In some parts of New Orleans, one of the most inequitable cities in the nation, life expectancy is just 55 — lower than in many developing countries, psychologist Brian Smedley, PhD, told participants in a keynote address to APA’s Psychology in the Public
Interest Leadership Conference. Just up the highway, white
residents can expect to live 25 years longer.
“When it comes to health, often your zip code is more
important than your genetic code,” said Smedley, executive
director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity.
Smedley was just one example of psychologists who spoke
at the conference about their work putting psychological
science into practice and exposing the structural rather than
personal factors behind health disparities and other social
problems. Sponsored by APA’s Public Interest Directorate
and the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the
Public Interest, the first-of-its-kind event brought almost 125
psychologists, students, members of APA governance and others
to Washington, D.C., Nov. 15–17.
The directorate invited a broad range of constituencies —
APA divisions, ethnic minority psychology associations, Public
Interest and other committees, the American Psychological
Association of Graduate Students, early career psychologists,
PUBLIC INTEREST LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
The first-ever APA Public
Conference offered advice
for translating science
into social change.
By Rebecca A. Clay