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MOPA 2018 Letter to Dr. Evans regarding STPAs

The state associations

The state associations are having difficulty maintaining their expertise Excellence has always been important to APA. We want our psychologists to be practicing at the top of their licenses. Organizationally we want APA to be a model of excellence. When I testify at our state legislature, I speak of the need for access to expert mental and behavioral healthcare. And though we all wish the same for our state organizations, we do not always receive the attention and resources necessary to accomplish this, particularly the small and moderate associations. This is a shame. Because for many people in our individual states, the state association not APA, is the voice of psychology and what is meant by professional psychology. State associations are losing their expertise in four ways: 1) State association financial problems 2) ED turnover 3) The replacing of full time EDs with part-time EDs, 4) Rapid board member turnover, and 5) Lack of support for PLC attendance. A large majority of our associations that are small to medium in size report that they are simply financially unstable. Last year alone we saw 30% turnover in our states’ executive director positions. Many of our executive directors are part-time employees with a limited understanding of the field of psychology, let alone having an understanding as to how APA works. One of the state association executive directors works only one day a week. With each turnover, often prompted by financial problems, our state associations lose more and more of the expertise necessary to work with APA effectively and to promote psychology and APA’s agenda in their states. It is flattering to hear repeatedly that the state associations “are where the rubber meets the road.” But there is little discussion as to what resources our associations’ need or how they best might be structured to meet this lofty expectation. The tremendous pace of the turnover of state association executive directors undercuts CESPPA’s ability to effectively organize any thoughtful advocacy with APA or to be able to educate APA on associations’ needs. A majority of the emails on the CESPPA listserv is about saying hi to new EDs, good-by to old ones, and educating the new EDs regarding to how the system works. Another contributing factor is the rapid turnover of association board members. Small associations do not typically have the committee structure to help buffer the additional loss of expertise that occurs because of this. With increased contributions expected from associations in order to attend PLC, we are now seeing associations send less members to the conference, which impairs the transfer of knowledge about APA. Even one of the larger associations informed that they were unable to afford to send their executive director this year. Greater direct financial support would clearly help, but APA could also be helpful in better promoting membership in the state associations to its current members. APA could also purchase advertising for its products from the state associations or act as sponsors to our state conferences. It would provide speakers to our conferences at no cost. It could reduce the costs and fees to participate in PLC. Difficulty staying connected to APA Relationships are the key to any effective business operation. When executive directors are new and have a short tenure, they are constantly trying to understand their own state organization, let alone their more complex connection with APA. This makes it hard to use APA as a resource and to be a resource to APA. Shaping the Landscape of Missouri Psychology

Recognition of the state associations within APA needs to be ongoing This is a difficult issue to address. I am personally very grateful for the support the CAPP grants offer our association. I appreciate the guidance and expertise Susie Lazaroff and Dan Abrahamson and various offices within APA provide. Nevertheless, I believe that we are somewhat invisible to APA as a whole, particularly on a daily basis. We are not part of the organizational charts. And as we all know, organizational charts are a clear indicator of in and out groups. They define the relationships and relative rank and authority and power between the various parts of an organization. If the state associations are truly a critical part of APA, they should be represented in some fashion on the organizational chart to inform those working within APA of the state association’s importance. This could be done by including CESPPA in any organizational chart. There was an interesting absence at PLC this year. There were no shout-outs for the most part with what various individuals and associations had accomplished that was special this year. These shout-outs were usually done by Dr. Nordal, who had a lesser role in the conference this year and who rightfully needed time to say good-by to all of us. I do appreciate the recognition I personally received from Division 31 this year, but there were likely a lot of association heroes who were left unrecognized. It is difficult for those who are unrecognized to make significant contributions. State associations need a clearer and more consistent voice within APA If our diversity groups have taught us anything, it is the importance of listening for the voice that has not been heard. If APA is to truly represent all psychologists, it should encourage a more bottom-up agenda and listening style, starting arguably with the needs of its state associations. We appreciate the recent council move inititated by Peter Oppenheimer, our own Kenneth Baum, and xxx to guarantee each association a spot on the APA council. NASW introduces new model connecting their national and state organizations NASW is now funding office costs, staff salaries, and website costs. It is unclear how much autonomy state offices will have in the future. A portion of all membership funds collected by NASW can be shared with the state offices, though some state offices find themselves losing funds. Summary of suggestions • Recognize the state associations as structurally a critical part of APA, in the same way we recognize the (c)3 and (c)6 components. • Determine what excellence would be at the state level. • Have a clearer plan to help protect the expertise that exists at the state association level and help the associations become more financially stable. There are numerous direct and indirect ways that APA could assist the state associations financially and to help them grow membership. Consider sharing APA revenue with the states. Some states may have to develop a (c)3 component to help make this work. • Include CESPPA and the state associations in your organizational charts and involve them more in APA’s planning and decision-making activities. Collaboration almost always produces better results. Shaping the Landscape of Missouri Psychology

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