Hello, Div. 28 members,
I was looking forward to “seeing” many of you at our Div. 28 meeting on Aug. 7, which, for the first time in our 54-year history, was held virtually. Justin Strickland, our 2020 program chair, put together an outstanding program which included live programming as well as pre-recorded content available through the larger APA convention (also held virtually, Aug. 6-9). The live component was held on Aug. 7 from 2:00 to 3:50 pm EST and included a Data Blitz featuring research from our Early-Career Members, my Presidential Address on Sex and Gender Differences in Substance Use Disorder, and our business meeting. We honored this year’s Div. 28 Award winners, including Justin Strickland (Outstanding Dissertation), Elias Klemperer (Outstanding Dissertation), Andrew Huhn (Young Psychopharmacologist Award), and Ken Perkins (MED Associates Brady-Schuster Award), and a presentation from each of these awardees was available as part of our pre-recorded programming. Members also joined us for a NIAAA/NIDA-sponsored Student Poster and Social Hour, which began right after our live programming at 4:00 pm EST.
We also had a wealth of pre-recorded material as part of our program and co-sponsored with other divisions that will be available for an entire year beginning on Aug. 6 through the APA convention registration. This content spans the interests of our members and includes talks and symposia highlighting topics of immediate interest to our field, such as mobile assessment and intervention in substance use disorder, drug regulation, personalized medicine, sex as a biological variable, and more. Additional details on the scientific program are provided in Justin’s column of this newsletter. Convention information and program details that are currently available can also be found on the APA convention website. A special thanks to Justin Strickland for adapting so well, rolling with all the last-minute changes, and developing this outstanding program under pandemic conditions. A big thanks also to each of the speakers who are contributing their time to this meeting by giving a live or pre-recorded presentation and to each of you who have registered for the meeting or are planning to join us. I also want to thank Med Associates, Pinney Associates, and Suzette Evans, whose annual contributions fund our awards and allow us to keep membership costs low.
This is a historic time, and the members of Div. 28 and the Executive Committee have been very active in their efforts to address not only issues related to substance use and COVID-19, but also issues of systemic racism in our field. In response to COVID-19, the Executive Committee compiled a list of resources and information available on the intersection of psychopharmacology, substance use, and COVID-19. These resources were shared with our membership, in social media, and compiled with other APA divisions to provide a broad overview of resources available in psychology. In response to systemic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement, the Executive Committee developed some actionable items that we are now working to implement to help increase the representation of Black people at all levels of Div. 28 membership. These include fundraising plans to establish a diversity award and to create a diversity column for our newsletter, which is included for the first time with this edition. This column will be used to promote and support our underrepresented members and to highlight research on health disparities. We also formed a diversity subcommittee consisting of myself, Kelly Dunn (president-elect), Meredith Berry (newsletter editor), and Richard Yi (divisional awards) to work on these initiatives and to create new ones to help ensure that our diversity goals are achieved. A statement summarizing our diversity plan and Anti-Racism Statement can be found in the Diversity Column of this newsletter and on our Div. 28 website in the near future.
The Executive Committee has also been working on a number of other initiatives, including working with our divisional members and APA to compose a response to NIH’s five-year strategic plan and working to increase our divisional presence on social media. For all of these efforts, I’d like to give a big thanks to the members of the Executive Committee for all of their hard work. I want to also congratulate the newly elected members of our Executive Committee, including Ryan Vandrey as president-elect, Dustin Stairs as member-at-large, and once again, Bill Stoops as Council Representative. I want to thank everyone who ran for these positions.