2012 APA convention highlights

Highlights included symposiums on health disparities faced by women and promoting the health and wellness of women with disabilities, as well as roundtable discussions on various topics

Women under siege: Disparities and despair

Women and girls are the disproportionate victims of gender-related violence and discrimination, sexual assault and exploitation, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and poverty.

From left to right: Drs. Ramani Durvasula, Bryanna French, M. Dolores Cimini, Cynthia de las Fuentes, and Faye Reimers

On Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, Committee on Disability Issues in Psychology (CDIP), Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA), the Ad Hoc Committee on Psychology and AIDS (COPA), Committee on Socioeconomic Status (CSES) and the Committee on Women in Psychology (CWP) convened a collaborative symposium entitled, “Women Under Siege: Disparities and Despair,” which expanded on the definition of health disparities by exploring contributing factors to these disparities such as gender, race/ethnicity, disability, lack of education and socioeconomic status.

The symposium, chaired by Cynthia de las Fuentes, PhD (CWP chair), included presentations by Dolores Cimini, PhD (APA-NSF WWDSE co-chair) (Violence Against Women with Disabilities, PDF, 622KB); Bryanna French, PhD (Sexual Coercion and Sexualization of Black Girls: Consequences to Psychological Well-being and Sexual Health); Ramani Durvasula, PhD (CWP member (HIV-I and Women: An Evolving Epidemic); and Faye Reimers, PhD (Poverty as an Open Crusade Against Women).

Presentation highlights
  • Women with disabilities report emotional, physical or sexual abuse at the same rate of women without disabilities. 

  • Black women’s sexuality is rooted in racialized and gendered oppression. 

  • Internalizing sexual stereotypes can harm self-esteem of women and girls.

  • There is a need to address HIV from a social justice perspective (e.g., poverty/access to care, trauma, psychosocial factors, trafficking, reproductive health, mental health, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), international picture and risk, prevention and power).

  • Women make up 70 percent of the world’s poor and more than 50 percent of poor in the United States; Poverty results in abuse, trafficking, trauma and widespread violations of human rights.

Promoting the health and wellness of women with disabilities

On Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, the Committee on Women in Psychology (CWP), the Committee on Socioeconomic Status (CSES), the Committee on Disability Issues in Psychology (CDIP), and the Committee on Aging (CONA) convened a collaborative symposium entitled, “Promoting the Health and Wellness of Women with Disabilities.”

From left to right: Drs. Kathleen Brown, Shari Miles-Cohen, and Julie WilliamsThe symposium, chaired by Nancy Sidun, PsyD, ABPP, ATR (former CWP chair, APA Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls (TFTWG) chair), included presentations by Erin Andrews, PhD (CDIP member) (Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women with Disabilities); Kathleen S. Brown, PhD (APA Council of Representatives (COR) member)(Military Sexual Trauma); and Shari Miles-Cohen, PhD (WPO) (I2E: Promoting the Health and Wellness of Women with Disabilities). Julie Williams, PsyD, CRC, ABPP (RP) (CWP member), served as discussant.


The symposium, based upon research presented at the 2011 Inequity to Equity conference, highlighted recommendations for research and training for psychologists and other health care and service providers working with women with disabilities.  

Presentation highlights
  • Dr. Miles-Cohen discussed the development of an integrated health care agenda to improve health outcomes for women with disabilities, with recommendations in five categories: Research, Practice, Education and Training, Public Awareness and Public Policy. 

  • Dr. Andrews highlighted the need for information on recognition of women with disabilities as sexual beings; preparedness for physical intimacy; informed, sensitive health care; and, unrestricted access to sexual and reproductive health care. 

  • Dr. Brown discussed Military Sexual Trauma (MST) as a significant  source of traumatic stress among both men (4.2 percent) and women (71 percent) seeking VA disability for PTSD; PTSD had a stronger association with medical co-morbidity (in total and across various medical condition categories) than substance use disorders (SUD) among female and male Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans.

Research and training funding

On Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, the Committee on Women in Psychology (CWP) and the Women's Programs Office (WPO) hosted a roundtable discussion entitled, “An Insider’s Guide to Research and Training Opportunities: Talk with NIH Staff.” This session offered the opportunity for attendees to meet individually or in small groups with representatives from various NIH agencies to learn more about funding opportunities and to answer any specific questions regarding research ideas, reviews, appropriate funding opportunities and career development.

2012 discussion representatives
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Dionne Jones, PhD, Co-chair, Cheryl Boyce, PhD, and Karen Sicrocco, PhD;

  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) — Mariela Shirley, PhD, Co-chair, and Michael Hilton, PhD; and

  • National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) — LeShawndra Price, PhD.  

The WPO and CWP would like to thank all the representatives for their participation and extend special thank you to Dr. Lula Beatty for her continued assistance with the coordination of this session.

Journal editors roundtable

One of the ongoing priorities of the APA Committee on Women in Psychology (CWP) and the Women’s Programs Office (WPO), has been monitoring the number of APA journal editors who are women. On Friday, Aug. 3, CWP and the WPO hosted a roundtable discussion entitled, “Why YOU should Consider Becoming a Journal Editor: A Panel Discussion with Women Journal Editors.” The discussion, chaired by Joan Chrisler, PhD, (2012 CWP Chair-elect), included journal editors Caroline Clauss-Ehlers, PhD (Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development); Jacquelynne Eccles, PhD (Developmental Psychology); Sherry Hamby, PhD (Psychology of Violence); Ellyn Kaschak, PhD (Women and Therapy); and Susan Opotow, PhD (Peace and Conflict). Editors shared their experiences and offered advice for those interested in pursuing an editorship (i.e., preparation and skills required for editorships, workload and goals). Journal editors, associate editors and reviewers, play a critical role as stewards for the science of psychology. Serving as an editor can be both rewarding and demanding, however, increasing the proportion of women who participate as editors is a high priority.