Feature Article

President's report – A year of firsts

Spring message from President Knauss

By Linda K. Knauss, PhD

Linda KnaussThis is a year of firsts. It is the first year for the Practice Leadership Conference (PLC), formerly the State Leadership Conference. It is also the first year that the Div. 31 board meeting was held in conjunction with this meeting rather than in conjunction with the February council meeting. Hopefully the Div. 31 midwinter board meeting can continue to be held with the PLC so that more Div. 31 members can attend the conference.

The PLC focused on practice, politics and policy. Changes to the Affordable Care Act, including the possibility of its repeal, was the major issue that attendees addressed in their visits to Capitol Hill. The Div. 31 workshop was given by our President-Elect Lindsey R. Buckman, PsyD, and our APA Council Representative Peter Oppenheimer, PhD. They were joined by Alex M. Siegel, JD, PhD, from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, and Deborah Baker, JD, from the APA Office of Legal and Regulatory Affairs. They spoke about the growing deregulation movement. Many states are creating omnibus boards to oversee multiple professions. Although this reduces government bureaucracy and saves money, these boards put the public and the professionals they credential at risk by not being knowledgeable about the specific skills and ethical responsibilities of all of the professions they oversee. The workshop provided advocacy strategies to defend against omnibus board bills in state legislatures.

The Div. 31 Advocacy Committee, chaired by Linda Campbell, PhD, provided an ambitious set of goals for the coming year. These include collaboration with Peter Oppenheimer, PhD, on strategies to pass the apportionment bylaws amendment this fall, developing strategies to counter omnibus licensing bills, hosting webinars focused on the EPPP2, and collaborating with other divisions, SPTAs and CESPPA in the area of advocacy to identify and pursue shared goals.

The Diversity Committee, chaired by Adriana Ortega, PhD, ABPP, provided equally ambitious goals for this year. The committee will continue efforts to secure funding for the Diversity Leadership Training Institute offered biannually at the PLC; reach out to SPTAs to provide support to diversity committee chairs in each state, communicate with SPTAs about ways in which each organization is coping with the nation's political climate and states' legislation regarding LGBT rights, travel ban/immigration reform, consciousness legislation, etc., and post diversity initiatives on the website and Listserv.

The division also established a regulatory task force co-chaired by Lindsey Buckman, PsyD, and Peter Oppenheimer, PhD. The purpose of the task force would be to address issues related to the various regulatory and practice changes across the country such as inter-jurisdictional practice especially related to telepsychology and masters practice. The Div. 31 board also voted to change the Student and ECP Task Force to a committee as it has become an integral part of the division structure.

We are waiting for the final approval of the new Div. 31 ethics Listserv from the APA Office of General Counsel. This will provide the opportunity for SPTA ethics committee chairs to communicate about common issues and dilemmas as well as to prepare for the revision of the APA ethics code.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the APA Annual Convention in August in Washington, D.C. In the meantime, please visit the Div. 31 website for updated information, read our blogs, discuss concerns on the Listserv, and follow us on Twitter.