Committee on Rural Health (CRH) 2010 Annual Report

Members: James L. Werth, Jr., PhD (Chair); Shannon Ledesma Jones, PhD; Sid O'Bryant, PhD; Diana L. Prescott, PhD; Sandy Rose, PhD; Carolyn S. Schroeder, PhD; Kristi Sands Van Sickle, PsyD; Tawa M. Witko, PsyD


The vision of the APA Committee on Rural Health is to achieve the full and optimal impact of the science, practice and advocacy of psychology in rural America. To this end, the Committee envisions the integration of rural perspectives in APA policy and APA’s efforts to advance the creation, communication, and application of psychological science to benefit society and improve people’s lives.

2010 Activities

1. Goal: Raise awareness for the importance of the role of psychologists within integrated care and promote policies that encourage psychology to get training in these settings.

In 2008, the Committee on Rural Health started the Primary Care Association Initiative. The committee put significant emphasis on increasing the number of psychologists and psychology trainees in federally qualified health centers. In 2010 as part of the strategic planning process, the Committee recommended that APA develop a governance body and supporting staff members to prepare the association and the profession for psychologists to work in increasing numbers in integrated settings. The committee reached out to other boards and committees for support. In addition, the committee has been working with outside groups such as Primary Care Coordinating Group (now a part of Division 38) and the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association. Through the rural health Listserv and other communication channels the committee will continue to track and promote this issue.

2. Goal: Communicate effectively with the Rural Health Coordinator Network and rural psychologists, students, early career psychologists, and other interested groups.

The committee started to review its procedures for promoting rural issues with the members of the Rural Health Coordinator Network and other APA constituencies. The committee had a successful symposium at the 2010 APA Convention in San Diego, CA. Following the convention session, several of the presenters and attendees joined the committee for their business meeting. The committee will continue to discuss ways to promote rural issues in ways that are tailored to specific audiences.

3. Goal: Promote rural aspects of the prescriptive authority agenda (RxP) and advocate for rural use of telehealth (CE, Supervision, Consultation, Direct Service).

The committee continued to monitor the prescriptive authority agenda in the states. The committee received a report from Deborah Baker, Director for Prescriptive Authority, on the progress of prescriptive authority legislation in the states. In 2010 the APA hosted the meeting of the designation committee for programs in psychopharmacology. CRH is very interested in the prescriptive authority and will continue to track this issue and how it might increase access to psychological services in rural areas.

The committee wrote a comment to an implementing resolution of the Commission on Accreditation regarding restrictions on the use of Telesupervision. The comment was not adopted by CoA, but the committee will continue to monitor the literature on telehealth and Telesupervision.