Updates from the APA Council

APA's expanded advocacy model

Div. 28 council representative discusses structural changes within APA that are intended to improve advocacy.
By William W. Stoops

Over the course of its last two meetings, APA's Council of Representatives approved structural changes that are intended to improve and expand the organization's advocacy capacity. APA is designated as a 501(c)(3) organization, which is highly advantageous for tax purposes but results in limited capacity to lobby on behalf of psychology. The (c)(3) organization covers all areas of psychology, houses the APA publishing operation, manages accreditation and is able to offer a limited range of member benefits.

APA's sister organization, the APA Practice Organization (APAPO), is designated as a 501(c)(6), which allows it greater lobbying capacity on behalf of practicing psychologists. The (c)(6) primarily works on professional issues (e.g., reimbursement) and supports state associations, with member benefits that are designed to support practitioners.

Going forward, as a result of recent Council votes, the APAPO will be reorganized into the APA Services Incorporated (APASI). APASI will work on professional issues for all psychologists, whereas APA will remain an organization dedicated to the advancement of psychology. Thus, APA's general functions will remain largely the same. The structure of the APASI was developed by a workgroup appointed by our current president, Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, ABPP. The workgroup members represented the four primary directorate areas of APA: science, practice, education and public interest. As such, the new APASI will have the capacity for uncapped lobbying in each of these areas. APASI will continue to support state associations and will develop a range of benefits designed to support all psychologists. Lobbying priorities will be identified through an iterative process with feedback from APA staff and members, Council and an Advocacy Coordinating Committee, which is currently being formed.

With these changes, both organizations will have a single finance committee and Board of Directors. All APA members will also be APASI members (and 60 percent of their 2019 dues will go to the APASI). It is the expectation that this new structure will allow for greater and expanded advocacy efforts for psychologists.

I am particularly optimistic about the expanded capacity to lobby for psychological scientist's interests and think these changes will truly benefit Div. 28 members. Should you have questions or comments about the changes, please feel free to contact me by email.