Happy new year to you, your families and your colleagues.
Last year brought us many successes:
• APA’s amicus brief contributed to
legalizing same-sex marriage.
• APA issued a report on the effects
of war on refugee children and families
and advocated for emergency funds for
• APA internship grants improved the supply-demand
• APA adopted a policy to have at least one early career
psychologist on every APA board and committee.
• The APA Practice Organization helped secure stable
reimbursement for psychologists by repealing the sustainable
growth rate formula.
Last year also brought us sobering moments. APA
commissioned and released to the public an independent
review (IR) of APA’s policies regarding psychologist
participation in “enhanced interrogation” (or torture) post-
9/11. After absorbing the report’s important lessons, I and many
other APA leaders and members made a strong commitment to
review, reflect on, revise and reinspire ourselves with the values
that brought us to psychology in the first place — integrity,
compassion, evidence-based decision-making, social justice and
a belief in the ability of humans to heal, grow and change.
After the release of the IR, many people asked me if my
priorities as president have changed. I would say rather they
have expanded — to improve not only the health of individuals
and families, but the health of our association as well.
I remain dedicated to carrying out the initiatives I described
when I ran for president, so that psychologists and APA can
participate in and influence health-care reform to improve the
health of our nation and beyond. These initiatives include:
• Convening a meeting of leading primary-care and
behavioral health associations to further the delivery of
integrated primary care. Not only will this meeting strengthen
our connections with these groups, but it will also enable us
to develop next steps to advance integrated primary care as
a vehicle to improve comprehensive, whole-person care and
improve accessibility to mental and behavioral health services.
• Forming a work group to develop a curriculum guide
• Appointing a work group to describe cutting-edge issues
for an interprofessional graduate-level seminar on key topics
in today’s health-care environment, such as new models of
leadership, team-based care and biopsychosocial, patient-
and opportunities for psychologists in integrated specialty care.
• Forming a work group to focus on team science, to examine
and report the predictors of success for interdisciplinary
research teams and health-care teams, and to develop criteria
for an APA Team Science Award.
In addition, my presidency will address the serious issues
identified by the IR. In particular, we need to ask ourselves: Does
our behavior match our stated values? Is serving the public at the
center of our priorities? Is APA’s decision-making transparent,
and are our processes fair and equitable? Fortunately, APA’s
many gifted and dedicated members, students and staff are
helping us grapple with these challenging questions.
Actions we have taken already include:
• Appointing a work group to review and recommend
• Appointing a commission of psychologists and
nonpsychologist ethicists to review and recommend changes
to our ethics processes and procedures to ensure they meet the
highest standards of quality, integrity and protection of human
updates to our conflict-of-interest policy.
• Sending letters to the Department of Defense, the White
House and other national leaders informing them of the APA
Council of Representative’s decision to prohibit psychologists’
involvement in national security interrogations.
• Meeting with military psychologists to reiterate our
commitment to and support for their contributions.
Many eyes from both within and outside our organization
are on APA at this time, watching hopefully for continued
action in addressing the issues raised by the IR. Strengthening
our association will take time. I am committed to ensuring that
we maximize our learning and tangibly improve during this
period of reflection and reorganization.
Finally, thank you to those who wrote to me and other APA
leaders to share your thoughts and your support, and to those of
you who, with your membership, demonstrate your willingness
to help strengthen our community from within. I welcome your
ideas, concerns, energy and commitment to APA. Please join me
in working to bolster the health of individuals, families and APA.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
for individuals, families and APA
By Susan H. McDaniel, PhD • APA President