Feature Article

Presidential column

Spring is here!

By Linda Richardson, PhD

Linda RichardsonGreetings! The division leadership, especially our program chair, Wendy Peters, and our program chair-elect, Erika Carr, are working hard on division preparations for the upcoming annual APA Convention to be held in San Francisco in August. The division program has been finalized and I am pleased to report that all sections are represented in our programming. A special treat will be two conversation hours, each featuring a prominent Bay Area resident. We await finalization of the location of our hospitality suite and the assignment of time slots for our various programs. This year we will probably move our social hour to a location outside the APA Convention hotels, which will allow us to provide more food and drink to attendees in a unique setting while saving money for the division. More details to come.

Significant progress has been made on my first initiative, developing job descriptions for all division officers, a project that was begun last year. Final drafts of job descriptions should be ready in the next two months. I will then turn my full attention to my second initiative, establishing a permanent division fund to provide financial support for students and ECPs.

I am pleased to announce that the division has purchased a subscription to Adobe Connect, which will facilitate the offering of webinars and web-based meetings. In addition, we have activated our PayPal account. PayPal will allow division groups to charge fees for webinars, conferences and other events, and/or for CE credit. If you would like to use Adobe Connect for a division-related activity, please contact Howie Steinberg, our education cluster chair. For more information on using our PayPal account, please contact Marcia Hunt, SMI/SED section chair.

In early February, the Executive Committee held its winter meeting via conference call. There was good news in several areas. Throughout its history, our division has had no means of storing documents with the result that important papers have been lost over the years. We found that we can archive division materials on our Google Docs account. We can also store continuing education materials securely. If you would like to submit papers for the archives, such as committee or section meeting minutes, prior conference programs, etc., please send your request to Jack Tsai, our communications cluster chair. Recently, our newsletter, “Public Service Psychology,” had a change in editors. Oona Appel and Lauren Gonzales have taken over as newsletter co-editors from Paul Deal, who mentored them through the transition. Our newsletter has also changed its format. We are now using the American Psychological Association format on a trial basis, which will allow us to post the newsletter on our division website. The executive committee also approved the following updated version of our division mission statement: “Our mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge in public service settings to benefit society and improve people’s lives.” “Psychological Services,” our division journal, has several special packages underway with more to come. Calls for papers are posted on the division listserv. Lastly, spring is the time for division and section elections. Please look for your ballots in the mail in the next few weeks and be sure to vote. 

In early March, Gil Saunders, our federal advocacy coordinator, and I attended APA’s annual Practice Leadership Conference (formerly the State Leadership Conference), an advocacy training conference for leaders in professional psychology practice. This year the theme was “Advancing Practice Together.” The aim was to train attendees in how to form alliances across disciplines, practice settings, and states. On the last day of the conference, state delegations went to Capitol Hill to meet with senators and congresspersons and/or their staff to discuss two issues:

  • Requesting support for the maintenance of funding for Medicaid.
  • Requesting support for the addition of psychologists to the list of practitioners defined as physicians for Medicare billing purposes.

On a sad note, I just received word that Bob Goldberg, a long-time division member, former division president, current division fellowship chair and historian, and retired VA psychologist, passed away after a long illness. For those who knew Bob, they appreciated his kindness, intellect, wit, passion for psychology, and his mentorship of psychology trainees and early career psychologists. We are planning a tribute to Bob at APA and would appreciate any ideas you might have for this tribute. He will be greatly missed.

As always, we are looking for members and student members who want to get involved in our section and division activities. There are always opportunities to participate. Just ask!

I welcome your feedback on what we are doing well and what we could do better. Please contact me via email.