President's Column

As I write this final column of my presidency, I am returning home from the APA Science Leadership Conference, during which I spent a day visiting Texas congressional representatives with fellow psychologists. We urged them to increase funding for National Institutes of Health by 3.3 percent, to reject any amendments that would defund peer-reviewed research grants, and to support funding research at current levels for the DoD and the VA.

The members who participated in the Science Leadership Advocacy activities were very impressed with APA's ongoing efforts on behalf of psychological science. I am too. APA's power to advance the interests of psychology is a theme that has resonated during my presidency. Nationally and internationally, APA is viewed as a powerful organization with the ability to advocate for science, education, practice and the public interest. The association's ability to showcase in many different contexts the incredible work psychologists do in every aspect of life contributes to a vibrant discipline. APA does an amazing amount of work for its members and psychology overall. It strives to meet the varied and broad needs of the 154,000 members. Almost 600 staff and over 300 governance members are continuously working to promote even greater accomplishments and to retain APA's position as a strong, relevant organization.

I saw this firsthand this year as APA president. Every APA president embarks on projects and initiatives important to their values. I feel very fortunate to have highlighted several topics including immigration, educational disparities, discrimination and the need to enhance diversity. Task forces examined these issues from an evidence-based psychological perspective; I am grateful for the hard work of each and every member of the three task forces. The reports are in various stages of completion, and hopefully, APA's Council of Representatives will review and "receive" them as resources at its February and August meetings. The reports will then be available on the APA website. This is a time when many sciences are addressing critical issues in society, and I am proud that APA is contributing its psychological science to make a difference in public life.

The council will also have the opportunity to review a resolution that highlights the numerous meta-analyses of research that demonstrates psychotherapy effectiveness. In addition, a council-supported task force is working to develop guidelines on telepsychology with the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and the APA Insurance Trust. As president, I was also honored to represent APA at numerous events this year. Among the most powerful for me was the dedication of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Interpretative Learning Center in honor of several hundred Japanese Americans who were interned there during World War II. Another significant event was the sixth annual Voices Awards hosted by Health and Human Services, the Center for Mental Health Services and SAMHSA. The awards honor writers and producers in the entertainment industry who highlight stories of resilience, courage and recovery from mental illness and/or substance abuse.

My international travel to represent APA included the Interamerican Congress of Psychology in Medellin, Columbia where the major theme was "Social Transformation for the Health of the People," the European Congress of Psychology, in Istanbul, Turkey, with a theme of "Ethics and Social Justice," and the first ever Caribbean Regional Conference of Psychology in Nassau, Bahamas, with a theme of "Psychological Science and Well-Being: Building Bridges for Tomorrow."

In closing, I would like to remind you that I am only the first Latina, the fourth person of color and the 13th woman to serve as APA president in the association's 120-year history. The noble discipline of psychology continues to become more diverse, reflecting the changing demographics of this country. My hope is that a wide variety of psychologists continue to enter the pipeline of leadership in psychology and in APA. It has been an honor for me to have this tremendous opportunity. Thank you.