In this issue

VA section report

Updates on VA Section progress.

By Howard Steinberg, PhD

As the new section chair, I am delighted to have the opportunity to share some of the many contributions of the section's members, and to describe some of the events we are looking forward to in the future. In the time that I have been a member of Div. 18 and of the VA section specifically, I have developed a greater appreciation for the dedication of those who have taken an active role in helping to grow our section in significant ways. It has been a pleasure to meet with these colleagues at APA conventions, and in other settings, and to witness the passion that they bring to their work. Over the past two years, Timothy Carmody, PhD, has served as VA section chair, and he has done an excellent job in demonstrating this passion and his dedication. I am extremely grateful for his assistance and ongoing consultation, and I know that we are very lucky to see him continue his work as the president elect for Div. 18.

The 2014 APA Convention in Washington, D.C. was a great place to catch up with old friends, meet colleagues for the first time, and to get to see firsthand all that public service psychologists contribute in providing services across the country. The VA section meeting was well attended, and one of the highlights of the meeting was the section awards presentation. We are grateful for the work of the awards committee, Chaired by Daniel Kivlahan, PhD, who selected the following individuals from those nominated by colleagues. Please join us in congratulating:

  • Outstanding Researcher - Jack Tsai, PhD.
  • Outstanding Clinician - Matthew Davis, PhD, MPH.
  • Outstanding Administrator - Joel Mitchell, PhD, ABPP.
  • Outstanding Director of Training - Michael Ellwood, PhD, LCP.
  • Outstanding Supervisor or Mentor - Shiloh Jordan, PhD.
  • Outstanding Contributions in Psychosocial Rehabilitation - Eric Granholm, PhD.
  • Outstanding Psychology Trainee - David Scheinfeld, PhD.
  • James K. Besyner Lifetime Achievement Award - Miles McFall, PhD.

Kivlahan has given so much to the VA section, and we are appreciative of his work as chair of the VA section Awards Committee. We are very pleased that Steven Shea, PhD, has taken on the role as the new chair of this committee. Please consider nominating a deserving colleague for one of the awards noted above. Information regarding nominations will be sent out in the near future.

Increasing VA section membership remains an important part of the work of many individuals connected to the section. We sincerely appreciate all that David Pilkey, PhD, has accomplished as the past membership chair, and we congratulate him in his new position as VA section secretary–treasurer. Our new membership chair, Layne Goble, PhD, has been identifying novel ways to reach out to potential section members, as well as working for the division as a whole in his role as membership chair. Carmody's earlier work to identify and support the Network of Champions at VA facilities continues, and we are grateful to our current champions for all of their efforts to help spread the word about what the VA section has to offer. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a champion for the section, please feel free to email Goble or Steinberg. Additionally, if you are looking for a way to increase your involvement in the division, working with the recruitment committee or in other section work groups is a great way to get started. For those who would like to consider taking on a leadership role, open positions on the VA section executive committee will be posted soon.

The VA section is establishing itself on the Web with our new presence on Facebook and on Twitter. VA section student representative Jodi Bremer-Landau has done an excellent job with the social media committee and the student ambassadors to get the VA section and the division out there. Please take a minute to browse the pages and feeds, and feel free to like and tweet to help this community grow. Also, please be on the lookout for more of Members in Action: a great way Bremer-Landau and other students active in the division have been involved in interviewing some of Div. 18's most notable members. These member profiles make for some terrific reading. Thank you to all of those who have worked on these great projects.

A number of our members have been hard at work to keep the VA section connected with broad issues and advocacy at the national level. Dolly Sadow, PhD, continues her work on the APA Council as one of Div. 18's two representatives, and she was recently elected to the Committee for Socioeconomic Status of APA. Additionally, besides his work keeping our Web presence updated, Jack Tsai, PhD, was elected to APA's Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest. Finally, Amee Patel, PhD, was elected to the Committee on Professional Practice and Standards. Patel also directs the early career psychologist efforts for Div. 18, and she has been highly active for the VA section on a number of fronts. Congratulations to each of you.

Div. 18 past president (and past VA section chair), Anne Klee, PhD, continues to actively engage Div. 18 members from all sections in a variety of projects. She has spearheaded the Div. 18 mid-year conference from its inception a few years ago, and she is working closely with Lauren Lussier, PsyD, the conference chair, to help to bring together a terrific panel of presenters for this year's meeting “Public Mental Health Innovations: From Theory to Practice,” to be held at the University of Hartford at the end of March. Shirley Glynn, PhD, a past presenter at this conference, also serves on this year's planning committee.

Members of the VA section are collaborating with our colleagues in the Association of VA Psychologist Leaders in the planning of the annual VA Psychology Leadership Conference to be held in May in San Antonio. Sam Wan, PhD, an active member of the VA section, is once again the conference chair, and he has worked with the committee to bring together a dynamic group of presenters covering a variety of topics related to the provision of high quality and timely access to care to the veterans we serve. It promises to be a great conference.

VA psychologists continue to face many challenges, and recently, some have experienced heartache which has been shared by many on a national scale. A number of colleagues in our community are coming together to provide support and to find ways to help move things in a positive direction, even in the face of significant tragedy. It is my hope that the VA section can aid in this effort, perhaps by continuing the tradition of providing a context which is supportive of VA psychologists reaching out in meaningful ways and with a shared purpose.

Looking forward to seeing you at an upcoming event this year.

Howard Steinberg