FROM THE CEO
Building a stronger convention
BY DR. NORMAN B. ANDERSON • APA CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
The APA Strategic Plan calls for us to take a hard look at our benefits
and services to ensure they are meaningful to members. Among our top
priorities is making APA’s Annual Convention more engaging for both
long-term and early career members.
Each year, APA’s convention attracts from 10,000 to 15,000
participants, with about half that number full members,
associates and affiliates. In a typical year, APA’s convention offers
1,400 programs and more than 2, 100 programming hours over
three-and-a-half days, resulting in a great deal of session overlap.
We decided to review which types of sessions draw the
biggest audiences, how programs are approved, whether there
should be fewer sessions and whether members would like
more collaborative, thematic programming. We also compared
APA’s convention to meetings of similar organizations. Based on
that analysis, our Convention Task Force recommended several
changes, several of which will begin this year at APA’s 2012
Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla., Aug. 2–5. They include:
More continuing education (CE). This year, attendees can
earn CE credit at nearly 250 convention sessions. You can earn
unlimited CE credits by attending as many of these sessions
as you want for a single fee. CE sessions will be identified by
a special logo in the convention program and will be held in
the Orange County Convention Center. In addition, this year’s
opening session will offer CE credit for the first time. At the
session, two distinguished psychologists — Drs. Kelly Brownell
and Rena Wing — will discuss their ideas about overcoming the
national obesity epidemic.
Innovative program tracks. As a harbinger of more
thematic, collaborative programming in the future, APA
President Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD, has created three
innovative program tracks that focus on critical issues facing
psychology and society at large. The themes are obesity,
interdisciplinary team science and interprofessional practice.
(See page 30 for more details on these programs.)
Enhanced digital tools. APA is also providing online and
mobile tools to help you make the most of your convention
experience. In June, look for the online convention program
mobile app to help you search for sessions, events and
speakers, as well as create a personal schedule and view
More child-friendly options. A family room with an
entertainment and play area for children will be located in the
convention center. It will be open to children accompanied by
a parent. Orlando is also home to many family-friendly local
This year, attendees can
earn CE credit at nearly
250 convention sessions.
attractions, including Disney World, Sea World and the Harry
Potter theme park at Universal Orlando. Families will also
want to attend the APA Evening at Disney’s Epcot™ on Friday,
Aug. 3, where they can join colleagues for a dessert reception,
fireworks and exclusive APA access to Soarin’ — an attraction
that simulates a flight over California. Attendance is limited, so
advance registration and a nominal fee are required.
In another family-friendly option, we will offer a Health
Challenge Pavilion in the APA Exhibit Hall, where you can exercise
or challenge a colleague with Wii and Xbox Kinect games.
Newsier poster sessions. Also new in 2012 will be late-breaking poster sessions related to the presidential program tracks
and the most current high-impact developments in psychology.
You can find details about these and other exciting
convention programs on the APA website convention page,
www.apa.org/convention. Register by June 30 and get early bird
discounts and other special offers.
I hope you will join me in Orlando this summer for our
exciting lineup of speakers and events. n