WASHINGTON, February 16, 2018 — Following is the statement of APA President Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, on the shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 and injured at least 14 others:
“Tragically, our nation is once again confronted with a school shooting, which has cut short all too many lives and forever affected so many others. We must take concerted action as a nation to ensure that our schools are once again safe havens for our children and youth. In this time of shock and grief, psychology and psychologists can offer those in distress the comfort, guidance and counseling they need to maintain resilience in the midst of such profound sorrow.
“While law enforcement is still piecing together the shooter’s motives, some public figures and news reports are focusing on his mental health. It is important to remember that only a very small percentage of violent acts are committed by people who are diagnosed with, or in treatment for, mental illness. Framing the conversation about gun violence in the context of mental illness does a disservice to the victims of violence and unfairly stigmatizes the many others with mental illness. More important, it does not direct us to appropriate solutions to this public health crisis.”
For people who are suffering distress or just wanting to better understand gun violence, the APA offers a variety of resources on its website, including:
- Managing your distress in the aftermath of a shooting
- Helping children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting
- How to talk to children about difficult news and tragedies
- How much news coverage is OK for children?
- Warning signs of youth violence
- Understanding and Preventing Violence Against Teachers
- Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy (an expert panel report)
- APA’s Gun Violence Prevention Efforts
APA has a special practice organization (referred to as APAPO) that is a C6 (can engage in lobbying) that was distinct from regular APA (a non-profit C3 organization). APA recognizes now that the restriction of this lobbying group to only practice activities may be neglecting the needs for lobbying on behalf of science, education, and public interest issues as well (which is perhaps needed now more than ever in this very troubling political climate!). Thus, APA is proposing to expand the scope of this separate organization (and rename it APAIP) to now also include advocacy in all areas of psychology, including lobbying for more science funds!
The good news is that the new version of this advocacy organization will not cost members– APA wants to reroute their dues so everyone is automatically joining both organizations for the same price as it used to cost for joining just the regular (C3) APA. This means no more “practice assessment.” Also, it looks like all dues will remain flat for at least the next three years.
There’s a useful slide deck here for more info. As you can imagine, there are folks all over the map on this change, including some who want advocacy for practice issues only. So, please speak up! So far it seems like a great step to include advocacy for the field in a much broader and inclusive way than was done in the past, including for education and science issues! This could be significant because advocacy is something APA does well, and they have the power to actually make a difference on stuff (like NIMH funding levels, funds for training grad students, etc).
Please do visit the public comment site to offer an opinion – it just takes a second, and it will be important for APA to hear whether this is something you want, or not. That site also has links for frequently asked questions, a webinar, etc if you want all the nitty gritty.
Guidance reflects pattern of devaluing science, APA asserts
WASHINGTON — In the wake of news reports about Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other Health and Human Services employees being “banned” from using certain words, the American Psychological Association welcomed statements today by the CDC director indicating the agency remains committed to its public health mission and will continue to base its policies on the best available scientific evidence.
“We in the science community urge the administration to support evidence-based government programs, particularly those that focus on improving life for the most vulnerable Americans, including transgender people, who have some of the highest rates of suicide in the nation. The ability to discuss scientific research and the ways it affects individuals and populations, including those who are marginalized, is necessary to keeping our nation healthy and safe,” said APA CEO Arthur C Evans Jr. “Limiting discussion of these populations will not make them go away, nor will it lessen the need for public health programs and scientific research.”
Evans’s comments were in response to news reports that employees of the CDC and possibly other agencies within HHS were given guidance dissuading them from using seven words or phrases in agency budget documents, specifically: vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based and science-based. Statements from the CDC indicated that the news coverage misrepresented the intent, which was a tactic to ensure documents would be more likely to be approved by a Republican Congress if certain words were excluded.
“Restricting these key words follows this administration’s disturbing pattern of devaluing science in myriad ways, including limiting its scientists from attending meetings, controlling what its scientists can say to the public, rolling back data collection efforts, and leaving key federal science agency positions unfilled,” said APA President Antonio E. Puente, PhD. “Federal policies and programs affecting public health and science must rest on empirical research. The way we talk about it is critical as it sets the tone for our nation, and affects our ability to use science to make life better for people.“
The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes nearly 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.
- 2018 APA Convention Proposals – Due December 1 (Link)
- Call for Convention Proposal Reviewers – Due December 1 (Link)
- Fellows Applications – Due December 1 (Link)
- Division 15 Survey of Member Attitudes and Expertise Regarding Education Policy and Practice – Feedback Due December 8 (Link)
- E.L. Thorndike Career Achievement Award – Nominations due December 15 (Link)
- Nominations for 2018 Executive Committee Positions – Due December 31 (Link)
- Richard E. Snow Award for Early Career Contributions – Due January 5 (Link)
- Paul Pintrich Outstanding Dissertation Award – Due January 15 (Link)