American Psychological Association. (2009, February 1). Diversity handbook.

As President of Division 31, it is my pleasure to provide you with this Handbook. The Handbook was conceptualized in 2005, under the Presidency of Lisa Grossman, JD, PhD, Division 31 has maintained a commitment to increasing diversity within SPTAs and APA. As part of this commitment, we are providing you with this handbook.

The primary goal of the Diversity Initiative of the Committee of State Leaders has been to involve more ethnic minority psychologists in membership and leadership positions in SPTAs. The Initiative has continued to grow since 2000, which was when SPTAs were invited to nominate ethnic minority psychologists for funded participation in the State Leadership Conference. Since its inception, the Diversity Initiative has grown in terms of participation of delegates and the inclusion of the initiative within psychological associations. Many of the delegates are now being funded by their own SPTA. In addition, many of the delegates have been elected to office within their SPTA.

The 2003-2009 diversity delegates and the diversity subcommittee of the Committee of State Leaders provided updates of the diversity initiatives within their SPTA. Much of the information obtained in this Handbook was obtained from these reports. The initial Handbook was presented to diversity delegates in 2005 and has been on the Division 31 website as a resource to SPTAs and divisions as they begin to develop and expand their initiative.

This revision includes information presented after 2005, in addition to information prior to that time. It is hoped that Division 31 and all SPTAs will utilize this information in developing and meeting goals for the diversity initiative within their SPTA.

Division 31 is very grateful to the Committee on State Leaders and APA for allowing usto use their resources. I would also like to express my thanks to Dr. Cathy McDaniels Wilson for organizing this revision.

Jennifer F. Kelly, PhD 
President, APA Division 31 
February 2009

Diversity refers to the mixture of differences and similarities that can exist among a combination of individuals (Thomas, 1999). According to Thomas, diversity is not just a function of race or gender or any other us-versus-them dyad, but a complex and ever-changing blend of attributes, behaviors, and talents.

According to a recent publication by the Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs of the American Psychological Association, “Toward an inclusive psychology: Infusing the introductory psychology textbook with diversity content”, the term diversity “is often used to describe the cultural and ethnic differences among individuals whose experiences are different from those of a dominant cultural group.

Additionally, the term can refer to within cultural group differences where the emphasis is placed on individual differences” (Trimble, Stevenson, and Worell, 2004).

Although we are aware that diversity relates to more than just ethnic minorities, this Handbook specifically focuses on increasing ethnic diversity in the State, Provincial, and Territorial Psychological Associations. Many ideas in this Handbook can be utilized to establish and implement diversity initiatives with other groups of a pluralistic society.

Involvement in the Initiative from the Executive Director, Board of Directors, and Members of the Psychological Association.

Before a committee is formed, there must first be a foundation:

  • Ask members of the Executive Committee to serve on the diversity committee.

    • -It is especially important to have the President and the President-Elect involved—invite them to serve on the committee.

  • Ask the President to make diversity part of his/her Presidential agenda for the year.

  • Make certain there is strong support from the leadership. In addition to the President, support from the Executive Director and Treasurer are critical so that fiscal needs are aligned with the articulated commitment of the group.

  • Develop 1-1, personal relationships with Board members and the Executive Director.

  • Spend time with the Board, clarifying aspects of diversity. Examine your own assumptions.

  • Endorsement vs. advocacy: It is important to get Board Members beyond superficial levels of endorsement. Instead of just endorsing the concept of diversity, they must advocate for the initiative to be part of the association’s goals.

  • Have a “diversity champion(s)” whose primary job it is to push the initiative and serve as the ‘conscience’ of the group in terms of being sensitive to the issues of multiculturalism.

    • -It would be good if the role of “champion” were shared by members of the Executive Committee and the Diversity Representative.

    • -Seek a mentor who is well-respected in the psychological community to help support the initiative.

  • Present reports in person to the Board.

  • Establish a system of two-way communication between the Diversity Committee and the Board regarding diversity issues. 

  • Integrate diversity needs into strategic plans of the Association. 

  • Identify specific benefits of the Initiative to the Association (e.g., CE Workshops on multicultural issues). 

  • In 2006, WSPA Executive Board instituted an appointed position, the Diversity Ombudsperson, whose job is to monitor Exec. Board decisions for a wide range of diversity concerns 

  • Think outside the box! For example, invite the President of the SPTA into diverse neighborhoods to help develop an understanding as to why diversity is so important.

  • Have enough members of the committee to effectively carry out the mission of the committee. 
    • - Know the history of diversity efforts in your Association 
- Talk to persons who have been involved in the initiative in the past. They can provide a historical perspective of the initiative, and help identify potential roadblocks. 
  • Request representation on the Committee from each SPTA Committee, Division, and Task Force.

  • Engage the Editor of the SPTA newsletter as a partner in the diversity initiative processes.

  • Have representation from various geographical regions of the state.

  • Use CE opportunities to recruit members.

  • Modify the membership application to include a voluntary section where members can identify their racial/ethnic background. This information/data is used not only to expand membership on the Diversity Committee, but also to raise individual interest in serving on other committees, and to explore leadership roles within the organization.

  • Work with the association and Board to obtain statistics to generate a database, i.e. number of psychologists by ethnic groups, by geographical location, etc.

  • Expand the concept of diversity beyond ethnicity. Pool resources and energy with other diversity groups in the SPTA.

  • Set goal of establishing a voting position for the Diversity Committee on the Board.

  • Coordinate with other committees to reach out to psychologists of diverse backgrounds to participate on the committee.

Mission Statement
  • Develop a clear mission statement for the committee

    • -The mission statement should guide decisions and funding.

  • Consider having the mission statement encompass five areas:

    • -Increasing involvement of psychologists, as well as undergraduate and graduate students, by fostering networking and recruitment of ethnic minority individuals;

    • -Recognizing the needs of the practicing community agencies, organizations, and corporations on issues of diversity sensitivity and training;

    • -Conducting needs assessments of ethnic/minority psychologists within the state;

    • -Incorporating ethnically diverse content into educational offerings;

    • -Fostering greater community involvement.

Examples of Mission Statements

“The mission of the Maryland Psychological Association’s (MPA) Diversity Initiative is to increase the diversity of the association’s general membership and promote increased involvement in the association’s leadership.”

“Arizona Psychological Association will be a leader in service to ethnically diverse professionals, students, and communities in Arizona.”

“The mission of the Diversity Committee of the Iowa Psychological Association is to develop, promote, and support diversity initiatives within the association and throughout the state; facilitate a supportive and inclusive environment for members of diverse backgrounds; and serve as a conduit of information for the association on policy making and activity planning”.

“The New Jersey Psychological Association declares its intention to raise the consciousness of its members about issues of diversity. These issues include, but are not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, religion, disability, country of origin, and marital status. The Association is committed to addressing these issues and concerns in its programs and publications.”

  • Strategies for Selecting and Setting Goals:

  • Create a vision for diversity.

  • Generate questions to frame the issue, and then research the answers to the questions to identify problem areas. 

    • -Diversity Committees may set goals in response to membership requests and obvious need.

    • -Survey the membership.

    • -Incorporate the Executive Director in the goal setting and planning to maintain continuity.

    • -Select goals that are sustainable by the state, provincial, or territorial association.

    • -Keep goals focused and targeted.

    • -Start small and then expand.

    • -Consider broad goals affecting multiple groups, i.e., cultural, ethnic, and religious.

Strategies for Implementation of Goals
  • Target committee members and ask them to participate vs. only having a general call for volunteers.

  • Include members from different geographical regions around the state.

  • Educate the Board and the membership.

  • Use existing mechanisms within the association for gathering and distributing information, i.e. newsletters, journals, web sites, etc. 

  • Schedule regular committee meetings either in person or via conference calls to keep projects moving forward.

Examples of Goals of SPTAs

“To provide support for psychologists, and connect psychologists of color with one another and with other psychologists, professionals, and professional groups.”

“To provide support and mentor students of color and connect with psychologists and other professionals.”

“To advocate for culturally competent mental health services; promote mental health within the minority community.”

“Increase the recruitment, retention, mentoring, and participation of ethnic minorities within the state psychological association.”

“To provide recommendations for establishing clinical guidelines for the psychological assessment, evaluation, and treatment of persons who are non-English dominant”.

“To increase the awareness and sensitivity of members to the experiences and needs of ethnic minority populations in the state.”

“Increase the number of ethnic minority psychologists in the governance and committee structure of the organization.”

“Enhance the knowledge and skills of psychologists in working with and providing services to ethnically diverse populations.”

“The goal of the Committee of Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) is to foster growth, participation, and advocacy activities of ethnic minority psychologists within MPA. A major goal is to develop a multicultural competence website that offers continuing education to psychologists/providers in the state. Initiate state reciprocal agreements for website links to the Diversity/Cultural Competence Home-study Courses website.”

“Develop a Diversity Consultation Panel: A subcommittee has also been created in order to develop this panel. We would like to have a diversity consultation option for members where they can call if they have specific diversity-related questions or concerns in their work.”

  • Devote two to three hours of training in the area of diversity during one of the Board meetings or at the annual retreat.

  • Collaborate with other sections/divisions within the SPTA, such as the section/division of Women. 

  • Hold a Diversity brunch – include association leaders and invite members of other sections/divisions. 

  • Provide continuing education opportunities regarding diversity. Have the SPTA commit itself to a diversity track during the annual meeting and have the Ethnic Minority Committee responsible for suggesting topics and inviting speakers. 

  • Have an annual Diversity edition of the Association’s publication. The issue can be a vehicle to provide visibility of the work ethnic minority psychologists are engaged in and to provide education on a broad range of diversity issues. Members and non- members can be invited to participate as contributing authors. 

  • Have a section of the website devoted to the Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee that provides information on a number of ethnic diversity topics. 

  • Arrange to have invited speakers who can inform the general membership on a range of diversity-related issues; for example, their experience working with the African-American community in the state, province, or territory, or the cognitive assessment of ethnic minorities. 

  • Organize a panel at the annual meeting that will include enhancing the representation of diverse psychologists who practice throughout the state, province, or territory. 

  • Provide ongoing training on diversity-related issues to those psychologists who seek consultation in this area, and promote awareness and knowledge through activities such as creating a network where psychologists can actively engage in an ongoing dialogue about critical issues that emerge from an ever-changing population. 

  • Require cultural competence skills for licensure renewal. 

  • Co-sponsor activities/awards with other Board committees. 

  • Develop a conference on Diversity—Have key officers such as the President, President-elect, and Treasurer serve on a program. 

  • Create a non-voting. Affiliate member seat at BOD meetings for delegates of organizations of psychology who are not currently represented on the board. i.e. ABPSI, LPNL.

  • Hold social gatherings, brown bag lunches, and conversation hours with Psychologists of color for the purpose of networking.

  • Have a social event that coincides with a special day, such as the Martin Luther King Holiday. In addition to ethnically diverse psychologists, invite members of the Executive Committee and the Executive Director. At the gathering, invite psychologists of color to join the Committee.

  • Hold talks on cross-cultural issues, pan-religious issues, social and cultural events. Settings for the events can be diverse, ranging from the Association’s central office, local restaurants and the homes of psychologists.

  • Use technology to connect with others; start a Listserv®.

  • Establish contacts with doctoral programs in the area and invite the students to participate in Committee of Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) activities.

  • Organize subgroups within the minority psychological community to address the many needs of ethnic minorities within the area. They can include Social Advocacy, Student, Clinical, and Research groups.

  • Diversity Committee members should serve as coordinators of the mentoring program; that way the more senior psychologists can mentor early career psychologists of color.

  • A student/professional mentorship interest form can be distributed at the annual conference. Have a booth/table at the conference to distribute information about the activities of the Committee, invite involvement, and establish a student/mentor network. 

  • The forms can also be mailed to newly licensed Psychologists. 

  • Have ethnic minority psychologists conduct a workshop on issues related to preparing young psychologists for clinical work. 

  • Establish a Mentoring listserv to maintain and facilitate communication between mentors and students. 

  • Use the APA Division 31 Mentoring Handbook as a resource 

  • Continue to strengthen collaborations with colleges/universities to assist graduate students, mentoring and new early career professi9onal development (Focus on developing a consultation and support network/group for Psychology graduate students of color.

  • Award scholarships to cover expenses to graduate students to present their research during poster sessions at the annual SPTA convention.

  • Request funding from APA to assist in covering the costs of Diversity Initiatives. For example, explore funding from the Committee of Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention and Training (CEMRRAT). 

  • Solicit donations from community organizations. One use can be to support SPTA Conference/Convention scholarships for students.

  • Place a line item on dues statements to support the Diversity Initiative.

  • Donate frequent flyer miles to support diversity delegate participation at the APA State Leadership Conference.

  • Tap into the SPTA’s nonprofit Foundation funds for professional development.

  • Market workshops by the diversity committee to other helping professionals such as nurses, public health officials, etc.

  • Start a consulting group that charges for multicultural competency and other types of training. Academics and other psychologists who are not association members can be invited to consult for specific projects. 

  • Write letters to members asking for donations for diversity projects. 

  • Ask service agencies, universities, private practitioners, and other associations (e.g. Latin Medical Association) to co-sponsor conferences or workshops to bring in more revenue for diversity issues. 

  • Ask companies to co-sponsor conferences, workshops, and projects, e.g., Southern Bell, Verizon, Blue Cross/Blue Shield. 

  • Issues to keep in mind: 

    • - Find ways to sustain fundraising on a regular basis. 

    • - Many associations require workshop income to be put into the general budget. Consulting funds may be seen as separate from workshop funds, and may be easier to allocate directly into the diversity budget rather than the general fund. 

    • - There needs to be a voting diversity presence on the board so that the Diversity Committee can have a voice about regular budget lines, such as funding of diversity delegates to APA State Leadership Conference. 

    • - The size of the SPTA will be a major factor in how much money can be generated for diversity projects—including diversity representation attendance at SLC.

  • Have the Psychological Association or the nonprofit SPTA Foundation sponsor fund raising events, such as a Silent Auction, and have a percentage of the proceeds go for academic scholarships to ethnic minority students enrolled in graduate psychology programs. 

  • Explore non-profit organization support. 

  • Develop a Diversity Scholarship to support scholarly or community-based research projects on an undergraduate, graduate and professional level. 

  • Award scholarships to high school students to attend an annual convention and offer a one-year membership to your association.

  • Conduct multicultural competency training at facilities, such as State Hospitals and the Prison System. 

  • Hold mentoring and networking socials at restaurants for psychologists and students. 

  • Co-sponsor conventions and CE programs/speakers with groups such as the Association of Black Psychologists. 

  • Form strategic alliances with key national authorities in minority mental health, as well as APA divisions and committees that are dedicated to minority mental health. These alliances can serve as partners on projects with the Diversity committee. 

  • Have a commitment to engage local university training programs to participate in projects designed to promote increased involvement of its ethnic minority students with the state, provincial, or territorial association. 

  • Co-sponsor legislation that affects the ethnic minority population with multicultural mental health community groups. 

  • Increase formal and informal affiliations/collaborations with multicultural community groups in terms of social gatherings and professional development offerings. 

  • Strengthen collaborations with colleges and universities by mentoring graduate students in their early career professional development. 

  • Explore adding cultural competency as a requirement for licensure renewal. 

  • Engage in the difficult dialogue necessary to build alliances with ethnic minority associations. The purpose is to develop more formal relationships with these associations and to encourage mutual advocacy leadership and coordination

  • Collaborate with academic psychologists and other psychologists of color who have been reluctant to join the SPTA but who are very interested in collaborating with the committee on projects to promote diversity awareness and benefit underserved people in the diverse communities. 

  • Collaborate with the state, provincial, or territorial Medical Associations to provide mental health screening at health fairs in underserved communities. 

  • Establish a method to meet client referral requests for ethnically diverse psychologists. 

  • Establish a referral source for the Association and the community on cultural competency and diversity workshops. 

  • Develop a resource directory of psychologists of color that will be available to Association members and the communities in the state, province, or territory. 

  • Assess “ethnic-matching” of therapists and clients and other culturally sensitive interventions to determine their efficacy. 

  • Collaborate among ethnic minority community leadership, schools, churches and other groups and institutions to share and enhance resources and gain insight into the specific mental health issues affecting their constituencies. 

  • Assess the use of mental health services by ethnic minority populations to determine if barriers exist to access to care. 

  • Identify alternative sources of mental health services, if any, sought by ethnic minority populations. 

  • Collaborate on special programs such as National Depression Screening Day and support local churches, temples, etc. by providing APA materials to local Ethnic Psychological Associations. 

  • Share and co-create legislative agendas that impact multicultural community interests. 

  • Develop a Diversity Award for organizations similar to the Healthy Workplace Award. 

  • Integrate “diversity” as a criterion for selection of Healthy Workplace Award. 

  • Partner with community organizations. Do not limit contacts to psychological organizations. 

  • Include diversity perspective in legislative agenda. 

  • Recognize the importance of networking with other community agencies with a diversity mission. Identify those agencies and develop a plan to network and assist these agencies with their goals in promoting diversity awareness through educational seminars and works

  • Encourage participation in as well as provide on-going leadership skill development workshops to create a “pipeline” of future leaders. 

  • Consult with the elections/nominating committee to identify psychologists of diverse backgrounds for leadership positions. 

  • Identify and invite minority psychologists to serve on committees, task forces and sections/divisions. 

  • Provide mentorship and developmental leadership opportunities by supporting the election of minority leaders to positions such as Business of Practice, Federal Advocacy Coordinator, or APA’s Council of Representatives. 

  • Encourage members to join APA Task Forces, Workgroups, Boards and Committees. 

  • Become visible in areas of Association work. 

  • Volunteer.

  • Have minority members become familiar with the organizational structure of APA Boards and Committees in relation to the Directorates, the Council and Board of Directors. 

  • Have minority members become familiar with the nomination and support process via the APA Council of Representative caucuses, Divisions and SPTA’s. 

  • Use the “get involved, get elected” principle, i.e. find and use opportunities to get your name out there. Seek out “face time” (exposure). For example, write for your association’s newsletter, volunteer for high visibility positions (e.g., advocacy committee), give testimony on issues before your legislature, make occasional posts on your listserv, etc. 

  • Understand that oftentimes the process of getting elected is political. Do your best to understand the politics of your local situation. 

  • Recognize that a “diversity” agenda may be limiting and may even be a political liability to be overcome. Deliberately position yourself as a candidate with broader interests than simply a focus on diversity, in the interest of political viability. 

  • Understand your own motivations for running for office to ensure that you can strike a balance that works for you between public service on the one hand and personal satisfaction on the other. Too much emphasis on public service can result in burn- out. 

  • Find a mentor who is part of the “establishment” and use his or her advice. 

  • Make sure you have a group of friends and colleagues for support. You may not win the first time, but remain persistent. 

  • Stick with it! You will meet great colleagues by being involved in your SPTA, colleagues who also may become good friends, and you can help shape the agenda by being in leadership.

By Linda James Myers, PhD

The call to leadership can be understood to be a call to service. As a call to service there are some essentials to which we need capable leadership to respond. We need leaders with the capacity to forge the creation of a just, sacred, and sustainable world. You may very well be one of the ones we have been waiting for.

Who are these people with such laudable competencies for which we are looking? How do they go about exercising their abilities in professional, political, and institutional settings? I have had the opportunity to run across many from this group with relative frequency and they all seem to share certain characteristics in common. First and foremost, they seem to have a knowledge of themselves that derives from a considerable amount of time having been given to critical self-reflection, introspection, the honest search for authenticity, and, more often than not, they have learned a great deal from significant life challenges, trials by fire have taught them self-mastery. This self-knowledge is sometimes made evident in the peaceful well-being, quiet security, integrity, and confidence one senses in their presence, even in a crisis they seek to remain centered with a knowing grounded in something beyond what appears.

Another attribute common to this group is the respect they hold for those who have gone before them, upon whose shoulders they stand and without whom they would not be able to do what they do. Such an attitude of gratitude and reverence allows them to survey the human condition and conclude that indeed everyone is right to the limits of their knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, given their experiences, exposures, and meanings made. So being, their orientation to human diversity markers such as race, gender, and class surpasses the binary assessment that one is better than the other. Moving to the realization that everything can be found in every group, they look for the best among all with values that foster empathy, trust and mutual understanding as effective modes of social interaction.

Acknowledging that all is perception, and that power is the ability to define reality, this group wields their faith, or positive belief, time, and attention, wisely. Sensing and affirming an inviolate beauty way which assumes the interconnectedness of all life, the extension of a just and sacred world to all of humanity and existence across the dimensions of time and space is assured. Their deepened sense of awe and grace is accompanied by awareness that love is the most powerful force in the universe and is therefore the most solid assumption upon which all else should be built. Inspired that peace, the natural outgrowth of love, is a prerequisite for justice; the other prerequisites of truth, reciprocity, order, harmony, and balance are also perpetually sought.  Aspiring to pursue what is right, this group looks to create a world in which all forms of inequality, exploitation, manipulation, and dehumanization among people are overcome. The logic and system of reasoning typifying this group unifies, contains and transcends oppositions, a level of moral reasoning that seems uncommon in the current prevailing socio-cultural climate. In a society in which it is more important to be politically correct than morally correct, we are challenged in certain circles to even use the language of being just, sacred, or right, much less put forward an agenda based upon it being the ‘right’ thing to do. How do we even know what is right in as social context in which human diversity markers such as race, gender and class so heavily influence, if not determine, the opportunities and standards to which people are held and by which people are judged?

We need courageous leaders with the capacity to think deeply, critically, comprehensively, and coherently in a sustainable, analytically cohesive manner. From an optimal psychological perspective, if in order for this outcome to manifest with greater frequency we need weight training for the heart, mind, and soul, which is good too. So many things weigh on us as humanity, that no less than a serious program of weight training may suffice, if we are to effectively manage the leadership challenges we have ahead of us. In the wisdom tradition of the ancients, our goal is to make our hearts as light as a feather when weighed against our actions on the scales truth, justice and righteousness. As the result of engaging in rigorous training our minds will be strong with enough power to generate and sustain clear, purposeful, independent thought and opinion in the face of mentacide, engineered consensus, and miseducation.  Exercising with the kind of commitment that will develop our thinking toward greater knowledge, deeper wisdom and fuller understanding, our minds can regain any lost rigor, vigor, flexibility, and incisiveness. Our feelings will regain their buoyancy and elasticity, as our hearts soar with more extraordinary outcomes than we have ever before known. There will be many very heavy topics that we need to lift as we continue to get in our best shape. Please join this group that practices daily workouts for the heart, mind, and soul. You will then know that you are one of the ones we have been waiting for, no doubt!

Professor Myers specializes in psychology and culture, healing practices and psychotherapeutic processes, and moral and identity development. Nationally known for her work in the development of optimal theory, Dr. Myers is the author of numerous articles and two books, Understanding an Afrocentric World View: Introduction to a Optimal Psychology; and, co-editor of Mental Health and Ethnic Minorities. She proposes a model of human functioning consistent with insights from the wisdom tradition of African deep thought, modern physics, and Eastern philosophies.

By Sandra L. Shullman, PhD

One of the big debates about leadership has been about whether leaders are born or made—the nature/nurture controversy. Tom Peters, a management writer once said, “I never knew a leader who wasn’t born.” What is most significant is that much of the skill required to be a leader can be learned. This has been demonstrated by over 30 years of leadership research. Traditional notions of dominant western world leadership have historically emphasized the “great man theory,” where the leader (usually male) was the leanest, meanest, strongest, most educated, brightest (and often “whitest”). The leader from this perspective always knew what to do and how to do it, and the role of followers was simply to “just do it.” Other cultures have conceived leadership as more of a collective effort, centered more on the group itself than on the leader per se. In recent years, western white culture has moved its notions of leadership to a more reciprocally interactive set of concepts. We talk now of “transformational leaders” who engage and empower people to do their best for a collective vision that is bigger than any one person and where the group has a greater influence over how the mission and vision are accomplished.

We are currently dealing with an increasingly more ambiguous and uncertain context in which to lead. Globalization, technology, air travel, and increasingly more complex and diverse communities and workplaces have made leadership an even more challenging concept. Now it is not always clear either where to go or how to get there, so the leader might now be more of a “leader learner”, helping others learn on the way, rather than being the source of all direction. Lots of different types of people with increasingly different backgrounds can learn and lead.

On a very basic level, while the leadership role has become more complex over the past thirty years, leadership research over that same time period has shown that leadership skills and competencies can be identified and broken down into learnable pieces. Those who are agile learners can learn the leadership “lessons of experience” and be continuously effective leaders across time and situations. For those who have been traditionally marginalized in a dominant leadership culture, the need to be an agile learner has been a constant companion. The view from the “outside of the circle” is strikingly different than the view “from the center” and usually requires multiple sets of skills to navigate the boundaries of multiple contexts. This can actually be an advantage in learning the skills of leadership. For example, the idea of addressing “multiple realities,” which comes along by necessity for marginalized people, can be a key factor in leadership effectiveness. Really effective leaders know themselves well, understand the wants and needs of others and know how to manage and leverage their own behavior to achieve the desired impact with/for a variety of others in their environment.

So, APA offers you the opportunity to get involved and use our diversity as a foundational strength to create a better discipline and a better world. We can learn from each other by sharing, questioning and engaging in deep, respectful and sometimes difficult dialogue. We can all learn to be better leaders together. Dr. Sandra Shullman is managing partner of the Columbus Office of the Executive Development Group, an international leadership development and consulting firm. Dr. Shullman is a nationally known organizational consultant and has written and has presented extensively on the topics of performance appraisal, performance management, strategic succession planning, career development, management of self- esteem and motivation, team building, diversity management, sexual harassment, AIDS and the management of individual, organizational and systems change strategies. Dr. Shullman is the past president of the Ohio Psychological Association and has served on the American Psychological Association Board oof Directors, where she also chaired the APA Work Group on Executive Coaching and the Board of Professional Affairs. She is currently a member of the American Psychological Foundation Board of Directors and a member of the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest. Dr. Shullman also is the current chair of the Women's Caucus of the Council of Representatives.

Dr. Sandra Shullman is managing partner of the Columbus Office of the Executive Development Group, an international leadership development and consulting firm.

Dr. Shullman is a nationally known organizational consultant and has written and haspresented extensively on the topics of performance appraisal, performancemanagement, strategic succession planning, career development, management of self-esteem and motivation, team building, diversity management, sexual harassment, AIDSand the management of individual, organizational and systems change strategies.

Dr. Shullman is the past president of the Ohio Psychological Association and hasserved on the American Psychological Association Board of Directors, where she alsochaired the APA Work Group on Executive Coaching and the Board of ProfessionalAffairs. She is currently a member of the American Psychological Foundation Board ofDirectors and a member of the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the PublicInterest. Dr. Shullman also is the current chair of the Women's Caucus of the Councilof Representatives.

By Thomas A. Gordon, PhD

The imperative is to define what is right and to do it. - Barbara Jordan

Welcome. We salute your commitment to represent diversity, advance APA diversity initiatives, and deliver thought leadership for turning diversity to best advantage. We trust you will draw practical guidance from the many diversity-boosting strategies and tactics this manual provides. Its ample “to do” lists are meant to spark your rapid participation and going forward engagement. Please customize and adapt these activity recommendations to local realities and opportunities. Remember: We are expecting not routine activity or manual compliance; but that you to think, act, and lead diversity- relevant, high impact change. Prior to plunging into the activity specifics, let’s define what kind of diversity leadership we’re hoping you’ll honor and demonstrate.

Diversity Leadership

Leadership is sometimes framed as mostly a matter of “top level” authority, position, rank, recognition, title, power, privileges and perks. Leaders “hold” seats at important places and “run” things. Followers “implement and comply”. This “leadership as noun” model won’t help us much to drive our APA diversity initiatives. The model is too hierarchical, too static, too slow, and too exclusionary. It draws upon historical paradigms that did not truly respect the power and potential of diversity. We need leadership among visibly diverse people, who demonstrably trust, build, and leverage collaborative effort. We particularly need strong leadership from the relatively newcomer professionals of color now joining APA’s diversity strategy and initiative circles. We need breakthrough strategies, vibrant energy, and decisive commitments (not committee member compliance) to establish diversity as integral to all that we stand for and do. Don’t sign on now to “hold” a committee seat, to comply, or to “run” things precisely your way. Diversity prompts us to aim for the best approaches, ideas, energies, and synergies –and these are apt to emerge from respectful, actively collaborative work. Leadership, then, is much more than a static noun. Leadership is an action “verb”: It sponsors profound, life-defining, life-affirming thought and movement throughout, on, and in the world. It champions, rallies, directs, advances, and inspires people to achieve extraordinary aspirations, accomplishments and life success. It serves sustainable success. Are you ready to lead? If so, then you’re ready to “serve” (not “run”) the success of our diversity initiatives. Leadership delivers its core purpose, influence, and power through the dynamic interplay of people, process, performance, and paradigm exchanges. Paradigms are deep cultural traditions, models, and master codes that orchestrate all life opportunities, challenges, and human choice. Core aspirations/values represent the essential leadership compass for high impact, paradigm and performance navigation. Do you hold diversity dear? Do you know, specifically, how diversity, led well, creates new perspectives and value for APA? Are you ready to challenge diversity dysfunctions and oversights within APA’s historical paradigms and approaches? Are you ready to establish diversity as integral, not optional, to all that we stand for and do? If so, you’re ready to lead and act from a clearly defined and “owned” value frame. You’re ready to put your core values into active play. You’re ready to give APA your vision, voice, and best ideas for victory.

Values – the priorities paradigms set or our own –drive and direct all action. We are all cultural fish and agents of choice –thriving, surviving, and thrashing about, swimming here or there –seldom appreciating both our personal power and just how wet we are. Leadership, then, requires comprehensive self- and paradigm-mastery. Leaders need to know, grow, think and act deeply, plunging beneath the surface of things –the better to define what is right, to do it, and to move us adaptively and sustainably to places we would not otherwise go.
Sign on to APA’s diversity initiatives, if the idea of plunging beneath the surface of things, leading change from your core, partnering with highly diverse colleagues, and developing personal perspective/mastery lights your fire. Of course, you’ll share your cultural roots and stories, as you jointly craft strategy. Of course, you’ll regularly debate priorities and tactics with partners who won’t always see eye to eye with you. We’re promoting active, not spectator, collaboration.

Leadership develops our self- and systems-capacities for in-paradigm and paradigm shifting success. To “win”, leaders anticipate and address challenges forthrightly. They model and create highest value thinking and impact. Leaders don’t “run” things and “run” alone: They promote collective vision, voice, and victory.

Vision, Voice, Victory

Vision: You see something that just won’t fade to distant background or release its grip on your heart, mind, and imagination. It’s part dream or aspiration. It’s part genuine awareness and concern: You know something’s got to change –that there’re real and symbolic disparities, neglects, inactions, gaps, or needs that deserve priority attention. Something isn’t set up right to work right. You know it, and it registers loud and clear for every personal and professional value you hold dear. It may be “reality” for now, but you’re ready to put your own values into play, to make a high impact difference.

Voice: You sense and see something shifting for the better in your organization and/or the communities within which it resides. And the shift your see probably can’t be accomplished by you alone. You’re ready to create and speak about the right direction, but you know it’ll take strong partnership synergies to drive real momentum and change. You sense the path. You feel the possibility. You see people coming into view as potential partners. You expect to, not only gain ground, but to change “reality” for the better –to win.

So, you step up and speak up, because you think differently than most and hold yourself in high, positive regard. You trust your intelligence, diagnostics, and intuition. You’d rather risk being wrong trying to deliver high impact and value than abdicate your responsibility on your watch to address some gaps or absorb the choices of those who, arguing for the status quo, don’t really see and feel what you do. Your self-portrait says “Difference Maker”. You will be heard.

Victory: In fair weather or foul, leadership is mostly about positioning people to succeed –together. Partners win. Victory is true value –delivered and sustained. Vision, voice, and victory proceed hand in hand. Leaders design vision, direction, and strategy. Their “trumpet” or voice must strike a clear and responsive audience chord. Voice must rally highly diverse people to great effort amidst all manner of noise, dissension, and fog. High diversity. Yet, one message, one sound. Leaders challenge themselves to adapt intelligently, improve rapidly, and innovate. Rather than dominate or control dialogue, leaders embrace diverse, voice exchange. They lead voice harmonizing rather than tolerate sub-optimal silence, covert whisperings, exclusions, or collusion. The choir advances the cause and needs continuous voice –the leaders and its own.

Leadership victory mostly rests on the collaborative creation of impact and value. This means leaders must be decisively clear, solutions-focused, partnership-proficient, and attuned to genuine value sustainability. It is not enough to attend and sit through meetings, rallying people to produce only traditional, short-term, ceremonial gains. It is not enough to score recognition, resume, and achievement points at the expense of long-term community, organizational, personal health.

Leaders transform paradigms. They honor people. They challenge collusion and non-substantive exclusions. They promote constructive processes. They champion distinctive performance. Leadership vision, voice, and victory, then, reflect and bolster partnership synergies, community and/or organizational collaboration, highest value achievement, and the continual will to win. We hope you’re ready to lead.

Author: Tom Gordon, a licensed psychologist, is a leadership and organizational development consultant. He directs TAGA Consulting –a leadership solutions, change strategy, and performance navigation firm with Fortune 500 and civic clients nationwide. {See:}

Highlighting for your STPA the Impact of Legislative Issues on Communities of Color

By Y. Evie Garcia, PhD, Past President Arizona Psychological Association

So, you are the new diversity leader in your STPA and you want to advocate for issues that affect people of color in your state? Here are some simple steps to start you on the path to making a difference on behalf of ethnic minority psychologists, researchers, students, and consumers of mental health services in your state-wide community.

  • Familiarize yourself with your STPA’s legislative goals and activities

    • -Contact your SPTA’s Legislative Affairs Committee Chair, introduce yourself, ask for a brief update regarding current legislative issues, and ask when the next meeting is 

    • -Make sure you (or a designee from your committee) attend Legislative Affairs Committee meetings

  • Build an easily accessible resource file that provides statistics in your state regarding issues that impact people of color 

  • Highlight for your STPA how people of color are or potentially may be affected by proposed legislation

    • -This is usually not spelled out anywhere

    • -Your role is to generate this information by putting together steps 1 and 2 above (your understanding of legislative issues pertinent to psychology and statistics specific to people of color in your state) 

    • -You are giving voice to the perspective of underrepresented groups at committee meetings, on websites, in articles, and in your STPA’s communications with state legislators

It Also Helps To
  • Understand issues at the forefront of your state legislature 

    • -You can do this by being informed of your SPTA’s legislative work. Most Legislative Affairs Committees monitor all the bills that pass through the state house and senate, often with the help of a lobbyist to identify bills most pertinent to psychology

  • Other resources include:

  • Develop an understanding of the legislative process

  • When is your legislature in session? 

    • -Most state legislative sessions begin in January but some begin in December or as late as March 

  • Legislative calendars for all states can by found at:

    • -Remember that the legislative process is, above all, a political process. As such, movement through committees and through the house and senate as a whole can sometimes be erratic. For example, bills that impact psychology may suddenly appear seemingly out of nowhere in a matter of hours due to behind-the-scenes word-crafting, persuasion, and deal- making of legislators, lobbyists, stakeholders (legislative-speak for any group with a stake in the matter that could help or hinder the bill’s progress) and special interest groups like psychologists and others. 

    • -That means that your expertise regarding a particular bill’s impact on constituents of color may be sought suddenly and urgently

State legislators care about
  • Constituents in their own districts—especially those who vote 

  • Favorite projects and causes—usually based on their values and discoverable via profiles in legislative brochures disseminated by state government or on legislators’ websites 

  • Statistics regarding people of color that can be linked to either i or ii above are most effective 

  •  A moving account of how a person of color in the legislator’s district has been helped or harmed by proposed legislation is a helpful addition to statistical evidence, helps drive the point home, and is often the only thing you say that will be remembered following a brief meeting (one of possibly 20 or more that day for the legislator) 

  •  As a voting constituent in your district, you may be especially helpful to your Legislative Affairs Committee when your district legislator is in a position to promote or quash a bill 

  • -When called upon by your STPA or by APA to participate in an Action Alert, take a few minutes to respond—it’s easier than you may think— and then encourage others to do so

  • Get training 

    • -Attend SLC and make it a point to go to the Hill training. Go to Capital Hill and visit your state legislators with other SPTA representatives 

    • -Attend training offered by your SPTA 

    • -Read up on strategies 

Try these resources

The Federal Advocacy Network was created to facilitate the involvement of psychologists around the country in legislative advocacy for the profession. Since its inception, the network has been instrumental in the fight to reshape prevailing political attitudes towards the profession of psychology.

Periodically, the Government Relations department will send you fax and e-mail “Action Alerts,” which you inform you of impending action on legislation and what actions psychologists should take to convince their legislators to take a pro-psychology position. Action Alerts contain all the information you and members of your grassroots network will need in contacting the legislators: the issue, the impending legislative action, how psychologists need to respond, and a generic message about the issue which you can use in communicating with your legislators.

As Coordinator, you are in the position to disseminate this information to the psychologists and graduate students in your network. The mechanisms and strategies by which you communicate such information will ultimately determine how effectively you can mobilize members of your network.

Please keep the following points in mind when organizing your state or division network: Develop a key contacts list. Key contacts are people who have some connection with a Member of Congress that most constituents do not have. A key contact might be a friend of the elected official, or have been active in their campaigns, or hold a position as a community leader. Developing a key contact list will assist you in getting the APA message to target Members of Congress, and will help gather information on that member’s position on a key bill. Talk with your field staff about ways to build your key contact list.

Ten letters move mountains! Despite the volume of total letters that go into Congressional offices, relatively few constituent communications are received on most legislative issues. As few as ten letters or calls from psychologists on a specific issue can grab the attention of a Congressional staff and make the voices of psychologists heard in the debate.

Know the 50% rule. When people volunteer for a project, a good organizer will recognize that at least 50% of those people will not show. This has definitely been true of the Federal Advocacy Network, where calls for action will usually generate activity from far fewer than 50% of the people on your lists. Keep this in mind when you have a goal of producing 10 calls or letters to a targeted elected official.
Email lists are your friend: Whether it is your own email list of psychologists or your state association listserv, email is a great way to disseminate information quickly and easily. When using email to organize, keep the following points in mind: Stay on message – The Government Relations department will supply you with an update and message that you can cut and paste into your own email. However, if you are using language from an APA action alert, be sure to check with the field team to see if some information on strategy is for FAC’s only.

Avoid overuse – Constant calls for action will reap diminished returns. Reserve calls for action to key moments in the legislative process.  Short and simple – Keep your messages simple and to the point. Avoid burying your call for action at the bottom of your message.

Personalize your message – Mention that this is a state or member-specific message right in your title and in your message. People are more likely to take action if they feel that Attachments and links – One of the best things about using email is the ability to attach information and to link to documents on the web. That way, people who want more information can look up a more detailed analysis, the specific language of a targeted bill, or a relevant news article with the click of a mouse. It also helps keep your messages brief and to the point.

Identify gaps in your network. A member of your state Congressional delegation may be on a key committee or appear on a target list for an important vote. What if there are only five people on your list for that district? What if you have no key contacts in that district?

Be sure to take a look at your list of members by district and your list of key contacts long before a pivotal vote and work to identify and minimize these holes. Remember, the call for grassroots action often comes with little warning, so plan ahead!

Tie in advocacy to other association activities. Conferences and workshops are golden opportunities to make face-to-face contact with members of your network, inform them of Federal legislative issues and ask them to take action. It is also a great time to identify prospective key contacts.

From your local city council to your Senators in Washington, meeting with your elected officials about issues affecting psychology is a lot easier than most people think.

Remember, your legislators work for you!

What is a lobby visit? A lobby visit is merely a meeting for you to tell your elected representative what you think about a certain issue or bill, and to try to get him or her to take action on that issue.

Where can you meet? It's not necessary to travel to Washington, DC - every Member of Congress also has one or more offices in their congressional district. Even though the Member is not in the local office(s) very much, there is a permanent staff member at each office with whom you can meet.

Requesting Your Meeting
  • Make your request in writing and follow up with a call to the Appointment Secretary/Scheduler. 

  • Suggest specific times and dates for your meeting. 

  • Let them know what issue and legislation (by bill number, if it has one) you wish to discuss. 

  • Make sure they know that you are a constituent.

Prepare for Your Meeting 
  • Call the APA Practice Organization for materials. We should have information to help you decide on your talking points, as well as materials that you can leave with your elected official. 

  • Decide who will attend the meeting. Bringing more than four or five people can be hard to manage. Keep it small, but bring people who have information or\ personal stories that will drive your point home. 

  • Agree on talking points. It's tough to make a strong case for your position when you are disagreeing in the meeting! If a point is causing tension in the group, leave it out. 

  • Plan out your meeting. People can get nervous in a meeting, and time is limited. Be sure that you lay out the meeting beforehand, including who will start the conversation. 

  • Decide what you want achieve. What is it you want your elected official to do - vote for or against the bill? Make a commitment to introduce or co-sponsor legislation? Asking your legislator or his or her staff member to do something specific will help you know how successful your visit has been!

During the Meeting 
  • Be prompt and patient. Elected officials run on very tight schedules. Be sure to show up on time for your appointment, and be patient - it is not uncommon for legislators to be late or to have your meeting interrupted by other business. 

  • Keep it short and focused! You will have twenty minutes or less with a staff person, and as little as ten minutes if you meet with your elected official. Make the most of that brief time by sticking to your topic. 

  • Bring up any personal, professional or political connections to the elected official that you may have. Start the meeting by introducing yourselves and thanking the legislator for any votes he or she has made in support of your issues and for taking the time to meet with you. 

  • Stick to your talking points! Stay on topic, and back them up with no more than five pages of materials that you can leave with your elected official.  

  • Provide personal and local examples of the impact of the legislation. This is the most important thing you can do in a lobby visit. 

  • Saying "I don't know" can be a smart political move. You need not be an expert on the topic you are discussing. If you don't know the answer to a question, it is fine to tell your legislator that you will get that information for him or her. This gives you the chance to put your strongest arguments into their files, and allows you to contact them again about the issue. Never make up an answer to a question - giving wrong or inaccurate information can seriously damage your credibility! 

  • Set deadlines for a response. Often, if an elected official hasn't taken a position on legislation, they will not commit to one in the middle of a meeting. If he or she has to think about it, or if you are meeting with a staff member, ask when you should check back in to find out what your legislator intends to do about your request. If you need to get information to your legislator, set a clear timeline for when this will happen. That way, you aren't left hanging indefinitely

After the Meeting
  • Right after the meeting, compare notes with everyone in your group to compare what the elected official committed to do and what follow up information you committed to send. 

  • Each person who took part in the meeting should promptly send a personal thank you letter to the Congress member. 

  • Follow up in a timely fashion with any requested materials and information. 

  • If the elected official or staff member doesn't meet the deadline for action you agreed to during the meeting, ask him or her to set another deadline. Be persistent and flexible! 

  • If you are meeting with a member of Congress, let the Government Relations Field team know what you learned during your meeting. Knowing what arguments your Congress member used, what issues are important to him or her, and what positions he or she took will help us make our national lobbying strategy more effective!

Remember that a personal meeting with your member of Congress is one of the best opportunities to demonstrate that there is a constituency for civil liberties in your district.

Good luck and have fun!

Writing a Letter to the Editor is Easier than you think!

Letters to the editor are great advocacy tools. After you write letters to your members of Congress, sending letters to the editor can achieve other advocacy goals because they: reach a large audience; are often monitored by elected officials; can bring up information not addressed in a news article; and create an impression of widespread support or opposition to an issue.

Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor

Keep it short and on one subject. Many newspapers have strict limits on the length of letters and have limited space to publish them. Keeping your letter brief will help assure that your important points are not cut out by the newspaper. Use the "Tips on Writing to Your Elected Officials" as a guide.

Make it legible. Your letter doesn't have to be fancy, but you should use a typewriter or computer word processor if your handwriting is difficult to read.

Send letters to weekly community newspapers too. The smaller the newspaper's circulation, the easier it is to get your letter printed. Be sure to include your contact information. Many newspapers will only print a letter to the editor after calling the author to verify his or her identity and address. Newspapers will not give out that information, and will usually only print your name and city should your letter be published. Make references to the newspaper. While some papers print general commentary, many will only print letters that refer to a specific article. Here are some examples of easy ways to refer to articles in your opening sentence:

  • I was disappointed to see that The Post's May 18 editorial "Patient’s Rights Bill Costs Jobs" omitted some of the key facts in the debate.

  • I  strongly agree with (author's name) views on mental health parity. ("Name of Op-Ed," date) As a psychologist…. 

  • I am deeply saddened to read that Congressman Doe opposes legislation that would require health plans to have real legal accountability to their subscribers. ("Title of Article," date)

Letters and faxes are an extremely effective way of communicating with your elected officials. Many legislators believe that a letter represents not only the position of the writer but also many other constituents who did not take the time to write. These tips will help increase the effectiveness of your letter:

Keep it brief: Letters should never be longer than one page, and should be limited to one issue. Legislative aides read many letters on many issues in a day, so your letter should be as concise as possible.

State Who You Are and What You Want Upfront: In the first paragraph, tell your legislators that you are a constituent and a psychologist, and identify the issue about which you are writing. If your letters pertains to a specific piece of legislation, it helps to identify it by its bill number (e.g. H.R. __ or S. __).

Hit your three most important points: Choose the three strongest points that will be most effective in persuading legislators to support your position and flesh them out. The Government Relations office can help.

Personalize your letter: Tell your elected official why this legislation matters in her community or state. If you have one, include a personal story that shows how this issue affects you or your clients. A constituent's personal stories can be very persuasive as your legislator shapes her position.

Personalize your relationship: Have you ever voted for this elected official? Have you ever contributed time or money to his or her campaign? Are you familiar with her through any business or personal relationship? If so, tell your elected official or his staff person. The closer your legislator feels to you, the more powerful your argument is likely to be.

You are the Expert: You do not need to understand the nuances of the political process to speak forcefully on mental health issues. Your training, your experience with clients, and your knowledge of mental health issues in your community made you an invaluable voice in mental health advocacy.

  • Manage burnout—Have numerous members on the committee so that the responsibilities can be shared. 

  • Set reachable goals. Start small and expand the goals as the initiative succeeds. 

  • Make sure there is support from the Executive Director and key members of the Executive Committee. 

  • Stay in constant communication with the Board of Directors so that there can be shared goals and tasks.

Define successes and acknowledge accomplishments.

  • Conduct annual follow-up surveys to assess membership satisfaction and perception of change. 

  • When setting goals include clear dependent measures, whereby change can be assessed. 

  • The committee should provide an annual report to the state, provincial, or territorial association’s Board of Directors regarding the success of the initiative as well as other areas in need of improvement.

Connecticut: 2003 Recipient

The composition of Connecticut Ethnic Diversity Task Force (CEDTF) includes 25 members that represent various professional and community roles: Researchers, Clinicians, University Directors of Multicultural Offices, Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Psychology Undergraduate and Graduate Students in Connecticut.

Mission Statement: A group of ethnically and racially diverse professionals and students who promote culturally competent services and mental health.

Key Goals
  • To provide support and link psychologists of color with one another and with other psychologists, professionals, and professional groups

  • To provide support to students of color who are interested in mental health and link them with psychologists and other professionals 

  • To advocate for culturally competent mental health services 

  • To promote mental health in communities of color 

  • To increase the recruitment, retention, mentoring, and participation of ethnic minorities within the state psychological association

Accomplishments in 2003
  1. Held the first Cultural Competency Retreat - winter 2003*

  2. Presentations by the Chair and CEDTF Members at the Multicultural Conference and APA Convention*

  3. Created CPA website listing of CEDTF members*

  4. Mentoring Listserv® developed by the Mentoring Subcommittee chair and members to maintain and facilitate communication between mentors and students needing mentoring from statewide colleges, universities and internship sites*

  5. Served as CPA referral source for CPA members and the community on cultural competency/diversity*

  6. Recruited five new CEDTF members that include grad students and Director of Multicultural Affairs

  7. Held Mentoring and Networking Social at a restaurant for psychologists and students - spring 2003

  8. First Diversity Representative on CPA Board completed first year term with second to follow in 2004*

  9. Awarded the first APA Division 31 SPPA Diversity Award at the APA Convention Toronto*

  10. Co-sponsor first Women of Color Depression Screening Day & Training with Aids Interfaith and Hair’s Kay Salon that gained media coverage as innovative community health fair-fall 2003*

  11. Second Annual Psychologists and Students of Color Network Social with presentation “Coping & Resiliency in the Wake of Terrorism: Community Interventions with People of Color” was held at and co-sponsored by Fairfield University that represents a newly formed partnership - fall 2003 

  12. Student of Color elected Student Representative on the CPA Board starting 2004 

  13. Awarded 20 scholarships to psychology students of color from all four major universities in the state this year compared to 13 awarded last year. 

  14. Increase in student membership at CPA due to diversity initiative

  15. Established Diversity Scholarship Fund through the newly formed CPA Educational Foundation to advance diversity through recruitment, retention and mentoring

  16. Highlighted student poster session at CPA Annual Convention to enhance mentoring - fall 2003*

  17. Two Diversity Awards given at CPA Convention to Asian Family Services and Director of Multicultural Office Quinnipiac University and CEDTF member, Virginia Hughes- fall 2003

  18. Recruited both psychologists and students of color to be presenters at the CPA Convention- fall 2003

  19. Cultural Competency/Diversity track developed at Annual CPA Convention – fall 2003

  20. President-Elect of CPA is first African-American female and Chair of CEDTF as a result of APA Diversity Initiative and CEDTF*

*New development/initiative

Currently, we have three persons of color who hold positions on the Connecticut Psychological Association’s Board:

President Elect – Jan Owens Lane, PhD
Diversity Chair – Gretchen Chase Vaughn, PhD
Student Representative – Candice Norcott

Plans for 2004
  • Establish an infrastructure for funding increased additional diversity initiatives through CPA foundation. 

  •  Plans for a resource directory of psychologists of color that will be available to CPA members and the communities in Connecticut 

  • Plans to increase community activities where psychologists of color provide mental health information to communities of color 

  •  Plans to continue mentoring activities with students of color and expand these efforts to include undergraduate and high school students 

  •  Plans to re-establish the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Task Force within the Connecticut Psychological Association

Ohio: 2004 Recipient

OPA has consistently focused on the issue of diversity over the past few years, and this year in particular has been marked by much change in growth in the area of diversity. To begin, OPA has continued to allocate several of its retreat and Board meetings to the issue of diversity. We have utilized the skills and talents of colleagues in Ohio by inviting them to facilitate training for our staff in the area of multiculturalism.
We successfully completed the administration of our cultural assessment and I have enclosed a truncated version of the findings for your review. (Please see below).

The method of sampling involved the distribution of a 10-item survey to all active members of the Ohio Psychological Association. The racial composition of the respondents was 72.5% Caucasian, while the remaining 27.5% were African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, American Indian/Eskimo, Multi-racial, Appalachian, or Asian/Asian American. For the purposes of this investigation, due to the limited number of respondents in each of the racial/ethnic categories, the groups were lumped together and two separate categories were identified: Caucasian and Non-Caucasian.

Two significant differences were found between whites and non-whites regarding OPA’s training and leadership opportunities. Whites were more likely to agree that OPA offers useful training opportunities for therapists to increase their level of cultural competence (x = 5.62), in comparison to non-whites (x = 4.87, t = 3.284, p < 0.05). In addition, whites were more likely to agree with the statement that OPA’s leadership reflects the diversity found within Ohio (x = 4.90), whereas non-whites were less likely to be in agreement with this statement (x = 4.38, t = 2.049, p > 0.05). Although the following two items failed to show statistical significance between groups, the data more specifically reveals a trend in the following areas: whites are more likely to agree with the statement for the most past, that OPA celebrates and affirms the diversity of all persons (x = 6.06), whereas non-whites are more likely to agree with the statement somewhat (x = 5.60, t = 1.91, p = 0.060). Secondly, whites may be more likely to view OPA as being committed to working to achieve social justice for all persons (x = 5.90), whereas non-whites are less likely to agree with the statement somewhat (x = 5.48, t = 1.802, p = 0.073).

The findings of this very limited survey are encouraging. Our primary goal was to gather more objective data from our membership regarding its perception of OPA’s commitment to issues of diversity. The results indicate that there are a significant number of members of color who feel that OPA has not been overly attentive to their needs in terms of providing training opportunities that will increase their level of comfort with cultural context or providing trainings that will foster the development of effective intervention strategies in working with culturally diverse clients. OPA’s heightened awareness of this concern led us to not only request that all presenters mindfully integrate issues of multiculturalism into their presentations in general, but to also identify those professionals in the community who can provide culturally specific trainings at this year’s convention, in particular.

This year, our convention offerings cover a wide range of topics in the area of multiculturalism. OPA is committed to making trainings applicable to all of its members – and especially affirm the needs of its members of color.

For many years, the OPA Board has suspected that non-white members were less inclined to support the perception that OPA’s leadership accurately reflects the diversity found in Ohio, which is indeed supported by the findings of this research In response to the data obtained, we as a Board have engaged in a number of activities to resolve the discrepancies. We have more recently sent a letter to all of our members of color to engage them in an informal brunch, where they will have an opportunity to meet with Board members in their area. Our hope is to build relationships and to encourage member involvement with OPA on all levels. This has been a tremendous success, so far I, along with several of OPA’s Board members, have traveled all of the State of Ohio, meeting with psychologists of color whether they are members of OPA or not. We held brunches in Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, and Cleveland.

Our last brunch will be held in Dayton within a few months. Granted, this form of outreach is not new, but our goal was to create an environment which was comfortable and one which allowed us to provide information as well as to answer any questions fellow or potential members may have regarding our organization. As a result, we successfully recruited several new members to the Diversity, Advocacy, and Education committees

The Diversity Committee along with student members of OPAGS are in the process of developing a home study course focused on the APA Multicultural Guidelines for our membership. If people are in need of CEUs in Ethics and they successfully complete this course, they will earn 3 CEU credits towards licensure.

The Diversity Committee is also in the process of preparing a proposal for consideration of funding for a community-based project that will focus on educating both Latina and African American women about culturally influenced forms of violence in their lives. Our hope is that by doing so, we can decrease the morbidity and mortality in the lives of these women of color.

Kentucky: 2005

KPA has made a concerted effort over the years to broaden its ties to all constituents of the psychological community, which has included the promotion of ethnic diversity within the Association and enhancing the knowledge base and skills of its members to work with culturally diverse populations. The appointment of Dr. Aponte as the SLC Diversity Delegate in 2001 has helped the Association move in the direction of achieving several of is goals. Since 2001 the following has been accomplished:

  • Creation of the KPA Cultural Diversity Committee. Dr. Aponte, as Chair of this committee attends KPA Board Meetings. 

  • Incorporation of culturally diverse content and training experiences into KPA’s annual convention. Since 2001 each convention has had a keynote speaker and workshop on a cultural diversity topic. 

  • Regularly publishing an article on cultural diversity in KPA’s newsletter, The Kentucky Psychologist. 

  • Development of a diversity link on KPA’s web page. The link has cultural diversity articles, reading lists, and listing of conferences and meetings. 

  • Establishment of a working relationship between KPA and the Kentucky Association of Black Psychologists. 

  • Enhancement of the KPA Board’s sensitivity to cultural diversity issues. The 2003 KPA Board Retreat focused on cultural diversity, with Dr. Daniel Sanders serving as the retreat leader.

KPA plans to maintain the above efforts and move in the direction of implementing the long-term plan of increasing the number of ethnic minority psychologists in the Association and number of ethnic minority students who are pursuing advanced degrees in psychology. These efforts would be greatly enhance by continuing to draw on Dr. Aponte’s considerable expertise in the areas of recruitment, retention, and training relevant to cultural diversity, as well as his standing within both the clinical and academic communities. To achieve this goal the Association is proposing the following:

Continue working with the Psychology Department Chairs throughout the State on the recruitment and retention of ethnic minority faculty and students. Previous contact with Chairs has led to the conclusion that individual contact with the Chairs is needed.

Continue working with the APAGS Representative, who is a member of the KPA Cultural Diversity Committee, on the recruitment of ethnic minority graduate students and networking with students across the State. Continue recruiting ethnic minority psychologists through individual contacts with professionals in the community.

Continue to strengthen the working relationship with the Kentucky Association of Black Psychologists. The Chair of the KPA Cultural Diversity Committee meets regularly with the President of this group.

Continue offering content and training experiences at the annual KPA Convention that have cultural diversity relevance. The KPA 2004 Convention, which is being organized by Dr. Aponte , will have a cultural diversity theme. Dr. Norman Anderson will be one of key presenters at the meeting.

Hawaii: 2006

Convention Presentations and Workshop:

The Hawaii Psychological Association is committed to sponsoring continuing education workshops to enhance multi-cultural competencies and awareness. There was a Diversity Track for presentations at the HPA Annual Convention in October 2003 that was very well received. Presentations at the convention covered “A Hawaiian Cultural Recovery Based Program”, “Multi-cultural Skills Training”, “ “Invisible” Diverse Populations in Hawaii”, “Cop Care in Hawaii: Law Enforcement Needs in a Multi- Cultural Setting” to name but a few.

A Diversity Track for HPA Annual Conventions has become a permanent attraction. At this juncture it would be appropriate to mention that a discussion of diversity related issues is a necessary component of all Continuing Education offerings sponsored by the HPA.

The 2004 HPA Annual Convention featured a workshop offered by a cross-cultural psychologist, Dr Anthony Marsella. He presented an informative and entertaining workshop on “Cultural Aspects of Substance Abuse and Alcoholism”. Another workshop at the same convention addressed the issues of “Psychology in Rural Hawaii beyond Borders Yet Closer to Home”. Participants shared thoughts on providing quality healthcare to high-risk, underserved Native Hawaiian and rural populations.  Yet another workshop discussed “Multicultural Guidelines for Competent Professional Service: Breaking from the Mold”.

As a free standing half-day workshop, Sydney Ann Brown of the Blackfeet Indian Tribe offered an extraordinary experience to members of HPA on May 1, 2004 entitled “ The Native Self-Actualization Model”. It encompassed a wealth of information content as well as expanding cross-cultural awareness in experiential ways.

ABC of Diversity Program:

The creative program of Diversity related activities entitled "ABC of Diversity", that was launched in 2003 by Dr. Karuna Joshi-Peters, has been successful and has yielded an ongoing Honolulu, D.C. (Honolulu Diversity Club), a loosely affiliated Diversity Club that sponsors a variety of activities, reading groups, art film discussion groups, much like the ABC of Diversity, but with a broader base of participation.

A brief summary of the idea and the content of the “ABC of Diversity” might be helpful at this point. To quote: “The concept of diversity needs no introduction or persuasion in the state of Hawaii. We are diverse, and well versed at it. Still, we can do more. Experience it more and express it more. Playfully, not pedantically. Back to basics! Thus the idea of the “ABC of Diversity” was born.” And thus the Honolulu D.C. also thrives. On Aloha Friday the 25th of April the "ABC of Diversity" activities were launched with "A is for Aloha". The previous application covered the letter from A to E. In this application we report summarily on our journey through the rest of the alphabet. The activities have been diverse in range and content. Academic presentations alongside music, dance and crafts have all been part of the series. "F is for Faith", "G is for God", "H is for Hope" and "I is for Islam".  Dr. Saleem Ahmed author of "Islam: Beyond Veil and War" spoke about the uniqueness and universality of Islam in the context of Faith, God and Hope.  “J is for Joy”, “K is for Kanikapila” (Hawaiian phrase meaning “Let us make music”), “L is for Lei” and “M is for Music” was a joyful event with local food, music and dancing.

“N, O and P” were represented by New and Old Psychologists, many meanings of the word “old” were intended, not just the chronological sense, in a gathering aimed at introducing and re-introducing HPA members to each other and with the goal of increasing the diversity of membership. “Old Psychologists” were asked to bring a “New Psychologist” to the event.

“Q is for Quilting” celebrated the art of American Patchwork Quilting. A Baby Quilt was designed at this meeting of happy quilters to welcome the new expected addition to the family of a Hawaii Psychologist. It is expected that the quilt will be sent to their baby girl in China as a gift from her parents ahead of their proposed trip to bring her home.

On May 1, 2004, Sydney Ann Brown of the Blackfeet Indian Tribe presented a workshop on the “Native Self-Actualization Model”. This covered “Rewards, Resilience and Reflection” as well as “Self-actualization and Serenity” adding richly to our already diverse series.

Last but not the least, the hardest part of the series was approached. On Armed Forces Day we talked about the harsh realities of Terrorists and Terrorism, Uniformity and Uniforms, Voices and Violence, War and Wisdom and Xenocide. There were no featured speakers. Y stood for You. Each one of You. All of us were the speakers and the listeners.

The last event of the Series, “Z is for Zestful Zoris at the Zoo” was actually the most appreciated event of the series. On July 2, 2004, a Full Moon night, a group of psychologists and community member went on a Twilight Tour of the Honolulu Zoo (after the Zoo was closed to the general public), with a Zoo Volunteer guide who explained the habits of nocturnal creatures and led us through parts of the Zoo not usually seen by visitors. Since this was very well received, it was suggested that we continue the varied activities even though from an academic perspective we had arrived at the last letter and hence the end.

HPA Board/Organizational:

A Diversity Task Force was reestablished in February 2004. It was decided that the Task Force would usually consist of the current Diversity Delegate, President, President Elect and Secretary of HPA. The President can appoint additional members as needed. The Task Force is presently working on a Diversity Mission Statement for HPA. The Board of HPA is considering adding a Diversity position with full Voting privileges. The current Diversity Delegate made a strong case to the President and the Board at the last Board meeting.

There have been several membership wide meetings to consider the development of a written Diversity Mission/Vision Statement that sets out Goals regarding Diversity for the Hawaii Psychological Association. Some writing and re-writing of policy statement has already taken place using Division 45 bylaws and APA’s “Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice and Organizational Change for Psychologists”.


The Hawaii Mental Health Association and the local chapter of NAMI are always invited to our ongoing Diversity activities. The response from these agencies and their members about participation in our activities has been positive. There is a long history of cooperation between HPA and the local mental health related agencies, which helps the achievement of the goal of community involvement.

Increasing Membership/Diversity:

Efforts to recruit new members into the association and to increase the diversity of association membership, including students, are ongoing in HPA. The representation of diverse groups in the Leadership of the Association increased this year, and includes our voting Student Representative.

One of our goals is to dovetail the cultural diversity initiative with the HPA mentoring program, which matches psychologist mentors working in applied settings with students in graduate programs of psychology. The mentoring program that specifically solicited psychologists of various ethnic backgrounds as mentors to our student mentees was launched in 2002 and has been extremely successful.

Minnesota: 2007

The Minnesota Psychological Association has made numerous strides within the last five years in bolstering our efforts to enhance diversity within our State Psychological Association.

Our initiative began in 2002 with an elaborate strategic plan voted on by our MPA Governing Council. Our strategic plan included key areas of focus addressing organizational infrastructure and institutional barriers to access, recruitment and retention of ethnic minority psychologists and students.

Although the Minnesota Psychological Association is primarily comprised of psychologists of European descent, our commitment to diversity is a core value of our organization. While this value was first evidenced by our diversity plan, it is best exemplified by the diversity statement tag line which is on all of MPA newsletters. The tag line states that MPA is an organization dedicated to: “Promoting diversity and multicultural competencies among Minnesota Psychologists.”

MPA’s efforts to honor the vision and spirit of this commitment can be seen in a variety of initiatives successfully implemented over the course of the last five years.

Sponsoring C.E. workshops to enhance multi-cultural competencies awareness Over the last year MPA hosted three major conferences that included national speakers who addressed race, ethnicity and culture. Our Annual Convention last year was on the topic: The Psychology of Wellness: Health Promotion Across Diverse Communities and featured the expertise of national leaders such as Drs. Lula Beatty (National Institute on Drug Abuse- Multicultural Office), who spoke on culture and substance abuse, and Dr. James O. Prochaska, who spoke on The Psychology of Wellness and Stages of Change.

A second President’s Conference, was entitled: The Psychology of Cultural Competence - Focusing on Aversive Racism, Power and Social Justice: A Conference for Ethnic Minority Groups and White Majority Allies, featuring nationally renowned researcher, Dr. Jack Dovidio. The program featured Dr. Dovidio as well as three panels of community experts representing areas such as education, health, mental health, social services, human resources/employment and criminal justice/law enforcement who shared their perspectives on aversive racism and its applications to Minnesotans. In the fall of last year, and again this year, MPA hosted a conference on “Eastern Wisdom” to address alternative forms of healing and innovative techniques inclusive of cultural paradigms.

In the Spring of 2007, we hosted a Distinguished Lecturer program featuring Dr. Patricia Devine, who focused on Understanding the nature of Implicit and Explicit Prejudices.

We also worked with the Board of Psychology to host (within the last two years) free continuing education programs addressing issues of diversity. The first program was in 2005, and was entitled “The Changing face of Psychology” and brought free CEs to all licensed psychologists throughout the state who wished to attend. The second program looked at the “Psychology of Poverty,” and explored social class and practice biases.  MPA members were active partners in offering these programs state-wide.

While all of these accomplishments are noteworthy, MPA is most proud of the fact that all of our continuing education events require speakers to include elements of diversity in their presentations and proposals. Further, all program evaluations have items that specifically ask the audience to rate how well the presenter did in terms of including diversity in their presentations.

Planning community forums to address issues of diversity.

MPA has been an active member in addressing key issues facing psychology. Within the past two years, we have continued our tradition of addressing issues of  through our programming and involvement in community events.

For example, in June 2006, MPA hosted its inaugural State Leadership Summit, which was co-hosted by members from diverse professional groups including the Minnesota Association of Black Psychologists and the Minnesota Association of Black Social Workers. This event not only included diversity in terms of ethnic groups, but also professions and was co-hosted by the State Association of Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as well as our State Association for Licensed Social Workers. The event featured Dr. Russ Newman, APA Practice Directorate, who talked about APA models of collaboration to promote common issues across professions. The purpose of the Summit was to create an opportunity to promote a multicultural legislative agenda with which many groups, could agree.
Issues such as insurance reimbursement, managed care panel credential processes, and caring for poor and/or underserved groups were key issues addressed.

Another program initiative that has arisen from these efforts includes a newly developed quarterly program during which psychologists began to discuss issues that may be hard to manage. The series, instituted by the MPA Diversity Committee is entitled: Difficult Dialogues and Courageous Conversations, and involves an informal gathering of psychologists over an “ethnic potluck” meal to discuss diversity and racism issues. The series centered around the viewing of videos such as the movie, Crash, or professional videos such as those developed through Microtraining Associates from the National Multicultural Conference and Summit. If the high interest and enthusiasm generated around this event continues, it promises to become a mainstay of our psychological association.

Recruiting new members into the Association and increasing the diversity of the Association's membership, to include students and early career psychologists.

MPA has made a concerted effort over the last year to raise the level of inclusion and recognition of diverse members, students and early career psychologists. In addition to providing annual awards for student papers and research, we also hosted Friday Festivals honoring Early Career Psychologists and Students. We also hosted Festivals honoring MPA Elders, Providers of African Descent and Asian Descent. Other groups to be honored this year include Native American Psychologists and Latinos.

During the Festival members of these groups were honored for their potential and actual contributions to the Psychological Association and to the field of psychology.  Additionally, MPA provides free admission for new licensees to attend our Annual Convention for one day. Student members of the Diversity Committee pass out flyers about the MPA Diversity initiatives and invite licensees to join our tables and our Division meetings. During their visit, welcome packets are prepared for them including gifts such as Yalom’s book on group therapy. They are also given special badges that allow everyone at the conference to recognize and engage them. At the conference, a professional affirmation ceremony is performed during which the new licensees are asked to stand in front of the group. It is not uncommon for several of them to join MPA that very day!

Increasing representation of diverse groups in the Association's leadership The research on increasing representation of Diverse groups in an Association consistently shows that personal invitation and developmental leadership opportunities produce great outcomes. There is no better example than Dr. BraVada Garrett- Akinsanya. Dr. Garrett-Akinsanya was invited to join MPA as a Diversity Delegate in 2001. Before that time, she was a member, but was not active in the association.

Thereafter, Dr. Garrett-Akinsanya, lead MPA into the development of the MPA Diversity Task Force from which the strategic plan was developed. Key mentors, Sy Gross, Mary Howard, Kathy Horowski, Judy Stellar supported BraVada in her early development as a psychologist with MPA. By 2006, BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya became the first African American to serve as President of the Minnesota Psychological Association. By that time, the MPA Council had such commitment to diversity that the Council changed the status of Diversity Task Force to that of a standing Committee, with an annual line item on the budget of $7500.00 to support its programming. The legacy of leadership development continues with Drs. Tom Carrillo, Beryl Wingate and students such as LeMonte Graham, Kalena Peterson, and Zach White who in their own unique ways continue to recruit other friends and colleagues by engaging in the legacy of giving small jobs, warmly inviting others and creating a spirit of inclusion.

In addition to students and early career leadership and mentoring, MPA’s Chief Professional, Willie Garrett, was a person of color, who became the “face” of Minnesota Psychology. Through his outreach efforts to have MPA members visit high school career days, participate on panel discussions and co-host legislative visits with the Minnesota Association of Black Psychologists, MPA became a stronger leader of diversity in our communities.

Likewise, Dr. Tom Carrillo, Dr. Yvonne Fernandez Nobles (both former Diversity Delegates to SLC), created a Latino Psychologist outreach program that includes students and professionals of Latin descent. They too, are given small tasks within the organization until they feel as if MPA is their professional home.

Finally, Council leadership includes two persons of color on our Executive committee. MPA’s Governing Council is now populated by four representatives from ethnic or sexual minority groups.

Other efforts to mentor students, ethnic professionals have included having a designated section for paying for their registrations to conferences and for membership. For example, during the 2005 and 2007, MPA partnered with the Minnesota Association of Black Psychologists to sponsor between 6 and 10 student and early career professionals to the APA National Multicultural Conference and Summit. The multicultural delegation returned to Minnesota and wrote articles for our newsletter and conducted presentations at the Association of Black Psychologists and Diversity Committee meetings.

Leadership in MPA also includes other infrastructural changes such as offering an online directory that allows the public and other clinicians to search for providers who specialize in serving special populations, or who hold language fluencies in Spanish, Hmong etc.

Educating members through newsletters and other publications on topics of diversity.

In September 2003, the Minnesota Psychologists, MPA’s Journal, began a series of articles addressing the various aspects of diversity that impact our roles as psychologists. Through an ongoing section entitled “Dimensions of Diversity,” the Minnesota Psychologist features discussions on topics ranging from practice issues, training, education, and research to organizational/systems change. The primary purpose of the section is to give readers an opportunity to explore and expand issues of diversity in a manner that is cogent and integrated with all that MPA members do. The introduction to the column reminds readers that MPA recognizes the challenges of psychologists; however, MPA takes pride in developing psychologists’ competencies as educators, trainers, researchers, consultants and practitioners and reminds them that we are dedicated to promoting diversity and increasing the multicultural competencies and effectiveness of Minnesota Psychologists. Articles have focused on topics such as ethnic identity, ethics, small communities and boundaries, practice and access issues, as well as personal discoveries members have experienced in their journeys to explore cultural differences.

As you can see, MPA has gone quite a way in developing new and innovative programs contributing to increased knowledge of issues of diversity. We have experienced a roller coaster of setbacks and accomplishments - all of which were encountered with passion, commitment, lots of laughter, tears and courage. We know that our journey has just begun…and we intend to enjoy the ride!

Thomas, R. (1999). Building a house for diversity. New York: Thomas and Associates, Inc. 

Trimble, J.E., Stevenson, M.R., & Worell, J.P. (2004). Toward an inclusive psychology: Infusing the introductory psychology textbook with diversity content.

Date created: 2009