided an overview of the services available to me from APA to assist me in my new role. More importantly, the conference provided me with an opportunity to mingle and network with other division leaders with whom I could initiate collaborative projects and build lasting friendships.

One of the networking activities during the conference involved speed meeting sessions in which we met briefly (three minutes) with other division leaders to initiate discussions about planned initiatives, challenges, and areas of potential collaboration. In other presentations, we learned about the Interdivisional Grants Program, the Office of International Affairs, and APA Committee for International Relations in Psychology (CIRP). On the first day of the conference, Barry Anton, PhD, current president of APA, gave an inspiring keynote address in which he outlined his presidential vision for the future of the organization. He also discussed a baker's dozen of strategies for effective leadership. Nadine Kaslow, PhD, past-president of APA, spoke on the topic of organizational change and leadership. On the second day of the conference, Susan McDaniel, PhD, president-elect of APA, spoke about her planned presidential initiatives regarding integrated care. Jacinta Gauda gave a presentation on strategies for communicating effectively with non-scientific audiences about psychological research to inform public policy, increase psychological literacy in the public, and create more psychologically healthy workplaces, homes, and communities.

The conference provided many opportunities to network with other division leaders, APA staff and executives. I had an opportunity to chat with Anton and McDaniel regarding the current and potential role of Div. 18 in relation to their presidential initiatives. Both were appreciative of the important work of psychologists in public service. I also had an opportunity to discuss potential areas of collaboration with leaders from several other divisions, including: Divs. 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology), 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology), 22 (Rehabilitation Psychology), 29 (Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy), 38 (Health Psychology), 41 (American Psychology-Law Society), 44 (Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues), 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race), 55 (American Society for the Advancement of Pharmacotherapy) and 56 (Trauma Psychology). Some of the areas of potential collaboration included the application of integrated models of health care that benefit individuals with serious mental illness, stigma reduction among the military, fostering of leadership among early career psychologists, and embracing of diversity among APA members. All in all, I found the DLC to be a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience. It was a special way for APA to welcome me into the body of APA governance.

Our membership chairs, Layne Goble, PhD, and Linda Richardson, PhD, have been working hard to update the division and section Listservs, welcome new members, and reach out to those who have not renewed. Please encourage your colleagues to consider joining Div. 18. It is no secret that membership is down. We are not the only division in which this has occurred. The number of early career psychologists joining our division is especially low. The Executive Committee is interested in reaching out to Div. 18 members to find out how to stimulate membership growth, particularly among students and early career psychologists. We are interested in hearing from you.

Jack Tsai has been updating the Div. 18 website. Please let us know if you have any suggestions about content or format. We want to make the website informative, attractive and up to date. We want to post more pictures of members and events on the webpages. Have you checked out the Members in Action feature recently? This is one of my favorite features on our website. Student members have interviewed accomplished members across the sections. The list of members in action now includes: Joel Dvoskin, Arthur Evans, Jon Marrelli, Steve Holliday, Lorraine Greene, Bret Moore and Toni Zeiss.

Don't forget to check out our social media. Our enthusiastic team of social media ambassadors includes Jack Tsai, Jessica Price, Josh Tal, Xiao Meng, and Heather Sones, who have been posting on the Facebook and Twitter websites. Student member Clarence Bonander has been managing Div. 18's Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts and doing a wonderful job. Please like all of our Facebook pages, add your comments, follow us on Twitter, and help spread the word to friends and colleagues.

One of the top priorities of our president, Femina Varghese, is to create a strategic plan for Div. 18. The Executive Committee has begun to plan the steps we will take in developing a new strategic plan. This will include a face-to-face meeting in March at the time of our spring conference in Hartford, Conn. Rod Baker, past president of the division, has agreed to facilitate the meeting and planning process. Div. 18 has not had a strategic plan for several years. Membership growth and management of our funds depend on our having a clear, meaningful and visionary strategic plan. I look forward to participating in the process that will yield a new strategic plan for the division. By the time I begin my year as president, we will hopefully be in a position to embark on the action steps involved in implementing the new strategic plan. Stay tuned.

In a few weeks, I look forward to joining our president, Femina Varghese, and past president, Anne Klee, in representing Div. 18 at the State Leadership Conference (SLC) in Washington, D.C. SLC is sponsored every year by the Practice Directorate and APA Practice Organization. It is a unique opportunity to bring together many current and future leaders from our field for intensive advocacy training on behalf of the professional practice of psychology. It is essential that public service psychology is represented at this table.

Every year at SLC, psychology's leaders come together in Washington, D.C., for four days of advocacy and leadership training that lay the foundation for legislative advocacy. Last year at SLC, participants explored the roadmaps that psychologists will use to guide their practices into the future. This year, the conference will provide participants with the tools needed to evaluate and evolve the innovations that will carry the practice of psychology forward in these rapidly changing times.

Public service psychologists practice in a broad range of institutional and organizational settings. Each of these contexts presents unique opportunities and challenges brought about by policy, technology and clinical innovation. The SLC provides information on how we can harness these innovations to improve the quality of services and remain compliant with evolving regulations. It shows how psychologists can attain greater satisfaction and more control of their professional destinies by embracing innovation. The conference sets the stage for considering the evolving landscape of health care delivery and financing, which are driving the demand for practice innovation.

The Affordable Care Act has opened the door to a range of opportunities and innovative practice models that are having an enormous impact on public service psychologists as well as those in independent practice. Accountable care organizations, health care homes and an array of integrated care practice models are rapidly evolving and offering new opportunities for psychologists. Technological advances, including telehealth services, online practice management and electronic health records are changing the landscape of public service psychology. The growth of clinical practice guidelines, evidence-based practice models and quality reporting systems have challenged the way in which many public service psychologists think about psychological services.

APA staff and governance members stand ready to work with Div. 18 to address the challenges and seize the opportunities for public service psychology. I anticipate that the SLC will inspire and energize us, preparing us to lead our division and the public in communicating the value and importance of what we do.

The Fourth Annual Div. 18 Spring Conference is just around the corner. Lauren Lussier has done a wonderful job planning and organizing this conference, which will be held at the University of Hartford, in West Hartford, Connecticut, on Friday, March 27, 2015 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)  The theme of this year's conference is “ Public Mental Health Innovations: from Theory to Practice,” and will feature presentations by Barbara VanDahlen, PhD, Arthur Evans, PhD and Randy DuPont, PhD, among others. Register online to attend. We hope to see you there.

Our APA convention program chairs, Erica Marshall Lee and Carina Iati, have been hard at work, putting together the program for the annual meeting in August. There is an increasing emphasis on collaboration among the APA divisions and this is reflected in the program. Details will be forthcoming regarding the program of presentations and schedule of activities in the Div. 18 hospitality suite. We are already looking forward to the APA convention next summer in Toronto and hope you will be able to join us for interesting presentations and opportunities to network.