APA Div. 28 president column

Looking forward to APA convention and learning from international colleagues.

By Stacey C. Sigmon

I hope this finds everyone well and settling into summer. If you are like me, you likely are juggling summer-related changes in school/work routines, increasing travel, preparing for the summer scientific conferences and attempting to keep manuscript and grant writing going in the process. However, while it is easy to get caught up in our never-ending to do lists, we should also be sure to take a few moments each day to appreciate this fleeting season and the beauty it brings.

This was made especially clear to me when I learned, while at the College on Probems of Drug Dependence meeting in Palm Springs, California, about the horrific mass shooting deaths in Orlando, Florida, most of whom were Latino and/or lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. This tragedy has touched our lives personally and professionally and prompts us to pause and reflect on how we can better care for each other and the most vulnerable among us. We can also make sure that our voices are heard in the efforts to reduce senseless gun-related deaths. While Congress has yet to approve some version of a gun control measure, it is not yet clear how this will play out. Please consider contacting your congressional representatives—it only takes a few minutes to add your voice to this important effort. You can also learn more about APA's response to this tragic event.

On a much, much lighter note, I would also like to spread the word about the growing number of international learning opportunities that are available through APA. As our world gets smaller, we stand to learn a great deal professionally and personally from our international colleagues. I recently gained a new appreciation for this as a participant in a trip to Cuba organized by the APA Office of International Affairs. During May 7-15, we met with Cuban psychologists and health care providers in hospitals and community mental health clinics across Havana. We also met with Cuban researchers at a psychology research institute before participating in Hominis 2016, a conference organized by the Cuban Psychological Society and attended by over 800 psychologists from Cuba, neighboring Latin American countries and territories, the U.S. and Europe.

Visiting Cuba just before the historic re-opening of the country to Americans was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity personally. And, professionally, despite the glaring absence of resources and infrastructure in the hospitals and mental health clinics we visited, the Cuban health care system was far more sophisticated and holistic than I ever anticipated. I encourage each of you to explore the offerings of APA's Office of International Affairs. In fact, APA will host another trip to Cuba next year to attend the Psicosalud 2017 conference in Havana. Tentative dates are Oct. 27-Nov. 5, 2017, with an optional extension to visit the east of Cuba through Nov. 9, 2017. Participants will visit Havana, engage in seminars and site-visits on the Cuban health care and education systems. Don't miss these amazing opportunities being offered through APA.

Last but not least, our 2016 American Psychological Association Convention is fast approaching. We will have symposia and presentations on the timely topics of tobacco regulatory science and cannabis legalization, as well as many other areas of psychopharmacology and substance abuse. View our division's programming.

We will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Div. 28 with a fantastic symposium by our past presidents and a social hour to follow. To register, make hotel reservations, and learn more about the meeting, visit the APA convention registration website.

As another way to commemorate our division's 50th anniversary, we will be publishing a special issue of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology (ECP) highlighting the scientific contributions of our members over the past five decades. Keep an eye out for this ECP special issue to arrive in your mailbox in August.

I look forward to seeing everyone August 4-7 in beautiful Denver, Colorado.