From the President's Desk

Div. 28 president's column

Div. 28 President Mark Smith provides an overview of division accomplishments during the past year.
By Mark Smith, PhD

Mark Smith, PhD Friends and colleagues, it's hard to believe that my presidential year is already drawing to a close. It has truly been an honor to serve as Div. 28 president, and I am pleased that the division remains a major player in the national conversation on issues related to psychopharmacology and substance abuse. We have had a busy year in the division, all of which is due to the tireless efforts of our Executive Committee and the active engagement of our members.

We are growing. The division has been successful at recruiting new members while retaining/engaging its continuing members. We had a spike in new membership applications following the Div. 28 Social at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), and we are working hard to engage our new members in the division. We updated our procedures for enrolling new members to our division's Listerv, and we resurrected the division's Student and Early Career Psychologist (ECP) Listservs to engage our early career members. Special thanks go to Dustin Stairs (membership chair), Amy Stamates (student representative), Andrea Robinson and Elizabeth Holly (ECP representatives) and Ron Wood (electronic communication officer) for making all of this a reality.

We are active. Our members are playing active roles on APA boards, national advisory panels and policy-making committees. Currently, our members are represented on the Board of Convention Affairs, the Board of Scientific Affairs, the Policy and Planning Board and the Publications and Communications Board within APA. Our members are also represented on Presidential Advisory Panels on the Opioid Epidemic and on multiple national committees that are making significant impacts on public policy. Whenever there is a need to fill an important vacancy or solicit input from a team of experts on issues related to psychopharmacology and substance abuse, policy makers immediately reach out to us. Many thanks go to Geoff Mumford, associate executive director in the APA's Government Affairs Office, for making sure that our voice is always heard on the national stage and on Capitol Hill.

We are strong. In addition to rising membership, our activities are making an impact, our financial footing is stable and our leadership is engaged. We continue to send advice/recommendations/opinions to members of Congress, and we continue to send nominations to national advisory boards and policy-making committees, including the increasingly important Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee. Furthermore, our treasury is solid; we continue to bring in new members, we have a reliable staple of corporate affiliates and we are highly judicious in our spending. Appreciative thanks go to Pinney Associates, Indivior and Med Associates for their continuing support of our mission, and an extra special thanks goes to our treasurer, Will Aklin, for keeping us all in line.

We are leaders in the field. As I've said before, our greatest strengths lie in our members. We are fortunate to have an outstanding team of dedicated professionals who bring significant intellectual synergy to our division. In addition to the people mentioned above, I need to thank the rest of the elected members of the Executive Committee: Bill Stoops (Council representative), David Festinger (past president), Matt Johnson (president-elect), Cecile Marczinski, Kelly Dunn and Ryan Vandrey (members-at-large), who collectively provide our division with institutional memory, moral wisdom and intellectual guidance. We also have a host of appointed officers, representatives, monitors and liaisons, all of whom keep our operations running smoothly. Of this immensely talented bunch, I especially need to thank Micky Koffarnus (secretary), Erin McClure (newsletter/website editor), Adam Leventhal (new fellows chair) and Cathy Stanger (divisional awards chair), who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure our most important work gets accomplished. Finally, I need to thank two individuals who were appointed to temporary, one-year positions but who have contributed countless hours of effort during my tenure: Justin Strickland (archivist), who has sorted through hundreds of documents to create a digital archive of much of our division's history (watch for it to go live in December), and Michael Wesley (2018 convention program chair), who put together an outstanding scientific program at our meeting in San Francisco, earning him much deserved kudos from inside and outside the division.

As I wrap up the final presidential column of my tenure, I am happy to say that I am leaving the division in good hands. Matt Johnson, who will take over as president on Jan. 1, has been a long-term member of the Executive Committee. In addition to his tenure as president-elect, he has served as member-at-large, new fellows chair and convention program chair. He is an outstanding scientist and just an all-around-awesome guy, and he will lead our division with competence, conviction and integrity. Mary Cain, who is coming off her tenure as Div. 6 president, will be joining the Div. 28 Executive Committee as our new member-at-large, and Wendy Lynch, who has served previously as Div. 28 convention program chair and member-at-large, will be rejoining the Executive Committee as president-elect. These accomplished scientists will ensure that our division retains its place in the national spotlight for many years to come.

Sincerest thanks for an outstanding year. 

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