A transformational convention
BY DR. MELBA J. T. VASQUEZ • APA PRESIDENT
“This is not your grandpa’s APA convention,” one participant said about the
2011 APA Convention. More than 13,000 registered attendees experienced a
variety of new and different exhibits and events in Washington, D.C., this year.
This issue of the Monitor offers reports on just a fraction of the hundreds of
convention events held this year. Here are some of the interesting facts that
struck me about this year’s convention:
• The number of participants who took advantage of
unlimited continuing-education credits for one price increased
by 400 percent, and nearly 300 convention sessions were
designated as CE sessions this year.
• APA offered a number of half-day and full-day CE workshops
before and during the convention, including some APA presiden-
tial workshop series and several distinguished workshop series.
• A technology exhibit, sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and
Pearson, allowed experts 15-minute demonstrations and hands-
on opportunities with relevant topics for psychologists, such as
how digital tools can increase your services and productivity.
• APA also provided its own set of tech tools, including mobile
tools that allowed convention-goers to track their schedules and
a social networking tool that connected participants with like-
• We unveiled a new Science Showcase and award, and
presented findings through a combination of live demonstrations
and video presentations. Dr. Michael Proulx won the $3,000
award for demonstration of a system that enables the blind to
“see” with audio signals (see page 10).
• The convention offered a family room with comfortable
seating for parents and an entertainment and play area for
children, open every day of the convention. A special family social
hour featured a wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres for parents in
one area of the room and entertainment and snacks for the kids
just a few steps away.
APA also hosted several special events, such as the opening
session, where Drs. Florence Denmark and James M. Jones each
received distinguished life achievement awards (see page 83 and
84) and where keynote speaker Dr. Claude Steele presented his
powerful research findings on stereotype threat, in keeping with
the convention theme of social justice (see page 26). The session
also acknowledged the upcoming retirement and numerous
contributions of Dr. Pat DeLeon, former APA president and chief
of staff to Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D–Hawaii).
We also celebrated several significant APA anniversaries,
including the 20th anniversary of the Disaster Response Network,
the 75th anniversary of Div. 9 (Society for the Psychological Study
of Social Issues) and the 25th anniversary of Div. 45 (Society for
the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues).
APA’s Evening at the Newseum was particularly successful,
especially since the Newseum featured displays from a variety
of traumatic events, such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The
APA presidential programs, the plenary topics and speakers and
the more than 1,000 sessions represented the broad spectrum of
psychology, with something for every member. The convention
also offered many “how to” sessions, including how to publish,
how to review a manuscript and how to use APA’s new publishing
platform to advance your career.
The presidential theme of social justice was a key thread
throughout the convention (see articles beginning on page 28).
Our social psychological research and our APA mission, values
and goals reflect the increase in the value of social justice in
psychology. Although there is a painful history of injustices in
APA and psychology, today’s APA is committed to investigating,
understanding and offering solutions to societal challenges such
as race relations, the impact of all forms of discrimination, the
effects of national disasters, terrorism and the importance of a
APA’s Annual Convention has always been and will continue
to be an exciting, inspiring and transformational event for many
of us, and I hope to see you at APA’s next convention in Orlando,
Aug. 2–5. n
To see a slide show of highlights from this year’s
convention, click here.