APA Council report

A summary report from the most recent February 2012 meeting, which included taskforce reports, the annual APA green report, and a discussion of recent amicus briefs.

By Susan D. Clayton, PhD

The winter meeting of the APA Council of Representatives took place in Washington, D.C. in late February, 2012. Several of the agenda items may be of interest to Division 34 members. First, progress continues on the Good Governance project, which is designed to improve the effective functioning of APA governance and make it more transparent to all APA members. Second, APA President Suzanne Bennett Johnson described her presidential initiatives; one of these relates to health and health disparities, and particularly to obesity. Division 34 members know how strongly environmental factors are tied to obesity, and I will work to ensure that the appropriate APA officials are aware of the relevant research.

The council voted to receive two taskforce reports: one on diversity and discrimination and one on immigration. Both are valuable sources of information that APA Council Report will be available on the APA website. The immigration report may be of particular interest to Division 34 members interested in population issues.

For all division members and particularly our graduate students, the council voted to approve a proposal for a new journal whose focus will be on short reviews of scientific research that discuss applications of the research. The journal is also designed to provide training for students by having them be the principal editors and reviewers of the papers, under the mentorship of more senior professionals, and by encouraging papers with students as authors or co-authors. Stay tuned for further information as the journal develops.

It’s always gratifying to get the “green” report, which APA issues annually. APA owns two buildings, and the organization strives to keep both the building design and the practices of their occupants as low in environmental impact as possible. The APA has purchased 100 percent of the energy used by these buildings from wind power, and in 2011 the building that APA bought most recently received LEED Gold certification. Let me know if you would like more specific details about APA efforts toward environmental sustainability.

Finally, I am reminded of one of the reasons for belonging to APA when I read about legal cases in which APA is involved. The APA has filed amicus curiae briefs in a number of cases, some in support of same-sex marriage and some of which present information about flaws in eyewitness testimony and the possibility of false confessions. In a case last December, the conviction of a man who had been convicted of murder because he had signed a confession, despite the fact that he had an IQ of 79 and DNA evidence had demonstrated his innocence, was overturned. Evidence from the APA brief was cited by the court in their decision.