In This Issue

APA Presidential Candidates Comment on Adult Development and Aging

Hear from the APA presidential candidates on their involvement in Division 20, their professional interests, and platform for the presidential year.

By Todd Finnerty, PsyD, Kurt F. Geisinger, PhD, Susan H. McDaniel, PhD, and Antonio E. Puente, PhD

Div. 20 president Sara Czaja posed the following questions to all APA presidential candidates. Candidate responses received from Dr. Finnerty, Dr. Geisinger, Dr. McDaniel, and Dr. Puente are reprinted below; Dr. Daniel is also running for the office but did not respond to our request.


(1) Do you have any interests and/or any previous involvement in Div. 20? Our members would be interested in knowing if you are a member or fellow of the division and if you have been active in any way in Div. 20.

(2) Do you have any professional or scholarly interests in issues related to the psychology of adult development and aging? Naturally, we are interested in a wide range of professional activities, including practice, consulting, supervising, research, teaching, and involvement with any other organizations devoted to adult development and aging and/or the psychology of aging.

(3) Could you briefly explain any way in which adult development and aging is part of your platform or agenda for your presidential year?

Todd Finnerty, PsyD

Response to Question #1

I am not a member of Div. 20.

Response to Question #2

Some of my early work as a psychologist took place as an independent practitioner in nursing homes. My current work focuses primarily on disability. You can learn more about me at .

Response to Question #3

Understanding the needs of our aging population (and aging APA membership) is a very important goal. My agenda for my presidential year is focused on access. It is important that our aging population will be able to access the behavioral health care that they need. If you read my statements you'll see that they are relevant to increasing the public's access to psychological services.

In addition, my advocacy has focused on not reducing the number of psychologists who can work in certain settings or get licensed. APA has issued unsupported policies that an APA-accredited internship should be required for licensure and to be seen as competent as a psychologist. I've started an advocacy group to defend all psychologists, not just those who had APA-accredited internships. You can learn more about that at .

Kurt F. Geisinger, PhD

Response to Question #1

I am not a member or fellow of Div. 20. However, I am and have been a member of Div. 7, Developmental Psychology. I like to think of myself as a general psychologist focusing on lifespan and adult development rather than any other age group per se.

Response to Question #2

I have a long history of interaction with lifespan developmental psychologists both as a graduate student and a professor and departmental leader. I took courses in graduate school in lifespan developmental psychology from such luminaries and Paul Baltes and John Nesselroade. My masters' advisor was an industrial-organizational psychologist, William A. Owens who performed the first longitudinal study of intelligence, published in the early 1950s and then performed a follow-up in the 1960s. He tried to convince me to do another follow-up, but it appeared that the sample would simply have been too difficult to locate by that point. I kick myself about that sometimes. It could have been a historical study if it were able to be accomplished. At the time of my dissertation in the mid-late 1970s, the studied individuals would have been in their early 80s.

While a department member and then chair of the Psychology Department at Fordham University, I helped to foster the development of both the doctoral program in Developmental Psychology and the focus in Applied Developmental Psychology. One of the faculty members and my colleagues was Dr. Carol Ryff, now at the University of Wisconsin. She is an outstanding lifespan psychologist focusing upon well-being and issues that cross medical and psychological boundaries. I have attempted to follow her research over the years with great respect. I taught a research methods course that crossed many issues related to lifespan development.

Response to Question #3

I have two initiatives. The first deals with membership. I think that the most serious issue facing APA is declining membership and a clear loss of interest in membership among individuals in certain groups. A key group is that of faculty members, which is one of the groups where membership has declined precipitously. The task force associated with this initiative would be asked to identify ways that APA could increase its relevance for faculty members to stem and reverse this trend. A second task that they would be asked to address is how to better integrate science and practice for members.

My second initiative would be to consider ways to help psychology advance its role in the changing healthcare system. Psychologists need to be at the table; they need to be involved in integrated healthcare, they need to serve on and direct integrated healthcare teams. I think that the focus of lifespan psychologists, neuropsychologists, applied developmental psychologists as well as clinical and counseling psychologists is especially relevant to our aging population and its associated health concerns.

I believe that both of these initiatives cut across all areas of psychology and would be of relevance to the Division of Adult Development and Aging. I trust that your division would be willing to nominate individuals for these task forces.

Susan H. McDaniel, PhD

Response to Question #1

I am a member of Div. 20. I have always been interested in life-span psychology. The importance of training psychologists to work with older adults, given our burgeoning older adult population, cannot be overestimated.

I spent my career focused on integrating psychological science and principles into primary care, with .6FTE in Psychiatry as Director of the Institute for the Family and .4FTE in Family Medicine as Associate Chair. In Psychiatry, I hired a geropsychologist who focuses on changes in the relationships of older adults and their adult children. Her clinical work is at a long-term care facility, where she also supervises psychologists and other trainees. I hired another geropsychologist to work in the community hospital Geriatrics department. She teaches residents and supervises our psychology fellow learning to teach geriatrics residents in an innovative hospital-to-home program. I oversee all these programs and learn from them as well.

Response to Question #2

Throughout my career, I have pursued professional or scholarly interests in issues related to the psychology of adult development and aging. The following are examples of such activities.

I have presented on and written about integrated primary care for older adults, in partnership with family physician and geriatrics collaborators. These include state-wide presentations on collaboration and integrated care for older adults. At this last APA convention in Washington DC, I participated in the Division 20 pre-conference think tank to develop primary care psychology competencies for older adults. I previously chaired the Inter-organizations Work Group to develop the broad competencies for Primary Care Psychology; having specific competencies defined for work with older adults is an important next step.

Ten years ago, we had a HRSA training grant for postdoctoral fellows to focus on integrated primary care for older adults. This was a valuable experience in developing targeted curriculum for integrated care and geropsychology. I continue to use this curriculum in my Psychiatry and Family Medicine roles.

I presented to SAMHSA and HRSA on collaboration between mental health and primary care professionals in 1998. I consulted with the NIH Center for Mental Health Services and Integrated Care for Older Adults Project in 1999.

Response to Question #3

Both of my presidential initiatives relate in some way to older adults:

  • Psychologists as Leaders.
    This initiative will develop a blueprint for APA's Leadership Training Programs: preparing psychologists as leaders in team science, inter-professional practice, interprofessional education, and advocacy dedicated to increasing diversity and reducing health disparities.
  • Psychology in Healthcare.
    To achieve inclusion of psychology in routine, comprehensive healthcare, we need to strengthen our alliances between APA and other health professional organizations. We want to develop vision and lead during this time of transition. I will draw on my relationships with the leaders of primary care medical and nursing organizations to create such strong partnerships with other health professional organizations. My plan is for APA to convene an inter-professional group to examine the roles, effectiveness, satisfaction, quality measures, and science necessary for collaborative, integrated health care that will reduce disparities and cost. Geropsychology and development across the life span will be crucial parts of this initiative; I will look for input and advice from Div. 20. We will focus on advocating change in the many health disparities we see across our communities.

Antonio E. Puente, PhD

Response to Question #1

Not a member Div. 20.

While not a member, many of the issues addressed by Div. 20 have also been issues inherent in my work over the last 30+ years. See responses to Q2 & Q3 for specific instances.

Response to Question #2

Most typical client at private practice (1982-present) is a dementia patient (e.g., 3 of 4 today) and the most typical activity is a neuropsychological evaluation.

Reviewer for the following aging/adult development journals: Journal of Gerontology (1994-Present; 20 years) & Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences (1998).

Consultant for Alzheimer's Association- Awards & Grants Office (2009 – Present),

Founded mental health service at Cape Fear Clinic 15 years ago and was president of the board (5 years). This clinic offers integrated dental, medical, mental health and pharmaceutical care to adult and elderly indigent patients (Hispanics=40%).

Examples of Life-Span/Aging Work (key words bolded):

  • Horton, A.M., & Puente, A. E. (1990). Life-span neuropsychology: An overview. In A. M. Horton (Ed.), Life-span neuropsychology (pp. 1–15). New York, NY: Springer.
  • Puente, A. E. (2002). Neuropsychology: Introducing aging into the study of brain and behavior. In J. C. Cavanaugh & S. K. Whitbourne (Eds.), Integrating aging topics into psychology : A practical guide for teaching undergraduates (pp. 29–42). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Puente, A. E. (1997, August). Neuropsychology and cognitive aging : What have we taught each other? In S. Qualls (Chair), Psychology and the Aging Revolution . Symposium conducted at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.
  • Puente, A. E. (2009, May). Coding, documenting, & billing psychological, neuropsychological, and health psychological services. Presentation at the meeting of the Aging and Adult Development Division of the New York State Psychological Association, New York, NY
Response to Question #3

The primary focus is to expand the role of psychology into all of healthcare (see Puente, 2011, Psychology as a health profession in American Psychologist)

Of interest is that I serve on the AMA CPT Panel which determines what health care can be done in the US and how much it is reimbursed (only psychologist in its history and third non-physician). We are revamping all the testing codes now.

Many issues facing an aging population (e.g., dementia, Alzheimer's, etc.) are being addressed by neuropsychology

Having a neuropsychologist (who has worked with these kinds of patients for years) for APA president will only help bring these kinds of issues to the forefront of concerns to be addressed by APA & psychology