FROM THE CEO
As the organization for and of psychology, APA strives to collect, apply and
share data in ways that best represent and support the discipline. In all of our
activities, from strategic planning to collecting data about the psychology
workforce, APA wants to demonstrate and model the power of solid analytics.
Within the past few years, the association has worked on two data projects:
one to collect more data about the discipline and the other to
provide data about APA members to the membership.
In 2012 we started a large-scale project that has blossomed
into an important initiative we call the data warehouse. The
“warehouse” is actually a large number of data sets from
both internal and external sources such as licensing boards
and graduate departments. It includes data beyond the APA
membership. The goal of the warehouse is to provide the best
available data to answer questions important to the discipline
and policy makers. Questions like: How many licensed
psychologists reside in South Carolina? What is the demographic
mix of psychologists within the New England states? How many
psychology students completed dissertations in 2014?
While the APA data warehouse was created to support the
discipline’s data needs, the second new project, our member
data portal, is a tool for the exclusive use of APA members and
affiliates. The portal, accessed through your MyAPA account
(behind APA’s security firewall) allows members to review
aggregate data and generate reports about the APA membership.
Go to the portal to generate summary level reports on the
number of APA members and affiliates nationwide or in a
particular state, age group or division. For example, via the
portal you can determine the gender composition of your
division or the demographics of APA Fellows.
Within the APA Central Office we also use data to drive
our decision-making. A prime example is APA’s Strategic
Plan. Based on data collection about what APA members
expected of the association and on what issues we can have
the greatest impact, APA adopted its first-ever strategic plan
in 2009, establishing three overall strategic goals and seven
initiatives to support those goals. (See www.apa.org/about/
apa/strategic-plan/ default.aspx). Each initiative is associated
with performance measures that are reported quarterly. 2015
is an evaluation year of the original five-year plan, 2010–14.
I will report on the results of the initial strategic plan in a
column later this year.
The APA directorates are also involved in projects that
use important data about the discipline. For example, staff
in the Practice Directorate and American Psychological
Association Practice Organization use Medicare utilization
data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to
inform policymakers about the type and number of services
psychologists provide to Medicare patients.
APA’s Education Directorate, working with numerous
partners in the psychology higher education community,
is collecting and using data on students and match rates to
address the internship imbalance issue.
Finally, APA’s Center for Workforce Studies (CWS)
collects, analyzes and disseminates data on the psychology
workforce and future workforce, including demographics,
diversity, work setting, employment opportunities and
compensation. The Monitor’s popular new “Datapoint”
feature is written by CWS staff. For more information about
CWS’s work and reports visit their Web page on APA.org at
Overall, APA’s more robust data collection will give both
the association and the field expanded information on which
to base decisions and advance the discipline. n
Gathering and applying data
to support psychology
By Dr. Norman B. Anderson • APA Chief Executive Officer
APA’s more robust data collection
will give both the association and
the field expanded information on
which to base decisions and advance