Question #1: Please describe any interests and/or any previous involvement in Division 20. Our members would be interested in knowing if you are a member or fellow of the division and if you have been active in any way in Division 20. Please describe any professional or scholarly interests in issues related to the psychology of adult development and aging. We are interested in a wide range of professional activities, including practice, consulting, supervising, research, teaching, outreach, and advocacy.
As a Board-Certified Health Psychologist, I evaluate and treat adults across the life span with chronic medical conditions and assist them in living their most productive life possible. I have worked in integrated care throughout my career in a medical school, hospital, co-location in a physician’s office, and in my own independent practice (since 1994). I have not been active in Division 20 (I am not a D20 fellow) but my clinical work is consistent with Division 20’s focus.
I provided a workshop with Drs. Nan Presser and Pat Watson during the 2019 APA Annual Convention: Ethical Considerations for Psychological Treatment of Older Patients. I addressed the medical challenges often seen in older adults and the need to be competent in working with older adults. Also, while serving on the APA Board of Directors as Recording Secretary six years, I was the liaison to BAPPI and all its committees, including the Committee on Aging. I worked with the Committee in reaching out to the State Associations in dissemination of information in working with Older Adults. As one of the Co-Chairs of the Advocacy Coordinating Committee, I have asked Division 20 and the Committee on Aging to assist in developing advocacy priorities for APA.
Question #2: Describe how adult development and aging is related to your platform or agenda for your presidential year.
I have chosen two presidential initiatives:
1. Enhancing and ensuring services, education/training and researching best practices for the Seriously Mentally Ill/Severely Emotionally Disturbed (SMI/SED). This initiative provides an excellent opportunity to highlight the need for psychologists to focus on best practices in the evaluation and treatment of older adults with severe mental illness. Training psychologists to become culturally competent to work with older adults would be a large step forward.
2. Focus on research, education/training and service expansion and inclusion in Integrated Care. This provides a unique opportunity to highlight aging and disability issues, including dementia. My integrated care initiative should draw attention to the need for competence to treat a wider range of patients, and appropriate reimbursement for services offered, such as through Medicare.
If elected president, I plan to draw attention to health disparities with my presidential initiatives and I hope my colleagues in Division 20 will help me in these efforts. I want to help psychologists to work effectively with adults across the life span, especially older adults, given that the demographics of the country are constantly changing, and psychologists will be increasingly more likely to see more older adults in their practice.