State, Provincial and Territorial Psychological Associations updates cover a wide range of activities

State associations are busy with advocacy, education and more.

By Jennifer F. Kelly, PhD, ABPP


The Alabama Psychological Association (aPA) has been active on several fronts this year. Medicaid continues to be a major concern for both the citizens of the state as well as for clinical psychologists that serve them. aPA has members actively working with Medicaid on revising Chapter 34 that set outs regulations and defines the codes used in practice. This continues to be an ongoing task, and the relationship built between aPA and Medicaid officials has been productive. In addition, aPA has responded to several state legislative efforts that affect the care its citizens, access to services, education of its children and protection of the field. 


On Feb. 26-27, 2016, the Colorado Psychological Association partnered with six other local and national stakeholder organizations to present “Elevating the Conversation: Unlocking Suicidal Secrets.” Keynote speaker Shawn Christopher Shea, MD, shared a presentation on “New Thoughts on Old Problems in Suicide Prevention.” Experiential training was provided in the chronological assessment of suicide events (CASE) approach. Other organizing partners were Arapahoe/Douglas County Mental Health Network, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Judi’s House/JAG Institute, Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado, the Carson J Spencer Foundation and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


During fall 2015, Nancy McGarrah, PhD, hosted “An Evening with Dr. Nadine Kaslow: The Future of APA.” It was an opportunity for members to hear Kaslow’s reflections as a leader in APA. For the fourth consecutive year, the Georgia Psychological Association (GPA) has pursued passage of the psychological testing bill. The bill denotes an explicit definition of psychological testing to state law. Without this clarification, licensing boards will have difficulty restricting this practice to licensed psychologists, and this effort is vital to protect the public and guide the practices of mental health professionals. We obtained a legislative grant from the American Psychological Association Practice Organization to support this effort. GPA has instituted member recruitment and information sharing events at university training programs across the state. In upcoming months, GPA will hold its annual meeting and yearly ethnic minority affairs brunch, hosted by Jennifer Kelly, PhD. Most noteworthy, GPA won the 2016 APA Div. 31 SPTA Diversity Award. The GPA Diversity Directorate strongly values educating members, increasing self-reflection and building overall multicultural competency. Diversity Directorate programming includes book discussions, participating in multicultural community mental hair fairs, a global effort to help girls gain access to feminine hygiene and vital health knowledge, and the directorate has an upcoming “Days for Girls” service project.


The Indiana Psychological Association (IPA) had three major successes during the 2016 legislative session. They negotiated the medical review panel threshold for psychologists. They were able to add language that allows other health care providers, including psychologists, to be consulted in working with the Department of Education to develop curriculum protocols on concussions for the coaches and trainers education. Finally, they were able to amend language to make sure supervising nurses were only working within their scope of education and training, that addictions counselors were supervised by health service providers in psychology or physicians and clarified the language on the students who could get Medicaid reimbursement at the mental health centers. Nearly 70 new members were recruited throughout 2015, and 24 new members were recruited during the first three months of 2016. In March 2016, IPA launched a new website to include many features including a “Find a Psychologist” searchable directory of psychologist members.


The Iowa Psychological Association has hired a new training director to oversee its postdoctoral training project. Brenda Payne, PhD, will work directly with the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Psychological Foundation and two training sites. The training program, started in 2007, has put 20+ trainees through the program. The retention rate of these trainees staying in Iowa has been high, resulting in continued funding by the Iowa Department of Public Health. The Iowa legislature is in session through April. At their Feb. 23 legislative breakfast, IPA members lobbied for increased funding to enable more sites.