Happy new year, Division 55 members!
After the many twists and turns that 2020 provided, 2021 has finally arrived. I, for one, hope that at least in some ways, this year will be less eventful than last. Nevertheless, I am very excited and honored to serve as your 2021 president!
First, I want to deeply thank Judi Steinman, PhD, for her stewardship of The Tablet over the past several years and Dave Shearer, PhD, ABMP, for agreeing to become its new editor. Although The Tablet has been on a hiatus, I can assure you that the division has not. You may have seen through other media some of the projects the Div. 55 Board of Directors has been working on, but let me offer a summary.
First, our petition to recognize clinical psychopharmacology as an APA specialty was approved by the APA Council of Representatives in August 2020 for an initial recognition period of 7 years. This was the culmination of a multi-year effort with many, many individuals involved who deserve our most sincere thanks.
With the recognition of clinical psychopharmacology as an APA specialty, the Div. 55 Board of Directors submitted an initial “brief proposal” to the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) to create a new ABPP specialty board. This proposal was approved out of committee and will now go to the ABPP Board of Trustees for a vote at their mid-year meeting in June 2021. Various members of the Board will be present at this meeting to represent the division and to give a presentation on the proposed ABPP specialty.
The Board also worked to update and modernize the division’s bylaws, which had not been amended since 2005, but were approved by the membership in March 2021. The changes include adding a member-at-large seat (making four total) to the Board of Directors, increasing the length of the student representative’s term from 1 year to 2 years, and allowing for electronic voting for future bylaw amendment ballots.
Further, the Board discussed for some time changing the name of the division. In 2020, a survey was administered via the Div. 55 Discuss listserv that asked about members’ thoughts about the current name, openness to changing the name, and potential options for a new name. After much discussion within our Board and with other related divisions, the Board voted in January 2021 to change the division’s name from “American Society for the Advancement of Pharmacotherapy” to “Society for Prescribing Psychology.” This name change is now effective after having gone through a 60-day commenting period before the APA Council of Representatives and approval by the Div. 55 membership via bylaws amendment vote.
I want to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly on these and other projects for our division and invite other members to become involved as well to help further our movement. I look forward to reporting to you again soon and wish you all a very safe, healthy, and happy year!
Derek C. Phillips, PsyD, MSCP, ABMP
2021 President, Div. 55 (Society for Prescribing Psychology)