FROM THE CEO
This past August I, along with several APA staff members, participated
in the commemoration of the 50th
anniversary of the historic March on
Washington (see related column by Dr.
Gwendolyn Keita in this issue on page
Social justice, diversity and inclusion
40). Thousands of participants stood
and sat on the Washington Mall and
heard many inspiring speeches (one by
President Obama) about our nation’s progress and ongoing
challenges in civil rights, equality, and diversity. As I listened to
these speeches, I reflected on our association’s own progress in
becoming an organization that is itself reflective of the goals
and aspirations of the civil rights movement.
The APA strategic plan, approved in 2009, includes “social
justice, diversity, and inclusion” as one of its five core values.
Indeed, the association has a long history of adopting policies
that oppose discrimination and support diversity, fostering
the inclusion at all APA levels of ethnic minorities, women,
older adults, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
and people with disabilities. As early as 1950, APA endorsed a
policy that prohibited us from hosting meetings in venues that
discriminated on the basis of race or religion. In more recent
years, APA has opposed bias against same-sex couples (2004),
condemned hate crimes (2005) and disparaged any expressions
of prejudice (2006).
To gauge our success in cultivating diversity, in 2005 APA’s
then-President, Ronald Levant, PhD, appointed a Task Force
on Enhancing Diversity chaired by APA Past President Richard
M. Suinn, PhD. After conducting a thorough analysis of APA’s
policies, programs and activities, the task force issued a report
confirming that “APA has been evolving as an organization that
seeks to be welcoming to diversity.”
But the report also identified areas for improvement. For
example, the percentage of ethnic minorities who were APA
members had not changed over the years, despite increases in the
U.S. population. Also, women and ethnic minorities continued
to be underrepresented in the awards that APA gives annually.
To address those and other problems, APA’s Council
of Representatives directed me to develop a Diversity
Implementation Plan to ensure that diversity is an integral part
of APA’s structures and activities. Last summer, I shared with
the council a report on the progress we have made in meeting
our five goals. They are to:
• Enhance the “welcomeness” of APA to diverse groups.
This includes increasing the diversity of APA’s membership
and improving access to leadership opportunities for people
of diverse groups. One of our greatest successes in this area is
attracting more minorities to APA governance. Overall, the
percentage of minorities in all APA governance — including its,
council, boards and committees — rose from 14 percent in 1996
to 24 percent in 2012. (For another example of an APA program
that brings more minorities to psychology governance, see
“Wanted: More diversity in psychology governance” on page 38.)
• Promote recognition of the value of diversity in APA
policies, publications and programs. APA produces a wealth
of publications that focus in part or whole on diversity issues,
from magazines, such as the Monitor, to a variety of newsletters,
including In the Public Interest, which addresses all of the
diversity issues with APA’s Public Interest Directorate and
Communique News Journal, a quarterly e-publication on
issues relevant to people of color.
• Enhance access to, and encourage participation by, diverse
groups in APA activities. Our work under this goal ranges
from ensuring that people with disabilities can attend all APA
meetings to giving travel awards to international psychologists to
help offset their expenses to attend APA meetings so that we can
benefit from their different perspectives.
• Expand support for diversity in psychology education and the
training of future psychologists. To meet this goal, APA produces
such resources as lesson plans for K– 12 teachers of psychology,
our Guidelines for Undergraduate Psychology Majors, Minority
Fellowship Program Psychology Summer Institute, Advanced
Training Institutes on Research Methods with Diverse Racial and
Ethnic Groups and supports numerous recruitment efforts.
• Promote diversity in psychological research and practice.
Among our activities in this area are several aimed at increasing the
diversity in psychological research topics and methodologies and
APA practice guidelines that address working with diverse clients.
A full list of the ways in which we foster diversity at APA —
90 pages in all — appears at www.apa.org/pubs/info/reports/
diversity-activities-report.pdf. This report is a snapshot of our
current efforts to cultivate diversity at APA — and we look
forward to adding to it. n
At APA, all are welcome
BY DR. NORMAN B. ANDERSON • APA CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER