Chapter IV. Board of Directors (Part 1)
Location of retreat meetings
One Retreat meeting shall be held in a location selected by the President and the other be held in Washington, D.C. area. The Committee further recommends the following be considered when planning for retreat meetings: overall cost (travel and on-site expenses), number and necessity of APA staff, and preference given to locations that 1) cannot be selected for conventions due to size of the APA meetings, and 2) include constituencies that are under represented in APA membership.
Resolution to endorse a comprehensive mission of the National Institute of Mental Health
To endorse the necessity and appropriateness of a comprehensive research portfolio including behavioral research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), to be inclusive of research to help understand, treat and prevent mental illness and to further knowledge about the promotion and maintenance of mental health, and the study of psychological, social and legal factors that influence behavior.
WHEREAS behavioral research funded by the NIMH was recently attacked by a Stanley Foundation report as money misspent: “The funding by NIMH of diverse behavioral and social science research projects unrelated to severe mental illnesses effectively shifts funds originally allocated for research on severe mental illnesses to other purposes.”
WHEREAS NIMH-funded basic research with nonhuman animals has proven vitally important in understanding mental disorders, including depression: major advances in understanding, preventing, and treating depression can be traced to NIMH-funded work on fear conditioning in dogs conducted by Overmier and Seligman beginning in the late 1960s; from this, "learned helplessness" emerged and progressed to seminal work on the biochemical (Weiss, Anisman) and cognitive (Alloy & Abramson) bases of depression and from there into Seligman's current research on optimism and the prevention of depression during childhood;
WHEREAS basic research on prairie voles was criticized as irrelevant to NIMH’s mission (Stanley Foundation report), when in fact the vole model is important for studying social bonding and stranger identification at multiple levels of analysis (including evolutionary, genetic, neuroendocrinological, behavioral and social). Successful social bonding buffers against anxiety, while stranger identification may provoke anxiety and aggression;
WHEREAS, contrary to implications in the Stanley Foundation report, the empirical relationship between childhood peer rejection and subsequent mental illness is clear (Coie et al, 1995; Williams & Gilmour, 1994) and is an appropriate and necessary subject for research in the NIMH;
WHEREAS over five million Americans suffer from severe mental disorders including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, manic-depressive illness (bipolar disorder), major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder; and nineteen million adult Americans suffer from depression (NIMH Depression Fact Sheet). According to the NIMH, an estimated $30.4 billion was lost to the direct and indirect costs of depression in 1990.
Furthermore, “diagnosing and treating children and adolescents with depression is critical to prevent impairment in academic, social, emotional, and behavioral functioning and to allow children to live up to their full potential,” (NIMH Depression Fact Sheet); WHEREAS sources of human resilience—such as courage, hope, optimism, and the capacity for joy or future mindedness—may well serve as buffers against depression and other mental disorders (Seligman, 1998) and that line of research should be encouraged by NIMH;
WHEREAS, contrary to the groundless assertion in the Stanley Foundation report that NIMH’s original mission pointed to severe mental illnesses, and away from promoting mental health, the Public Health Service Act (Report 102-546) provides a clear picture of congressional intent regarding NIMH’s mission: “The research program established under this subpart shall include support for biomedical and behavioral neuroscience and shall be designed to further the treatment and prevention of mental illness, the promotion of mental health, and the study of psychological, social, and legal factors that influence behavior;”
WHEREAS behavioral research is critical to achieving congressional intent regarding the NIMH mission;
WHEREAS HIV/AIDS research fits within the intended congressional mission of NIMH. The NIMH primary prevention/intervention portfolio has produced interventions useful in preventing HIV in many populations at highest risk for the sexual transmission of HIV, including the homeless and mentally ill (NIH AIDS Research Program Evaluation). This research has improved our understanding of, and interventions related to, perceptions of risk, resilience to risk, self-efficacy and health promoting behaviors, and the sexual risk behavior of the mentally ill;
WHEREAS if NIMH were to limit its mission and fund research primarily on serious and persistent mental illnesses, scientific progress to treat and understand other mental disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, and the most common forms of depression, would be severely compromised. Likewise scientific progress to prevent youth violence and suicide, to address depression in the elderly, and to understand behavior change, the only current means of preventing the spread of HIV infection, would be seriously stifled;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association Board of Directors supports a comprehensive research portfolio at the National Institute of Mental Health. APA should work to ensure a balanced program of grant funding in mental health and mental illness, including basic and applied behavioral research at NIMH. APA should work to reject any call to limit the mission of NIMH to research on serious and persistent mental illnesses.
ADAMHA Reorganization Act, conference report 102-546, June 3, 1992, U.S. House of Representatives
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Stanley Foundation, “The Failure of the National Institute of Mental Health To Do Sufficient Research on Severe Mental Illnesses,“ December 6, 1999.
Weiss, J., Glazer, H., Pohorecky, L. (1974). Neurotransmitters and helplessness: A chemical bridge to depression? Psychology Today, 8, (7), 58-62.
Williams, B. & Gilmour, J. (1994). Sociometry and peer relationships. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 35, (6), 997-1013 .
APA resolution on racism and racial discrimination: A policy statement in support of the goals of the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance
WHEREAS during the past 52 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the global community has enacted numerous international human rights instruments, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and made important advances in the struggle against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance;
WHEREAS psychologists and other social scientists have established that racism, racial discrimination, and ethnic conflict and violence are pervasive and persisting challenges for the United States of America and the international community;
WHEREAS racism and racial discrimination threaten human development because of the obstacles which they pose to the fulfillment to basic human rights to survival, security, development, and social participation;
WHEREAS racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance have been shown to be attitudes and behaviors that are learned;
WHEREAS racism has been shown to have negative cognitive, behavioral, affective, and relational effects on both child and adult victims nationally and globally, historically and contemporarily;
WHEREAS racism has been shown to increase anxiety, depression, self-defeating thoughts, and avoidance behaviors and is linked to a host of medical complications in ethnic minority individuals;
WHEREAS racism has been shown to negatively affect ethnic minority children’s academic and social development, self-esteem, and personal feelings of efficacy;
WHEREAS racism and poverty are inextricably linked and both are risk factors for high levels of emotional distress;
WHEREAS racism intersects with gender in ways that result in different experiences of inequality by men and women, girls and boys;
WHEREAS racism negatively affects the cognitive and affective development of members of the dominant group by perpetuating distorted thinking about the self and members of marginalized or oppressed groups;
WHEREAS racism can promote anxiety and fear in the dominant group members whenever they are in the presence of, or anticipating the presence of, marginalized group members, often leading to acts of hostility and aggression toward ethnic minority individuals;
WHEREAS both active racism and passive acceptance of race-based privilege disrupts the mental health of both perpetrators and victims of racial injustice;
WHEREAS the United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2001 as the International Year of Mobilization against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance;
WHEREAS the purpose of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, to be held in South Africa, August 31 to September 7, 2001, the preparatory meetings which will precede it, is to raise public awareness of racism and racial discrimination globally and to mobilize political commitment to eliminate racism and promote full and effective social justice;
WHEREAS the American Psychological Association (APA) has shown its support for the struggle against racism by its: (1) support for the ongoing efforts of the United Nations to promote and defend human rights; (2) adoption of UN human rights instruments as standards for its boards, committees, and membership at large; (3) establishment of the Committee of Ethnic Minority Affairs within the central governance structure of the Association; (4) adoption of policies against various forms of discrimination, as well as policies in favor of increased access of racial/ethnic minorities in all aspects of the profession; (5) establishment of the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues, whose journal focuses on mental health issues of ethnic minorities; (6) support for interdivisional collaboration to convene a biannual National Multicultural Conference and Summit that addresses issues of racism, oppression and intolerance of social diversity; (7) dedication of the 1999 Annual Convention to Racial and other Diversity Issues in psychology; (8) sponsorship of the 1997 APA Miniconvention on Psychology and Racism; and (9) support, since 1997, of the APA National Conversation on Psychology and Racism;
WHEREAS the struggle against racism requires continuing active resistance against it at all levels and areas in the field of psychology and the use of psychological science and practice to promote social justice and human welfare nationally and globally;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association denounces racism in all its forms for its negative psychological, social, educational, and economic effects on human development throughout the life span;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA further the objectives of the 2001 United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance through efforts focused on elimination of all forms of racism and racial/ethnic discrimination at all levels of the science and practice of psychology in the United States;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA will: (1) pursue diverse racial representation at all levels of APA governance; (2) call upon all psychologists to eliminate processes and procedures that perpetuate racial injustice in research, practice, training and education; (3) call upon all psychologists to speak out against racism and take proactive steps to prevent the occurrence of intolerant or racist acts; and (4) promote psychological research on the alleviation of racial/ethnic injustice.
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Bernard, N., Holliday, B.G., Crump, S.L. and Sanchez, N. (1998). Psychology and Racism: Annotated Bibliography. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs.
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Relevance to Psychology and Psychologists and Importance to Psychology or to Society as a Whole
The convening of the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (WCAR) to be held in Durban, South Africa in August/September 2001, has been preceded by 50 years of activity by the United Nations (UN) and the world community to eradicate all forms of racism and racial discrimination. In fact, one of the guiding principles of the UN, created in 1945 at the end of World War II, is the principle of nondiscrimination on the grounds of race. This principle is clearly established in the preamble of the charter of the UN and a number of its human rights declarations and conventions, especially the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Despite continuing efforts by the international community, racial discrimination, ethno-political conflicts and violence persist throughout the world. In recent years, in addition to interstate conflicts, the world has witnessed intra-state campaigns of ethnic cleansing, frequently amounting to genocidal proportions and resulting in the destruction of social-political economies of entire nations. The decision to convene the WCAR reflects both international concern for the rise in the incidents of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance as well as recognition of the challenges and opportunities in combating these phenomena in an increasingly globalized world. The objectives of the conference are:
To review progress made in the fight against racism and racial discrimination, in particular since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to reappraise the obstacles to progress and to identify ways to overcome them;
To consider ways and means to better ensure the application of existing standards and their implementation to combat racism and racial discrimination;
To increase the level of awareness about the scourge of racism and racial discrimination;
To formulate concrete recommendations on ways to increase the effectiveness of the activities and mechanisms of the UN through programs aimed at combating racism and racial discrimination;
To review the political, historical, economic, social, cultural, and other factors leading to racism and racial discrimination;
To review the political, historical, economic, social, cultural, and other factors leading to racism and racial discrimination;
To formulate concrete recommendations to further action-oriented national, regional, and international measures aimed at combating all forms of racism and racial discrimination; and
To draw up concrete recommendations to ensure that the UN has the necessary resources for its activities to combat racism and racial discrimination.
In consideration of the current and historical contexts and goals of the WCAR, the proposed resolution, as a policy statement in support of the goals of the United Nation’s World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance is both relevant and important for the following reasons:
First, the resolution is consonant with APA's overarching purpose to advance psychology as a science and as a profession, dedicated to understanding commonalties and differences in human behavior and promoting human development and welfare. As such, the resolution is intended to serve as a catalyst within APA's national and international membership for reducing interpersonal, institutional, and societal sources and consequences of racism.
Second, the resolution is supported by a vast body of United States and international psychological research, accumulated over more than half a century. Knowledge of human behavioral and psychological principles is of critical importance to fulfilling several of the goals of the WCAR, including the development and implementation of effective national and international policies and programs against racism.
Third, the resolution seeks to build upon APA's policies and programs against discrimination on the basis of race and APA's efforts to support the struggle against racism and other forms of intolerance.
Fourth, the resolution is consistent with APA's purposes in seeking accreditation as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations (UN). Under the guidelines for NGO participation, APA shares the commitment with other accredited NGOs to disseminate information about the UN and global issues to APA members and affiliates throughout the world and to contribute its expertise and resources toward addressing the challenges of global transformation.
Quality and Quantity of Psychological Data and Conceptualization Relevant to the Resolution
Racism, racial intolerance, and xenophobia have permeated the research agendas of psychologists for decades. For example, psychologists have developed major programs of research focused on such topics as:
The prevalence of racism, racial intolerance , prejudice and related acts of power, violence, and fear (Hawley & Jackson, 1995; Katz, 1991; Fritzsche, 1994; Schuman, Steeh & Bobo, 1985; Schutte, 1995; Smith, 1974; Sniderman & Piazza, 1993; Thomas, 1995; Katz & Taylor, 1988); The insidious nature of their expression (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986; Kaplan & Rogers, 1994; Rosenbaum, 1992; Baird & Rosenbaum, 1992);
The measurement of related attitudes, dispositions, and personality (Duckitt, 1993; 1991; Dunbar, 1995; Eisenman, 1993; Kleinpenning & Hagendoorn, 1993; Landrine & Klonoff, 1996; Fazio, Jackson, Dunton, & Williams, 1995);
And the profound and penetrating impact of these experiences on: children (Mane, 1993; Powlishta, Serbin, Doyle, & White, 1994; Boushel, 1994), adults (Herbert, 1990 ), the elderly (Kastenbaum, 1991), families (Boyd-Franklin, 1993), schools (Ford, 1990; King, 1991), colleges (Farrell & Jones, 1988; Feagin, 1992; McCormack, 1995), various cultural groups (Lempert & Monsma, 1994; Deyhle, 1995; Hsai, 1986; Ojanuga, 1993; Ray, 1988, 1990; Roberts, 1988), countries of the world (Stones, 1994; Streicker, 1995; Verkuyten & Masson, 1995;Wetherell & Potter, 1992), the world of work (Feagin & Imani, 1994; McConahay, 1983; Okocha, 1994; Sidanius, Pratto, Martin, & Stallworth, 1991; Sidanius & Pratto, 1993; Telles, 1994; Yamato, 1994), politics (Drew, 1982; Green & Waxman, 1987; Hagen, 1995, Koocher, 1994;Laird, 1994; Moskowitz & Stroh, 1994), the legal system (Fukurai, Buler & Krooth, 1991; Goetting, 1985; Lipton, 1983; Pfeifer & Ogloff, 1991), the healthcare system (Byrd, 1990; Cully, 1996; Funkhouser, Moser, 1990; Glastra & Kats, 1992), mental health (Jones, 1992), religion (Herek, 1987; Spaights, 1991), the media (Kellner, Hall, Pieterse, Hooks, Rhodes, Ehrenreich, Lipsitz, Bobo, & Gross, 1991), and sports (Ashe, 1988; Brooks & Althouse, 1993).
Most studies and other scholarly discourse on the topics of racism, racial intolerance, and xenophobia have focused on the victim, with particular attention given to the impact acts of racial aggression have had on their lives. Contemporary scholarship in this area has increasingly focused on the strengths, growth, and healing of the survivor. The study of perpetrators as individuals or groups who engage in these forms of aggressive experiences has received less, though significant, attention in the literature. Considerably less attention has been devoted to studying the immediate and extended families of the victim, particularly the emotional, psychological and sometimes physiological aftermath that now challenges their lives. The communities wherein the victims reside may also struggle with the emotional upheaval caused by acts of racism, racial intolerance, and xenophobia. Ongoing research that aims at identifying the factors contributing to the successful or less than satisfactory regrouping of the impacted communities seems warranted. Finally, the consequential aftermath experienced by the immediate and extended families and communities of the perpetrators of racial hatred also merits closer psychological investigation.
Likely Degree of Consensus Among APA Constituents
The overwhelming majority of the constituencies of the American Psychological Association are likely to strongly endorse the resolution on Racism and Racial Discrimination. To a large extent, this is due to the strong psychological research base related to these issues. Early work in social psychology indicated how stereotyping and prejudice led to the development of racist attitudes and behavior.
Social psychologists also provided models of how racist attitudes could be prevented. These and other related psychological research have served to guide and justify APA’s involvement in a broad agenda of related activities. For example, APA’s former President Martin Seligman, PhD, encouraged APA’s involvement in efforts related to ethno-political warfare and peace (which is also an issue of central concern to the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence–APA Division 48), while APA former President Richard Suinn, PhD, dedicated the 1999 APA convention to racial and other diversity issues. APA’s Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs sponsored a major 1997 miniconvention on psychology and racism and a continuing APA national conversation on psychology and racism.
Additionally, APA sought to eliminate racism and promote diversity within its own organizational structure by promoting the inclusion of ethnic minorities, including establishing an Office and Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs and the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (APA Division 45). In addition, APA actively seeks to increase the number of ethnic minority psychologists through its sustained support of the APA Minority Fellowship Program for over 25 years. These and other past and ongoing initiatives by APA are evidence of the longstanding importance of issues of racism and anti-racism to psychologists, as well as the broad support and consensus that exist among diverse APA constituencies for the proposed resolution on Racism and Racial Discrimination.
Likelihood of the Resolution Having a Constructive Impact on Public Opinion/Policy, Assessment, Consultation, and Training
APA is a global organization (Rosenweig, 1992). Taking a public stand against racism, in all its forms and manifestations, deploring the continuing exploitation of all peoples based upon racial background, can have profound influences upon public opinion. We have learned over the years that through public outreach the APA can play a very constructive role in educating the public (e.g. Feinberg, 2000). Taking a principled stand against the worse of the human experience cannot but help in providing a solid public image and the opportunity for delivering a clear message on the fundamental human values shared by members of APA. In addition to the direct effects in advertising, testimony, public materials, a firm and aggressive stance will also have a positive effect on the development of research and research base that directly attacks the fundamental aspects of the cognitive, social and affective bases in stereotyping, bigotry, and prejudice that support individual and interpersonal dimensions of the problem (Aboud & Levy, 1999). In addition, through work that targets the institutional support mechanisms and cultural bases of racism and discrimination (e.g. Jones, 1997), the public stance can help in furthering the nature of empirical research (Aboud & Levy, 1999). Finally, through processes of education and accreditation, the APA can begin to legitimately have training modules and programs that include the ways in which the fundamental education of psychologists can be influenced to reflect greater attention to the problem of racism and discrimination and their influence on problems of well-being and positive psychological functioning (Boyd-Franklin, 1988; Herrell, Merritt & Kalu, 1998; Pedersen, 2000).
As has been made clear in prior research, ethnic and racial minorities are not the only victims of racism (e.g. Jackson & Inglehart, 1995), and societies in which such bigotry and expressions of hatred are tolerated are in general less successful in providing for the material, social and psychological well-being of all of its citizens (United Nations, 1994). APA can take the lead in thinking about community consultation models that address the needs of the victims of racism and discrimination (Sue, 1991). Similar to the interventions now targeted for schools that are the objects of violence, programs can be designed to address circumstances, like the recent situations in Cincinnati and in New York City involving police killings of unarmed racial minorities (Hawley, Banks, Padilla, Pope-Davis & Schofield, 1995). Workshops at meetings and conventions, special educational programs for continuing education credits, and concern with ways of addressing individual racism and discriminatory practices, are all reasonable and acceptable ways of thinking about maximizing individual well-being (Franklin & Jackson, 1990) and the overall objective of a global psychological organization like the APA (Rosenweig, 1992)
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