Psychology leaders focus on new and traditional practice models

The 2016 State Leadership Conference, with its theme of expanding the practice spectrum, culminated in hundreds of meetings on Capitol Hill.

Approximately 400 psychology leaders from the United States, its territories and Canada gathered in Washington, D.C., from Feb. 27-March 1 during the 2016 State Leadership Conference (SLC) to learn, network and gather ideas to take home. Nearly a third of the leaders were early career psychologists.

The annual event, sponsored by the American Psychological Association and APA Practice Organization, provided an important opportunity for leaders to come together to engage in advocacy efforts that are vital to professional psychology. Congressional Management Foundation research shows that visits from constituents is by far the most influential form of advocacy. On the final day of the conference, SLC attendees took the following advocacy messages to meetings on Capitol Hill with members of Congress and their staff:

  • Co-sponsor the Medicare Mental Health Access Act H.R. 4277 and S. 2597.
  • Enact consensus, bipartisan mental health reform legislation (H.R. 2646 and S. 1945).

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (third from left) with leaders from the Ohio Psychological Association. This year’s conference — with its theme of expanding the practice spectrum — explored both new and traditional models of psychological practice in the changing health care marketplace. The theme grew out of a successful multistate summit on integrated health care and alternative practice models held in New York last May. The Practice Organization’s Legal & Regulatory office collaborated on that pilot summit with the psychological and neuropsychological associations in New York and surrounding states.

APA Executive Director for Professional Practice Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, welcomed SLC participants with an address that set the stage for the theme and highlighted conference programming. She also showcased the Practice Organization’s work over the past year (PDF, 1.60MB) in legislative and legal advocacy.

The opening session featured presentations from three psychologist innovators, Nancy Breen Ruddy, PhD, Arthur C. Evans, PhD, and Geoffrey Kanter, PhD, ABN, ABPdN. The presenters, respectively, spoke about easy steps any clinical practice can take to work with medical practices in the community, ways psychologists can improve the health outcomes of underserved populations through creative engagement, and a management services organization model that can streamline the business of practice, while letting smaller practices share in the resources and marketing power of a larger entity. Psychology leaders had many questions for the presenters in the town hall style discussion that followed the presentations. Subsequent workshops further explored many of the themes raised by the opening session speakers.

On Sunday night, the Practice Organization's political action committee, APAPO-PAC, honored former Gov. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, at its annual Black Tie Dinner. Strickland, a psychologist and former member of Congress, is a current candidate for U.S. Senate. Strickland was the first psychologist elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and if he wins in November, he will be the first psychologist elected to the U.S. Senate.

More than 50 psychologists and graduate students attended the dinner. The Strickland campaign reported raising over $50,000 that evening from fellow psychologists.

Highlights and content from the conference relevant for practitioners will be featured in issues of this PracticeUpdate e-newsletter and the APA Practice Organization’s Good Practice magazine, as well as APA’s Monitor on Psychology. Conference content on alternative practice models and integration will be replicated in upcoming regional summits in Washington, D.C., on May 20 and Chicago on June 24.

Videos of the welcoming remarks and opening session will be available online at the APA Practice Organization’s Practice Central website in the coming weeks.