In this issue

Div. 20 Council of Representatives report

Council representatives report on the August 2018 meeting.

By Patricia A. Parmelee, PhD, and Susan Krauss Whitbourne, PhD, ABPP

APA’s Council of Representatives met Aug. 8 and 10, 2018. Below, Div. 20’s representatives to Council report on this meeting.

Expanded advocacy model

The Council of Representatives (COR) voted at its March meeting by an 89 percent margin to integrate the two APA related 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(6) organizations, such that all APA members and affiliates would be members of two organizations in the APA Family while paying one combined dues fee on an annual basis. Progress of a workgroup assembled to develop a plan for this merger was reported to Council.

The 14-person workgroup, including only two academic/research psychologists, was charged with “develop[ing] a ‘one APA’ model in which the c3 and c6 organizations seamlessly integrate priority-setting and advocacy initiatives while also maintaining the strength of the current decentralized approach; to consider advocacy priorities with respect to impact on both the discipline of psychology and the professions of psychologists so that all voices are heard, and to benefit from existing governance structure to make these determinations…” The group met virtually 14 times over a three-month period; it delivered its final report on July 12. PowerPoint summaries and notes of meetings are available for members’ review on the APA website.

The group recommended a set of guiding principles that emphasize a single approach to advocacy (versus the current “siloed” approach by which advocacy is planned and executed within directorates) and a process for setting annual advocacy goals and priorities. A new advocacy director will coordinate synthesis of input into recommendations to a new Advocacy Coordinating Committee (ACC) for development of priorities. A single unified Board of Directors and a similarly unified Finance Committee will make decisions about allocation of annual dues to c3 and c6 activities. We, Patricia A. Parmelee and Susan K. Whitbourne, wish to note, editorially, that the proposed process explicitly excludes COR beyond initial input, further diluting the voice of membership in the process of setting and funding advocacy priorities. We and others were surprised at this fact, having only been presented with the flow chart of the new legislative and policy-determining set of steps.

For 2019, the 501(c)(6) revenues are budgeted to be $7,490,000; $6M of this amount will come from membership dues. Of the estimated $10,000,000 in annual membership dues, 40 percent will go to the (c)(3) (APA) and 60 percent to the (c)(6) (APA Services, Inc.). Member benefits will include a free Psychologist Locator listing, discounted liability insurance and free/discounted continuing education credits. Future benefits to non-clinicians “will be developed.” Additionally, the 40-60 percent split is only for the year 2019; in subsequent years, a “hydraulic” mechanism will regulate the split of membership dues.

COR passed, by large margins, four specific actions regarding this process: (1) to receive the report of the work group, (2) to support establishment of a unified Finance Committee and a single Board of Directors for the two arms of the organization, (3) to approve allocation of 2019 membership dues allocation as described above and (4) to approve amendments to APAPO bylaws to change organizational name and create Advocacy Coordinating Committee.

Psychologists in Military Detention Settings

A new business item proposed to revise existing policy regarding presence of psychologists in military detention centers that operate outside the standards of international law. Representatives from Div. 19 (Military Psychology) moved to defer the vote in favor of formation of a Presidential Task Force to investigate the issue further. After considerable discussion, Council voted to go into executive session in order for a psychologist on active military duty to speak. Following that discussion, Council voted on the original motion, voting to retain the original language limiting involvement of military psychologists in detention sites operating outside the standards of international law.

Relocating the Hoffman Report on the APA website

Much of this discussion was in executive session and cannot be described in detail, but Council did receive information from APA legal counsel proposing that the Hoffman Report be moved from its current position on a landing page. An alternative motion, sponsored by the BOD, proposed a compromise with the original motion. After lengthy discussion, the amended motion, retaining the Hoffman Report in context (timeline) but not as a stand-alone document and with additional materials representing opinions on both sides of the debate regarding its veracity, passed by a substantial margin.

Other items of business

In other actions, Council: (1) passed a motion that, at the beginning of each COR meeting, Council members will vote on whether to release the electronically-collected votes of individual members on each motion; (2) voted to appoint a task force to review an existing set of guidelines regarding effects of violent video games; (3) voted to encourage use of the word “patient” instead of “client” in healthcare delivery settings; (4) approved formation of a task force on differences in sex development; (5) received updates on APA finances, strategic planning and the Diversity and Inclusion Plan; and (6) heard an update and observed awards by President Jessica Henderson Daniel on her Citizen Psychologist initiative.