Psychologists spread mind-body awareness at conference for health journalists

Find out how you can become a go-to source on psychology for the media.

APA Practice staff and psychologists encouraged more than 600 health journalists to get the whole story on health by talking to a psychologist at the recent national conference for Association of Health Care Journalists in Santa Clara, Calif.

This year’s conference, April 23-26, was the first time the American Psychological Association exhibited at the annual event. The conference draws hundreds of writers, editors and producers from around the world who have a specialty or interest in covering health care news. 

APA Practice Director of Research and Special Projects Vaile Wright, PhD (second from left) and Georgia Public Education Coordinator Kip Mathews, PhD (right) meet with health care journalists to promote the value of psychologists as mental and behavioral health care experts. Journalists often ask APA and psychologists questions about mental health. APA’s exhibition helped journalists better understand the wider role psychologists play in the health care system. APA representatives distributed a flier that explains why psychologists make good experts and sources for health care stories. A second flier provided a list of hot topics in psychology that may inspire story ideas: dementia, managed care, diabetes management and the annual Stress in America survey, among others.

“Health is not just about the physical; health stories are not just about the body,” said APA Practice Director of Research and Special Projects Vaile Wright, PhD. “When we talked to reporters and found out the types of stories they cover, we were able to show how psychology and behavioral science fits into those stories.” 

Practice Public Relations organized APA’s booth and attendance as part of APA’s Mind/Body Health public education campaign. The campaign uses a network of practicing psychologists across the country who serve as media experts for local and regional media outlets. 

Attending the AHCJ conference helped create personal connections between psychologists and journalists, but practicing psychologists are still needed to spread the word locally about the expertise psychologists have to offer. Participating in APA’s Mind/Body Health campaign is one way to get the tools, training and support for working with the media or in the community.

What can you do? 

The public education campaign offers many ways for psychologists to use their skills and talents. 

  • Work with the media. By working with your state association, you can be a local media expert.
  • Organize community events and health fairs.
  • Share messages on social media like Twitter or blogs. 
  • Order and distribute our public education handouts. APA members can order up to 50 copies of fliers and brochures on many topics regarding mind-body health and psychology. You can distribute these in your office, at a health fair or throughout the community (with permission, of course.)

For more information on any of APA’s public education campaigns, contact the Public Relations office at (202) 336-5898 or by email.