It is truly an honor to run for President of the American Psychological Association (APA). If elected, I will bring a long track record of advocacy, a deep and demonstrated commitment to inclusion, and substantial leadership experience within and outside APA. To this end, the four pillars of my presidential campaign are: Advocacy, Inclusion, Leadership, and Experience. I genuinely believe these four pillars are necessary to continue strengthening our beloved association and creating a positive impact within APA, the discipline, and the world.

To make psychology thrive, we must vigorously advocate for adequate funding to support psychological science and education. While there has been improvement in funding in these areas over the last several years, we can and must do more. To thrive, we must decisively pursue robust funding from NIH, CDC, HRSA, and other critical agencies. Moreover, communicating APA’s science to federal agencies and Congress is essential if policymakers are to understand the importance and unique contribution of psychological research to society. This is consistent with APA’s mission of advancing psychological science and knowledge to benefit society and improve lives. With adequate funding we can conduct research necessary to better understand and intervene in the social issues affecting our society, such as the opioid crisis, homelessness, gun violence, immigration, and serious mental illness. Although we already have an effective government relations staff, we can each do our part as APA members. As part of this mission, we should develop coordinated advocacy efforts by members and staff.

As we think about the future of our profession, it is evident that we are at a critical juncture related to Education and Training. Hence, it is important for psychology and our training programs to stay ahead of the changing demographics of the country, train culturally competent psychologists to effectively meet the needs of an ever-expanding multicultural, multiracial, multilingual, and aging U.S. population. We must also improve access to graduate training programs, internships, and postdoctoral fellowships for members of underrepresented groups, including early career psychologists (ECPs). Additionally, I encourage us to be mindful of new and emerging technologies, connect training with the needs of the population, and demonstrate the importance of the doctoral degree even as we expand a well-trained master’s level psychological workforce through accredited programs. In order for our profession to grow and thrive, we must attract talented students, while supporting their emotional and financial health with adequate funding and participation in loan repayment programs.

We must also continue to advocate for access to quality, evidence-based health, and behavioral care for ALL. To this end, there is a need to expand the role of psychologists on interdisciplinary teams. As leaders in healthcare, we contribute to integrated care models with the inclusion of psychological research, education/training, and clinical services across the lifespan. Integrated care models need to expand to include independent practitioners. Advocating for adequate compensation for the psychological services we provide (e.g., psychological testing, psychotherapy, telehealth services) is essential. Hence, we must continue to support the passage of the Medicare Mental Health Access Act, so that psychologists can practice within the full scope of their training and licensure.

There are many challenges facing health psychology that need our collective attention, the biggest of which is health disparities. Inequities in healthcare services, research, education, and training are primarily affecting those in low SES, and marginalized racial and ethnic communities, including women and children. Those at the front lines are often public service psychologists who work in veterans’ healthcare systems, state hospitals, criminal justice settings and other public institutions. Our reliance on these groups is often much greater than the recognition they receive. APA must prioritize funding for research to better understand the biological, psychological, and social factors that impact the wellbeing of our diverse population.

For psychology to thrive and grow as One APA, we must stay grounded in the spirit and ethos of inclusivity. To accomplish this goal, I envision us building and embracing a global perspective by partnering with our international colleagues and maintaining strong relationships with the WHO and UN. To incorporate the diverse perspectives of all psychologists, we must go outside our borders. Cultivating bidirectional support and collaboration among international psychology associations and colleagues can help to improve people’s lives.

It is important to also recognize our applied practice psychologists for the skills they bring to our profession. Our applied practice colleagues provide important contributions, including but not limited to leadership, design and engineering, civic engagement, organizational and systems expertise, and technology that contribute to improving people’s lives. It is important that we communicate to our APA membership the comprehensive approach of our profession related to solving societal problems. The Office of Applied Psychology and the APA leadership together must advance the goal of expanding opportunities for general applied psychologists.

In closing, for psychology to have a significant impact and achieve the goals of our strategic plan, we must have a united organization, One APA. One way I see us becoming One APA is through effective advocacy. This year has been a transformative year through APA’s adoption and integration of this advocacy model. This is significant as it means that we are breaking down silos and working in a united manner, which is critical to understanding and effectively addressing issues facing our profession and society.

We need leadership to help meet the needs of our changing profession and world. We need leadership that embraces integrated advocacy and empowers grassroots advocacy, is ready to implement APA’s new strategic plan, and is deeply committed to advancing our position as leaders in health care. I can provide that leadership. I have the knowledge, extensive experience, and ability to unite diverse perspectives inside and outside of psychology. I understand the nuances and have the drive and passion to help move the association forward. I am asking for your vote and your partnership in these efforts.

Jennifer F. Kelly: Science, Practice, Education, and Public Interest all United to Benefit Society and Improve People’s Lives.