APA Council of Representatives Report: February 2015 Meeting

Elizabeth Carll

Elizabeth Carll

Elizabeth Carll, PhD
drcarll@optonline.net

A full day was allotted to Council’s new responsibility focusing on strategic mega issues relating to psychology. The topic agreed upon was Translating Science into Policy. In addition to the usual 600 page agenda, Council also received reading assignments to prepare for the discussions so that all members would have a basic starting point of knowledge. Panel discussions were followed by afternoon breakout sessions focusing on three central areas: Educating the Public, Science & Research, and Advocacy. Follow up should take place with the newly developed Council Leadership Team (CLT) guiding direction of next steps.

Collective recommendations of the breakout groups included the need to engage all stakeholders, finding allies and reaching beyond psychology, disseminating scientific findings and data in everyday language, and explaining with story examples how certain initiatives and policies help people solve real problems.

Council received the Treasurer’s and CEO reports, although this financial oversight will be the purview of the Board of Directors following a bylaws change. The Associations finances are strong despite a small deficit budget this year. The two APA buildings are fully leased and continue to increase in value.

The Council selected the topic of implicit bias for the annual diversity training. A thought-provoking lecture by a young researcher discussing that implicit bias begins at early age of 6 or 7 years. Implicit biases are more influential when information is complex or confusing and decisions are made quickly.

Ongoing discussion of the new governance structure included the role of caucuses and how these may change. Recommendations for consolidating caucuses were discussed. Two caucuses were sunsetted: the Very Small State, Provincial, and Territorial Caucus and the Assembly of Scientist/Practitioner Psychologists. With regard to governance, it was discussed that changing the structure of Council should be postponed until governance can be assessed with attention to cost, efficiency and diversity. More working experience is needed before the Authority Matrix delineating the responsibilities of Council and the Board of Directors is finalized.

Other Council actions:

  • Council adopted an inter-organizational document outlining Competencies for Psychology Practice in Primary Care as APA policy that articulates competencies for education and training of psychologists who seek to provide psychological services in primary care.
  • Approved a change in association rules to require at least one early career psychologist on all APA boards and committees. A few boards and committees will be exempt due to special requirements such as the Fellows Committee.
  • Approved modifying the composition of the Board of Educational Affairs to allow that one seat to be held by an APA High School or Community College Teacher Affiliate member.
  • Approved the Commission on Accreditation’s Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology. This will replace the current Guidelines and Principles of Accreditation and will go into effect for all accredited programs in January 1, 2017.
  • Approved APA endorsement of the 2012 San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment which calls for improvements in the ways that the impact of scientific research is measured.
  • Approved adoption of the Professional Practice Guidelines: Guidance for Developers and Users and replaces two earlier APA policy documents.
  • Approved resolution to support education and implementation of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). This resolution serves to promote ICD-relevant APA activities including to inform APA members and the public about this important public health framework and to support the creation of innovative tools and programs to allow psychologists to enhance their knowledge of health promotion, disease prevention and management of chronic disease.
  • Approve the CEO’s Technology Implementation Plan and request that additional methods for member engagement be developed by the new Executive Director for Membership.
  • Approved change of name and mission of the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns to the Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity as the current name no longer effectively reflects the full range of diversity among the populations it represents.

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