Psychology leaders convene for 30th annual leadership conference

The focus on health care reform sets the stage for education, networking and advocacy.

March 14, 2013—More than 500 psychology leaders from across the United States, its territories and Canada gathered in Washington, D.C. from March 9-12 for the 30th annual State Leadership Conference (SLC). For the second year in a row, the conference, sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA) Practice Organization along with APA, focused on health care reform.

In the wake of the 2012 Supreme Court decision and the reelection of President Barack Obama, the clock is ticking toward full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Implementation of this landmark federal law, along with other elements of the changing U.S. health care system, provided the backdrop for the opening SLC address by APA Executive Director for Professional Practice Katherine C. Nordal, PhD.

Nordal emphasized the importance of professional psychology’s engagement in health care reform while describing it as a long-term process, noting that emerging practice models and changes in health care financing won’t happen overnight. Nordal described how grassroots psychologists’ participation in legislative advocacy and longstanding efforts to educate the public about psychology and psychological services are critical for the profession. “We can’t hope to finish the marathon called health care reform if we’re not at the starting line,” she said.

The four-day conference is an opportunity for psychology leaders to learn, network and advocate for professional psychology and consumers of psychological services. The annual conference provides an important forum for advancing psychology’s legislative priorities. 

As in years past, on the final day of the conference, SLC attendees took three key advocacy messages to more than 300 meetings on Capitol Hill with members of Congress and staff:

Highlights of the SLC opening session address by Dr. Nordal and additional content from other SLC programming will appear in future issues of this e-newsletter.