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  APA Council Meeting Update

  By Wendy R. Williams & Allen Omoto,
  Wendy is APA Div 9 Council Representative & Allen is SPSSI President

The APA Council of Representatives (COR) had its annual winter meeting on February 21-24th, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Dick Suinn was unable to attend the meeting; Allen Omoto stepped in to substitute for Dick. This report, then, is submitted by Wendy and Allen.

Financial Health.Despite national and international economic woes, APA is in good financial health. APA has assets of approximately $234 million (of which $32 million are net assets once liabilities are extracted). COR was initially presented with a 2013 operational budget of $108 million and with expected revenue of approximately the same—for an expected balanced budget for the year. However, as a result of several COR actions that added to expenditures, COR approved a small deficit budget (with costs exceeding revenue by approximately $76,000). The major new expenditure was an extensively debated proposal, eventually approved, to provide $500 additional funding to each COR member not already fully funded by APA to attend the summer meeting in Hawaii.

Presidential Initiatives.Donald Bersoff is beginning his term as APA President, and he presented his Presidential Initiatives—all of which may be of interest to SPSSI members. His initiatives are: (1) to ensure psychologists are at the forefront of providing services to military personnel, veterans and their families, as well as to military members who have been sexually harassed in the service, (2) to stimulate diversity by identifying innovative doctoral programs that have admitted, retained, and graduated students from diverse ethnic cultures and specific regions of the world, and (3) to advance the creation, communication, and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives by attracting and retaining academicians and scientists as APA members. During the meeting, President Bersoff also awarded a posthumous citation to Mary Shelach, MA, the school psychologist who died in the Sandy Hook shootings. Her daughters accepted the award on her behalf.

CEO’s Report.Norman Anderson reported on two main activities of APA staff in the last six months. First, he reported on the creation of the APA Center for Psychology and Health (directed by Dr. Anderson) which will coordinate central office activities intended to ensure psychology’s position in the emerging team-focused health-care marketplace. Second, he reported on APA’s recent and ongoing activities on gun control and violence prevention including outreach to Congress, the executive branch, other organizations (e.g., Police Foundation, American Academy of Pediatrics), APA members, and the public. In addition, the staff is working to create APA-governance-related initiatives. We expect to continue to hear more on these initiatives throughout the year.

Violence Initiatives (Responding to Sandy Hook).Related to the CEO update, the APA Board of Directors proposed (and COR endorsed and funded) two separate task forces to address topics related to violence, including the mass shootings at Sandy Hook: one that focuses on firearm safety and youth and one that focuses on violent video and media. Both task forces will include experts in the field and are charged with insuring that any products (Resolutions, reports, etc.) account for the most up-to-date empirical research.

Investment in APA.Two years ago, COR approved $13.5 million over 5 years with the goal of updating and creating new products mostly through the use of emerging technologies. As a return on that investment, staff expect to reap a 30% increase in revenue yearly after 5 years. Staff reviewed the publications, databases, and technologies have been developed so far, including the two most recent additions (1) an App for searching all APA journals and (2) two new databases (PsychTESTS and PsychTHERAPY) have more than 280 institutional contracts.

Caucus Reports.Wendy and Allen attended a number of Caucus meetings, including the Women’s Caucus; the Public Interest Caucus; the Coalition of Academic, Scientific and Applied-Research in Psychology; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns Caucus; and the Ethnic Minority Caucus. At these meetings both the Science Directorate and the Public Interest Directorate reported on their increased web presence. Click the Science and PI Directorate links to learn more, and to sign up for their updates.

Good Governance Project.COR spent considerable time discussing proposals for reshaping COR as proposed by the Good Governance Project team. In contrast to the last meeting, there was considerable critical analysis of the “clean slate” change option (that would essentially do away with COR in its current form) as well as of specific proposals related to streamlining COR and its functions. Significant concern was expressed about how the different change options had been fleshed out since the last meeting and also about the apparent slowness and direction of the project. These issues were not resolved, but the Good Governance Project team is to take the feedback from the meeting and further develop proposals for discussion and potential vote at the summer meeting in Hawaii.

Changes to Convention.The Chair of the Board of Convention Affairs updated COR on changes to the convention. The charge was to take the 225 convention hours and use 125 on interdivisional/“cross-cutting” hours and 100 on divisional hours; in short, divisions will lose many of their dedicated convention hours. Starting with 2014, interdivisional program proposals must be sponsored by at least 2 divisions. The 2013 Divisional Leadership conference (which included presidents-elect and APA program chairs from APA divisions) came up with proposed themes for 2014. These themes will be further refined, but currently they include: (1) psychology and the public good, 2) violence, (3) how technology is changing psychology, (4) mechanisms and principle of change in linking and integrating research and practice, (5) reducing mental health stigma in mental health populations, (6) access to healthcare/healthcare disparities, (7) integrating STEM and psychology, (8) multiple systems approaches, (9) cultural competencies, and (10) addictions.

Connections with Regional Associations.Although Divisions and States/Provinces/Territories have representation on COR, none of the regional psychological associations do. COR approved a request to allow each of the seven regional psychological associations to send an observer to future COR meetings. These observers will not be able to vote on COR business nor will any of their travel be funded by COR or APA.

As always, if you have questions about the work of APA COR, or have suggestions for initiatives that you would like SPSSI to take on in conjunction with the APA, please contact either of your COR representatives, Wendy Williams or Richard Suinn.

—Wendy Williams & Allen Omoto


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