Div. 20 program committee report

Program co-chairs report on events at the 2016 APA Annual Convention events.

By Katherine Judge, PhD, and Walter Boot

The APA convention in Denver was a success for Div. 20. The conference kicked off with a three-session long workshop: “Forty-Five Years of Influence of the Life span Developmental Approach.” This event was organized by Harvey Sterns, PhD, and Katherine Judge, PhD, and was made possible through a grant provided by APA's Committee on Division/APA Relations. Speakers highlighted theoretical and conceptual approaches, methodological issues and interventions. The event was recorded, and talks and related educational resources will soon be posted online, providing a valuable resource to psychologists and students interested in learning more about the fundamentals and contributions of the life span developmental approach.

Our program offered insights into important issues such as work and retirement, long-term care, the growing diversity of the aging population and caregiver stress. The program also included skill building and mentoring events for students and early career psychologists, and Div. 20 participated in a special poster session highlighting early career resources and opportunities within the division. Div. 20 worked with many other divisions to organize cross-division symposia. Topics addressed by these events include the controversy over “brain training,” the potential of wearable technology to facilitate psychological research and practice and evidence-based care for individuals with dementia and their families.

Other programming highlights included a memorial session celebrating the life, accomplishments, and pioneering work of James E. Birren, PhD. Jim was a pioneer in aging research and was considered by many to be the father of modern gerontology. Richard Schulz, PhD, gave the Distinguished Research Achievement Award address, and we celebrated recent Div. 20 fellows in our fellows address: Joann M. Montepare, PhD; Alan B. Stevens, PhD; and Tonita Wroolie, PhD. Sterns gave his presidential address: “Work til you Drop, or Knowing When to Stop II.”

Finally, APA 2016 offered members the opportunity to network and socialize. A group dinner was organized for the first day of the convention at Marlowe's. This was a joint event between Div. 20 and Div. 12 Section II (Society of Clinical Geropsychology). We had a total of 55 attendees. After the awards ceremony and Presidential Address, Div. 20 hosted a wine and cheese social hour, with refreshments provided by Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement and the RoseMary B. Fuss Center for Research on Aging and Intergenerational Studies.

Overall, the programming for Div. 20 at APA 2016 was a great success, and the program chairs look forward to working with Div. 20 members to put together an even better program for APA 2017 in Washington, D.C.