APA COR Representatives
Wendy Williams & Richard Suinn
APA Council of Representatives (COR) met on February 23rd-26th in Washington, DC for its Midwinter meeting. It was a busy several days of meetings for your Representatives, Wendy R. Williams and Dick Suinn. In this newsletter, we want to give you an update on the APA activities that are likely to be most of interest to SPSSI members.
Suzanne Bennett Johnson presided over her first COR meeting as the new APA President, and she informed us of her plans for her term. There are three main aspects she plans to work on: (1) engaging the next generation of psychologists, (2) encouraging psychologists to become more involved in interdisciplinary science, and (3) focusing psychologists’ attention on the growing epidemic of obesity. Her report was a model of empirical data and applied interpretations, and we expect to hear more about her initiatives at the August meeting.
COR voted to receive the Taskforce Report on Immigration titled, Crossroads: The Psychology of Immigration in the New Century, and the Taskforce Report on Diversity and Discrimination titled, Dual Pathways to a Better America: Preventing Discrimination and Promoting Diversity. Both reports are excellent. A number of SPSSI members (past and present) worked on them including James M. Jones, Michelle Fine, Sam Gaertner, Rudy Mendoza-Denton, Michael Zárate, Susan D. Cochran, Dina Birman, and Margaret Shih. We highly recommend taking a look at these well-documented reports on these important social issues.
SPSSI members may also be interested in a new current project of the Public Interest Directorate. They have embarked on a Human Rights initiative and have launched a series of new webpages. For those interested in using these resources, you can find the pages at: http://www.apa.org/topics/human-rights/index.aspx.
For those members of SPSSI who are also members of APA, you will be getting ballots for two proposed bylaw amendments. The first bylaw amendment prohibits past-presidents from running for election until 10 years have passed since the end of their term. The second bylaw amendment seeks to modify the composition of the Board of Educational Affairs to allow for an additional seat for a High School or Community College Teacher Affiliate Member. For those interested in these amendments, both will include pro/con statements so that members can be more fully informed on the positives and negatives of each position.
A year ago, the “Good Governance Project” was charged with examining APA governance including regarding improving the function of Council, and they spent the last year studying the issue and talking with stakeholders. Based on their work, Council experimented with a new way of conducting Council meetings at the winter meeting by focusing on a “mega issue.” The “mega issue” at this meeting was “technology,” and Council worked in small groups to make recommendations for what APA should be doing in the next 10 years on the issue of technology across the domains of teaching, research, practice and public policy. We are excited about this new format for COR and hope that it allows us to work more deeply on issues that are of vital concern to the health and vitality of the APA. Since one of our COR representatives (RMS) serves on the Good Governance Project, anyinput can be directed through him.
In other business, COR voted to approve two new journals: (1) Translational Issues in Psychological Science which will be run by the APA graduate student association, APAGS, and (2) Practices and Services Delivery in Pediatric Psychologywhich will be run by Division 54 (Society of Pediatric Psychology). COR also voted to adopt as APA policy the Resolution on Combination Biomedical and Behavioral Approaches to Optimize HIV Prevention.
Finally, SPSSI members may be aware of the continued discussion about the annulment of the Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS) Report. Recently, the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology called for an annulment of the PENS Report. In response, the APA appointed a taskforce to oversee the reconciling of APA’s multiple policies on psychologists’ roles in security settings that have occurred since the adoption of the PENS Report (including ethics code amendments and the petition resolution which now prohibits psychologists from working in settings where people are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law or the U.S. Constitution). Your Representatives have been monitoring the situation and keeping lines of communication open with APA divisions that are continuing to actively work on this issue (e.g., Division 48, Peace Psychology), the APA taskforce, and the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology. SPSSI as an organization has not signed on to the Coalition’s petition because we feel that it does not fully reflect the complexity of the issues, the changes to APA policy since the PENS report, nor SPSSI's proactive work on the matter, but those interested in learning more can consult the following: the history of APA activityon this issue; SPSSI’s own Resolutionon the issue; and the Coalition’s website.
Although we do not have space to give you a comprehensive list of all activities, please feel free to contact either of us if you have any questions, comments, or concerns either about what is happening at APA or how we can represent SPSSI better on your behalf. Wendy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Dick can be reached at email@example.com.
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