From the CEO
Psychology has much to offer society. Likewise, APA's mission — to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives — is broad and ambitious. It is a goal we could not achieve without a family of organizations, each focused on a part of the mission, to serve the whole. One of APA's most important partners is the American Psychological Association Practice Organization (APAPO). A companion organization to APA, APAPO is a 501(c) 6 organization under the Internal Revenue Service code, giving it fewer tax advantages than APA, but allowing for targeted work on issues that directly affect practitioners' livelihoods. APAPO can engage in political advocacy, lobby for the financial interests of practitioners and spend money to lobby without any imposed legal limit. Because the IRS prohibits APA, a 501(c) 3 organization, to give resources to APAPO, the latter organization depends almost entirely on licensed practitioners' payment of the practice assessment. Those funds, in turn, support advocacy for professional issues that APA cannot. Those paying the assessment become members of APAPO in addition to APA. APAPO is governed by a Board of Directors — the same board that serves as the executive committee of APA's Council of Representatives.
APAPO activities include lobbying for federal laws that support professional practice and the consumers of psychological services — such as full mental health and addictions treatment parity; advancing and protecting fair reimbursement for psychological services; supporting lawsuits against harmful managed-care practices; and protecting the doctoral degree as the standard for licensure.
Within its advocacy portfolio, APA works to advance the interests of psychological practice, science, education and public interest, using its credibility as a science-based nonprofit to focus on the myriad public benefits derived from work in these areas. Having APAPO supplement this work accomplishes two goals for psychology — providing targeted, uncapped resources for advocacy for the financial benefit of practitioners and making available greater resources for advocacy for psychological science, public interest and education issues by APA.
Another important advocacy group is the Education Advocacy Trust (EdAT), a legal structure within APAPO. EdAT specifically advocates for the advancement of education in psychology and for psychology's role in other areas of education such as the use of research-backed methods to enhance learning. APA's Board of Educational Affairs provides administrative oversight of EdAT activities. EdAT is funded by donations; it does not receive support from practice assessment payments. Examples of EdAT's legislative priorities and successes include the creation and funding of the federal Graduate Psychology Education program and campus mental health services programs.
APA's advocacy in support of psychological science depends entirely on in-house staffing and resources. To extend its support for psychological science, APA partners with many organizations within and beyond the APA family. As a member of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and of the Consortium of Social Science Associations, APA joins with dozens of other scientific societies to advance our common interests. These include advocating for federal investments in social and behavioral science research and making sure that policymakers are informed about how psychological science addresses such societal challenges as drug abuse, violence, product safety, education and health.
Finally, APA's philanthropic arm, the American Psychological Foundation (APF), provides financial support for innovative research and programs that enhance the power of psychology to elevate the human condition and advance human potential now and for generations to come. APF's competitive grants program supports the development of psychological talent and mobilizes psychology's resources to address critical societal problems. Last year, APF awarded $720,000 in grants to psychology students and early career professionals in support of their professional development and research.
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