If elected, I will dedicate my presidential term to advancing the APA mission “to promote the advancement, communication, and application of psychological science and knowledge to benefit society and improve lives.” The goal for my presidency is to actualize my campaign slogan "Inclusive Psychology for All." Because I believe an ethos of inclusivity provides us with an opportunity to continue to dismantle the hierarchal and exclusive structures within all our communities, my personal action plan will be to amplify all our voices and create and support initiatives that engender belonging and inclusion within APA. I want all psychologists to feel that APA is a welcoming professional home.
For decades, I have been involved in APA, TPA, and NLPA giving my time and money in various capacities and have served on the executive boards of all of them. Most pertinent to my work in the APA, I have served on Council, the Council Leadership Team, the Board of Directors, and currently the Policy & Planning Board. I am a member of several divisions (17, 29, 35, 42, 44, and 45) and served them in various roles, including as president of the Society for the Psychology of Women. Additionally, I have served on the Board of Education Affairs, was an accreditation site visitor, and chaired the Committee on Women in Psychology.
As a result of my extensive involvement in a variety of roles in APA leadership, I have been privy to see how, as psychologists, we possess the unique opportunity as social change agents to educate and facilitate systemic improvements in our discipline, practices, advocacy, and association. I am committed to fostering professional and organizational change that is unapologetically feminist and pro-choice, anti-racist and multicultural, anti-carceral and anti-civilian ownership of weapons of war. Further, I am committed to a climate that eliminates ablism and facilitates access and embraces the fluidity of gender and diverse sexualities -- and all our intersectional personal and professional identities. APA has begun identifying pathways toward reparations for its own complicit history with oppression. As President, I will be proud to march arm-in-arm with you as we follow through on the Racial Equity Action Plan.
In All About Love, bell hooks wrote, “rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion” (p. 215). Therefore, we all must do what we can to address those adverse circumstances that put us and others at higher risks of preventing us from living our best lives. We have a vital role in helping society face the fact that our wellness is a social justice and human rights issue. We must use our psychological science to organize and advocate for population-level interventions that focus our attention on fighting the root causes of oppression and all its intersectional manifestations. In my work as President of APA, I will continue to promote the psychological science that acknowledges the profound impact that social context and lived experiences have in shaping our health and mental health. At the same time, together, we'll focus our efforts on our communal healing.
As a former tenured professor who is now in independent practice, I believe in our science and our practice, and most of all I believe in our students, who are our future.
As a clinician in private practice, my work is informed by evidence-based and empirically validated interventions. As an evaluator, the instruments I use and the interpretations I make also have strong validity for the populations with whom I work. Furthermore, as a meeting facilitator and group leader, I have been especially compelled by the contributions of our applied colleagues on what makes meetings effective, how to understand organizational change processes, and different leadership styles for different contexts.
I like to think of science as being the tide that raises all our boats so we can sail where we want and where we are needed. Our psychological science can provide both theories and approaches to address real-world concerns, for example, regarding bias in policing, community spread of disease, behavioral changes to reduce global warming, or advocating our legislators in support of gender-affirming care for transgender youth. Furthermore, to support our science, I believe we must broaden our base because we are in a critical time in our country where we need “all hands” to meet the needs of our communities while also addressing the science skepticism that exists in contemporary society.
Teachers of psychology are uniquely positioned to implement science-based literacy initiatives to help the public better evaluate and understand science and psychology's role in improving lives. This is critical because there aren’t enough scientists out there to fact check politicians and media personalities on the science behind the spread of communicable diseases, the validity of vaccines, and the public health impact of mask wearing, to give contemporary examples. We need to educate the public – and educating the over 300,000 annual AP psychology students and the over 100,000 graduated undergraduate majors in psychology annually seems to me to be a pretty good start. To get us there, however, we need to put additional resources into developing STEM career pathways from high school and undergraduate education to graduate school recruitment and retention endeavors.
As a socially responsible and justice-forward psychologist, I aspire to pay particular attention to how our decision-making, as reflected in our advocacy, policies, science, practice, and education and training, can be used to understand and dismantle oppression in all its intersectional forms while we simultaneously develop our capacity to liberate us all. This framework fuels my actions and serves as a method for me to hold myself accountable in all the roles I inhabit – as a family member, friend, colleague, psychologist, and leader.
I am sincerely motivated by visions of the future of psychology that inspires us to create inclusive spaces, equitable cultures, and socially just practices and policies that celebrate our intersectionality and diverse career paths and is welcoming to all who will seek out the science, applications, and practices of psychology and psychologists.
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