Who they are: Div. 40’s neuropsychologist members work
in a range of professional settings, including the Department
of Veterans Affairs where they treat veterans with traumatic
brain injury and other mental health issues, consulting with
professional sports teams and conducting neuropsychological
testing and assessment in private practice. Many Div. 40
members also work in academe as full-time researchers and in
hospitals and community health centers.
The Society for Clinical Neuropsychology (SCN) is the
largest APA division with 4,752 members — it’s also the largest
neuropsychological organization in the world.
“We are riding the crest of the wave of strong academic and
clinical interest in neuropsychology,” says SCN President Neil
Pliskin, PhD, a professor of clinical psychiatry and neurology at
the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Top concerns: A top division priority is promoting
neuropsychologists’ involvement in return-to-play decisions
involving sports-related concussion in each state. “There is a
real lack of information about the role of neuropsychologists
in cognitive assessment in return-to-play decisions, even
though most of the literature on concussions comes from
neuropsychology,” says SCN Past President Paula Shear, PhD, a
professor of psychology and psychiatry and director of clinical
training at the University of Cincinnati.
To help its members advocate in their states, the division
recently used a Committee on Division/APA Relations grant
to develop a concussion toolkit with advocacy materials on
how to talk with legislators about concussion, research on
assessment and treatment, and a repository of state concussion
laws. The resource, developed with Divs. 19 (Military),
22 (Rehabilitation), 31 (State, Provincial and Territorial
Psychological Association Affairs) and 47 (Exercise and Sport),
can be found at http://medschool.ucdenver.edu/concussion-toolkit.
Another division priority is establishing competencies for
clinical neuropsychology that define the specific experiences
that clinical neuropsychology training programs should offer. In
addition, the society is working to educate the public about the
health benefits of comprehensive neuropsychological testing.
One area where such screenings are particularly valuable, says
Pliskin, is in early detection of the cognitive loss that often
precedes the development of dementia.
“Early identification and early interventions, especially in
individuals who have other risk factors like smoking or high
cholesterol, keep people at home and out of the nursing homes
longer,” he says.
Building diversity: The division tailors much of
its professional development training to women and
minorities. “Ethnic minorities in particular are horrendously
underrepresented in neuropsychology,” says Shear.
The division’s Ethnic Minorities Affairs and Women in
Neuropsychology sections host skill-building workshops and
seminars at APA’s Annual Convention and at the International
Neuropsychological Society meeting on such topics as
interviewing, advocating for oneself on the job, balancing
career and family, and landing a position on an editorial
board. Each section also has a popular interactive listserv for
networking and job sharing.
The division also puts an early career member on every
committee and solicits top neuropsychology researchers for its
scientific program at APA’s Annual Convention.
“Thanks to our superb program committee chairs, we have
A closer look
Div. 40 (Society for Clinical Neuropsychology)