South Dakota psychologist honored for advocacy work

Hilary Kindsfater, PhD, receives the Practice Organization’s annual advocate award.

Hilary Kindsfater, PhD, from South Dakota receiving 2018 Federal Advocacy Coordinator of the Year award from Doug Walter, JD. Psychologist Hilary Kindsfater, PhD, has been recognized as the 2018 Federal Advocacy Coordinator of the Year. Kindsfater has a passion for mental health consumer and professional advocacy and has served as the federal advocacy coordinator for the South Dakota Psychological Association since 2014. She also has an extensive history of graduate student-level advocacy involvement beginning in 2001. Kinsfater was honored for her many advocacy accomplishments including:

  • Helping to secure Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., as a cosponsor of the Medicare Mental Health Access Act.
  • Identifying Medicare psychologists from South Dakota for a November 2017 fly-in meeting with Rep. Kristie Noem, R-S.D.
  • Coordinating South Dakota psychologists, graduate students and faculty to attend follow-up meetings in congressional district offices back in South Dakota.

“I have witnessed first-hand Hilary’s passionate advocacy for the psychology profession,” said Doug Walter, JD, associate executive director, Government Relations, APA Practice Organization. “She speaks the language of South Dakota, and I watched her help convince another proud South Dakotan, Kristie Noem, the representative-at-large for the state, to sponsor the Medicare Mental Health Access Act during last year’s visits to Capitol Hill.”

Walter added, “Hilary holds a second distinction in that she was key to getting our lone Republican Senate co-sponsor, Mike Rounds, R-S.D., to sign on to the Medicare Mental Health Access Act. Hilary accomplished all these because she eloquently told these members of Congress why this bill was so important to psychologists in the state, patients, their constituents, and to her personally and professionally.”

Kindsfater is a clinical psychologist currently working at the VA Black Hills Healthcare System (VABHHCS) in Ft. Meade, South Dakota. She was born and raised in South Dakota and following her graduate education, returned to her home state to provide much needed psychological services to veterans. Kindsfater earned her doctoral degree from the University of South Dakota and completed her doctoral internship in Health Service Psychology at the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System in Leavenworth, Kansas. She has specialized training in treating military-related combat trauma, depression and chronic pain. Additionally, she is the assistant training director and is actively involved in training psychology doctoral interns for the VABHHCS doctoral internship in health service psychology. 

The Federal Advocacy Coordinators (FAC) is the longest-running and largest grassroots network of psychologists working on behalf of licensed practitioners to protect and promote their ability to serve patients and the public. This network includes several thousand psychologists across the U.S., building relationships with members of Congress and their staff and educating them about practitioners and the value of psychological services. Coordinated through the APA Practice Organization’s Government Relations Office, the FAC network is ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice to support or oppose federal legislation and policies affecting practitioners. To get involved, email APA Practice Organization.