American Psychological Association Council of Representatives Summer 2017 Meeting
Kim A. Case and Luis M. Rivera, Division 9 SPSSI Representatives
Report Submitted to SPSSI Council
The American Psychological Association (APA) Council of Representatives (CoR) met on August 2nd, 2017, and August 4th, 2017, during the APA annual convention in Washington, D.C. CoR is the legislative body of APA and is composed of representatives of divisions, representatives of state, provincial and territorial psychological associations (SPTAs) and the members of the Board of Directors. Currently, divisions hold 99 seats and SPTAs hold 63 seats (as determined by the apportionment ballot through which APA members have voted how they want to be represented).
At its summer 2017 meeting, CoR welcomed Arthur C. Evans, Jr., APAs’ new Chief Executive Office. Evans, the former commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Service, is recognized nationally and internationally as an innovative and effective policymaker and he received the American Medical Associations’ top government service award in health care. His Ph.D. is in clinical/community psychology from the University of Maryland. Also at its meeting, CoR engaged in actions and reported on issues relevant to SPSSI and its membership. These are listed below.
1) Civility and Ethics.
a) CoR continues to work towards establishing a civil and professional atmosphere, an issue raised following the Hoffman Report. The overall goals are to embrace and practice the ethical principle of respecting the dignity and worth of all people and create a climate of civility, respect and inclusion throughout the APA community. To this end, CoR accepted the Civility Principles Work Group’s recommendation to establish Civility Ambassadors, individuals who will be responsible for sending an annual statement to their assigned listserv regarding civility expectations and for providing corrective feedback to individual members when necessary. Each APA board or committee chair (or assigned designee) will serve as the Civility Ambassador for the respective board or committee listserv; the Council Leadership Team (CLT) will assign a member of the CLT to serve as the Civility Ambassador for the Council listserv; and the APA President will assign a member of the Board to serve as the Civility Ambassador for the Board listserv.
b) CoR received the Report of the APA Commission on Ethics Processes and requested that the Board of Directors consider the Commission’s recommendations and that implementing motions under CoR’s purview be brought back to CoR for action. The Commission is proposing structural changes, including the creation of separate member-driven committees on ethics guidance and ethics adjudication and that an ethics office support these two committees. In addition, the Commission recommends spreading ethical responsibilities across the Association, rather than the creation of a Chief Ethics Officer position. The Commission understood and acknowledged that implementation of its recommendations will need to be addressed by the APA throughout its governance systems.
2) Women and Girls in Psychology.
a) One of the ongoing priorities of APA’s Women’s Programs Office (WPO) and the Committee on Women in Psychology (CWP) has been monitoring women’s status and progress in the APA publication editorial pipeline. Journal editors, with associated editors and reviewers, play a critical role as stewards or sentinels for the science of psychology. During the March 2017 meeting, CWP invited APA Publisher, Mr. Jasper Simons, to discuss the concerns with women’s status and progress in the APA publication editorial pipeline. Members discussed strategic efforts to positively affect the editorial pipeline, including collaborating efforts with the APA Publication and Communication Board.
b) In February 2017, CoR adopted the Resolution on Human Trafficking in the United States, Especially of Women and Girls as APA policy. The resolution, which is based upon the findings and recommendations in the Report of the Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls, is now available on the Council Policy Manual page at www.apa.org/about/policy/trafficking-women-girls.aspx.
3) Health Disparities and Health Promotion.
a) The new Journal of Prevention and Health Promotion (JPHP) from APA Division 17, the Society of Counseling Psychology, was approved. JPHP will strive to accept articles in the field of prevention science and health promotion in specific domains (e.g., college campuses, schools, community mental health services, training, and similar settings in the United States and globally) and with specific modalities (e.g., group work, community engagement, ecological interventions, educational programs, public policy). Contributions will focus on prevention and wellness promotion theory, research, practice, advocacy, training, or a combination of these topics. The JPHP will include summaries of epidemiological and preventive intervention research and practices. It will be a primary outlet for scholarship particularly as it influences education, practice, public policy, and social action related to prevention and wellness.
4) Ethnic-Racial Issues.
a) CoR received as information an update on the Council Diversity Work Group, a CLT group. The group co-facilitators, Melinda Garcia, Fred Millan, and Karen Suyemoto, provided a verbal report at the meeting. The work group includes SPSSI Representatives Case and Rivera as well as other CoR members and delegates from Ethnic Minority Psychological Associations (EMPA). They have been working on recommendations regarding CoR issues related to diversity since the February 2016 meeting. The work group was organized into three subcommittees: policy and procedure shifts; diverse representation and participation; and diversity training and cultural change. The report contained four primary recommendations: (i) ensure an explicit, structured, and consistent attention to racial and ethnic diversity issues and populations in the development of policies considered or passed by CoR; (ii) ensure accountability for diversity related policy and procedure recommendations by creating and following through on the hiring of a Chief Diversity Officer and developing a CoR-specific diversity plan; (iii) expand relational, communication, and structural procedures in order to reflect a greater range of cultural practices, proactively prevent common unintentional microaggressions, ensure sustained attention to diversity within CoR relations, and create regular feedback loops for assessment and accountability; and (iv) ensure a shared foundation of understanding, intentionality, and opportunities for growth and application in engaging racial and ethnic diversity among CoR members. The CLT will review and establish processes for implementing the recommendations.