APA Council of Representatives Meeting Highlights – February 2015

By: Roberta L. Nutt, Changming Duan, and Barry Chung

 

Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology

By a nearly unanimous vote, the council voted to approve the Commission on Accreditation’s new Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology. The new standards will replace the current Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation and will go into effect for all accredited programs on Jan. 1, 2017. The original Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation were adopted in 1995. The new standards reflect changes in the profession since that time. Look for a full report on the new guidelines in the May Monitor.

Competencies for Psychology Practice in Primary Care

The Council adopted an inter-organizational document that outlines competencies for psychology practice in primary care. The document is the product of a nine-organization work APA2014_2group including APA and three APA divisions, the Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers, Council of Clinical Health Psychology Training Programs, and Society for Behavioral Medicine, Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and the VA Psychology Training Council. The competencies document articulates the knowledge and skills health-service psychologists need to practice in primary-care settings. It will serve as a resource for graduate-level psychology education and training programs, students and current practitioners. (See www.apa.org/ed/resources/competencies-practice.pdf.)

Professional Practice Guidelines: Guidance for Developers and Users

A third action concerning professional practice was the adoption of a new policy document, Professional Practice Guidelines: Guidance for Developers and Users. It replaces two earlier documents on practice guidelines from 2002 and 2005. The new policy document provides updated guidance for creating professional practice guidelines and gives current examples of such guidelines.

Translating science into public policy

Council devoted a full day of its two-and-a-half-day meeting to a strategic issue discussion focused on the goal of translating psychological science into public policy. Council members participated in one of three break-out discussions, each focused on a central goal: advocacy, educating the public and translational research.

 

Finances

Council also received a report from APA Treasurer Bonnie Markham, PhD, PsyD, and Chief Financial Officer Archie Turner. They reported to the council that the association’s finances are strong despite a small deficit budget this year. Overall, APA is in compliance with all of its debt covenants and continues to benefit from sizable long-term investments. The association’s real estate holdings, its headquarters building and a second nearby office building, are fully leased and continue to grow in value.

 

Change in the association rules to require boards and committees to have at least one member who is an early career psychologist. Early career psychologists are defined as psychologists within 10 years of earning their doctoral degree. A few boards and committees will be exempted from this rule due to their special requirements for service, such as the Fellows Committee, since members of this group must have attained fellows status, which requires candidates to have 10 years of postdoctorate experience. APA’s boards and committees will have until 2017 to fully comply with the new rule.

 

Plans to implement changes in the association bylaws and rules as per votes taken at the council’s August 2014 meeting. The changes are related to the composition and election of the board of directors and are an outgrowth of the Good Governance Project, which was designed to open the board up to direct representation by the general membership. All bylaws changes require a vote of the membership. That vote is expected to take place this fall by mail ballot.

 

APA’s 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. In particular, it recommends against reliance on journal-impact factors as measures of the quality of individual research articles or of an individual scientists’ contributions.

 

Change in the bylaws and association rules to allow one seat on APA’s Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) to be held by an APA High School or Community College Teacher Affiliate member. An amendment to the APA bylaws to implement the change to the BEA composition will be sent to the membership for a vote this fall.

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