At the APA Council plenary session, last week, I officially announced my candidacy for APA President. Here is an excerpt from my presentation to Council members:

I have a dream that we will advocate successfully for adequate funding for psychological education and research. We have seen improvement in funding in these areas over the last several years, but we can and must do more. If we do not advocate effectively and with persistence, we will lose the progress made. If we can grow and nurture our advocacy network, we can make a real difference in the world. Imagine that we will have adequate funding to conduct the research needed to understand and intervene in the social issues that affect our society, such as the opioid crisis, homelessness, and serious mental illness. With deliberate, focused and integrated advocacy, that can occur. We have an amazing government relations staff; we have to do our part as APA members as well.

I also dream that psychologists will be appropriately and adequately compensated for the services we provide. Over the years we have been negatively impacted by discouraging reimbursement rates. The rates have decreased or remained the same over the past 20 years. What it means to many of us is that we are crippled in terms of doing the work we have been so well trained to do and that we love. We have the knowledge, we have the research, we have the evidence in support of effective treatments. But, what does that matter if we cannot get authorization and compensation for the work we do. We must continue to advocate for parity and access to quality mental health care for ALL our patients. There has been improvement over the years, but there are still many individuals who are not covered and do not have this access. One out of five adults with a mental illness is unable to receive the treatment he or she needs. This number has not declined since 2011. We can and MUST do better than that.

As a dreamer who values inclusion, I dream that we will embrace and integrate the diverse perspectives of all psychologists. For example, by engaging and mentoring our students and early career psychologists—our future; by ensuring that we harness and capitalize on the experience and talent of our senior psychologists, the ones whose shoulders we stand upon; by continuing to partner with our colleagues to promote and honor the international perspectives within psychology, which is critical as we embrace a more global society; and by integrating our applied psychologists and what they bring to our profession. And yes, our diversity is critical if we are to solve the concerns facing society today.

We need leadership to help meet the needs of our changing profession and world; to embrace integrated advocacy, to move away from working in silos, to implement APA’s new strategic plan, to advance our position as leaders in Health Care. I believe I am the person that can provide that leadership. I have the knowledge, the extensive experience, and the ability to unite diverse perspectives inside and outside of psychology. I understand the nuances, I have the drive and passion to help move the association forward.

In closing I say: Education, science, practice and public interest: united to benefit society and improve people’s lives. Thank you for your attention and support.