Leadership and Governance

Gwendolyn Puryear Keita, PhD

Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest (BAPPI)

The Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest (BAPPI) shall consist of not fewer than 10 members elected for three year terms. Nine of the members must be members of the American Psychological Association. The tenth member shall be a public member appointed by BAPPI for up to a three year term. The mission of the Board shall be to encourage the generation and application of psychological knowledge on issues important to human well being. It shall have general concern for those aspects of psychology that involve solutions to the fundamental problems of human justice and that promote equitable and just treatment of all segments of society.

BAPPI shall encourage the utilization and dissemination of psychological knowledge to advance equal opportunity and to foster empowerment of those who do not share equitably in society's resources.

The Board shall be concerned with increasing scientific understanding and training in regard to those aspects that pertain to, but are not limited to culture, class, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability.

The Board shall support improving educational and training opportunities for all persons in psychology and continue the promotion of culturally sensitive models for the delivery of psychological services.

The Board shall be sensitive to the entire range of APA activities as they pertain to the mission of this Board and make recommendations regarding ethically and socially responsible actions by APA when appropriate.

The composition of the Board shall reflect diversity in terms of ethnic minorities, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities and religion, as well as the range of interests characteristic of psychology in all its aspects. APA Bylaws, Article XI, 12.

Words from Allen M. Omoto, PhD (2013 Chair)

Dr. Omoto The roots of my public interest commitment likely lie in the fact that I grew up as a bit of an outsider. I was the only Japanese-American kid in my class, and I also grappled with same-sex attractions, eventually identifying as a gay man. My father’s family was interned during World War II; their “crime” was being of Japanese descent and living in the western U.S. My father talked about these experiences, and through his framing of them, I developed a practical and symbolic understanding of justice and an appreciation for how easily it can be lost or abridged.

Like many people, I gravitated toward psychology because I wanted to make a difference. In college, I worked with individuals with mental illnesses, people with disabilities, and children. I very much wanted to help, but I also was fascinated by scientific methodology and the rigorous and creative study of human behavior. Ultimately, I opted to pursue graduate study in social psychology and my scientific training serves as an important guide for my public interest work.

In my first academic position, I involved myself in many activities that were questionable from an academic career standpoint, but that fulfilled me personally and heightened my public interest commitment. I worked with community members in conducting a needs analysis and in founding and administering an AIDS service organization. This frontline experience with community organizing and delivering support and educational services, especially for vulnerable and stigmatized populations, led me to pursue policy experience at a broader level. Specifically, I spent a year working as a legislative aide in the U.S. House of Representatives as APA’s inaugural William A. Bailey AIDS Policy Congressional Fellow. This experience widened my perspective on the roles of psychology in public life and also pushed my research and training interests further toward social issues and direct and practical concerns.

My involvement in APA governance is a natural extension of these experiences. I am committed to principles of social justice and inclusion, but especially to more strongly connecting psychological science and social policies. In my view, psychological knowledge and perspectives need to be more fully utilized in policy formulation and evaluation. As BAPPI chair, I look forward to working with APA staff and members to explore and better exploit opportunities for psychologists to make a difference.


  • 2013 Chair: Allen M. Omoto, PhD, (2013)
  • Toni Antonucci, PhD (2012-14) 
  • Meg Bond, PhD (2012-14) 
  • M. Dolores Cimini, PhD (2013-15) 
  • Linda M. Forrest, PhD (2013-15) 
  • Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Public Member (2012-14) 
  • Douglas McDonald, PhD (2011-13) 
  • William D. Parham, PhD (2013-15)
  • Luis A. Vargas, PhD (2011-13) 
Board of Directors Liaisons
  • Nadine Joy Kaslow, PhD
  • Jennifer Kelly, PhD

Staff Liaisons

Donnie Graham (email)
(202) 336-6050

Sue Houston (email)
(202) 336-6144