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APA Candidates

The APA Elections Website contains additional information on each candidate.
The SCCAP Board does not endorse candidates.  All candidates were given the opportunity to respond to the same child-focused questions as a way for the SCCAP membership to make an informed decision.

Kirk J. Schneider, PhD

APA Candidate Statement

Introduction

I'm a licensed psychologist, educator, and author/coauthor of 13 books, most of which focus on the practical application of existential psychology to individual and collective well being. I'm also a member of APA Council for Division 32 (Humanistic Psychology), president of a psychotherapy training institute, and adjunct faculty at Saybrook University and Teachers College, Columbia University. For more information visit https://kirkjschneider.com

  1. What do you see as the most pressing issues affecting children’s mental health?

The lack of a sense of awe and wonder in their lives.  In my view children are much too hampered by technocratic "fixes" and distractions, which keeps them from a deeper and fuller connection with themselves and the world.  My work with children, as well as experience as a child and parent indicate to me that many children (across all economic sectors, but especially those in impoverished environments) are increasingly seduced by smart phones, social media, and information technology that in critical ways diverts them from developing greater capacities for raw contact with nature, interpersonal intimacy, and creative inquiry.  I have written extensively about these problems in my books The Rediscovery of Awe, Awakening to Awe: Personal Stories of Profound Transformation, The Polarized Mind:  Why It's Killing Us and What We Can Do About It, and The Spirituality of Awe:  Challenges to the Robotic Revolution.  In these works and in my first book, which was prefaced by my close mentor and friend Rollo May, The Paradoxical Self: Toward an Understanding of Our Contradictory Nature, I attempted to show how the embrace of paradoxes, such as our capacity to constrict and expand, to be free and manage limits, is integral to the well being of both children and adults in a variety of cultural and subcultural contexts. I have also shown how the cultivation of "presence," or the holding and illuminating of that which is palpably significant within oneself and between oneself and others is a critical dimension of child-rearing and the engagement of a flourishing society.

  1. How can APA increase overall access and reduce racial/ethnic inequities in the provision of evidence-based practice in children’s mental health care? (practice)

As a member of APA Council, I have seen that APA is actively advocating to increase access and reduce racial/ethnic inequities in the provision of evidence-based mental health care generally and I believe children's mental healthcare specifically. However, there is only so much a professional organization can do to influence both legislation and the public.  In this context, I advocate for an office of "Psychological Consultant to the U.S." where APA and professional psychology's interests could be represented full time, from within government to focus specifically on psychosocial approaches to mental healthcare.  One of my first actions if I were to become APA president would be to form a task force to look into the viability of creating such an office, and certainly accessibility and the reduction of inequities in the provision of mental health care generally as well as children's mental health in particular would be a core focus of this task force inquiry.  It seems to me (and many other colleagues) that it is high time to raise psychology's profile (to that of medicine) to address precisely issues like accessibility to in depth, quality mental health care and reduction of inequities in mental health care.  It is time for psychology and psychological care to be a national-equitable priority and I will vigorously advocate for that stance.

  1. How can APA advance the education, training, and diversity of clinical child and adolescent psychologists? (education)

As noted above, I believe we need to have a more visible "seat at the table" within government, in the media, and with the public, and an Office of Psychological Consultant to the U.S. comprising distinguished experts in every major sector of our field --very much including those in child and adolescent  care--is one actionable effort in that direction.  As a long-time educator and current administrator of a psychotherapy training institute (the Existential-Humanistic Institute), I have also long been an advocate for education, training, and diversity in all of psychology.  I view clinical child and adolescent psychology as particularly important because of the formative role children and youth play in the shaping of our families and society.  They are the hope of our society and world, and I take this perspective very seriously, in particular because I myself have benefited so profoundly from psychotherapy as a youth (deriving from a "broken home" in which my seven year old brother died tragically when I was 2 and a half). As a former staff therapist at a family mental health clinic, I have also witnessed first hand the power of psychology to heal and transform youth's lives.

  1. How can APA promote an inclusive science of clinical child and adolescent psychology? (science)

By enlarging its scope to emphasize mixed methods--quantitative and qualitative--to investigate the life-worlds of children and adolescents from diverse backgrounds.  Division 5 (the Society for Quantitative and Qualitative Research) has made important headway in this direction and based on recent trends, such as the latest APA Practice Guidelines, the field as a whole is increasingly receptive. In addition to bolstering advocacy for the latter, I would also promote an integrative, whole person approach to mental health care that I believe would be of great value to a diverse and inclusive science of clinical child and adolescent psychology.  From such a standpoint, both researchers and practitioners would be availed of approaches that emphasize experiential and contextual aspects of children's lives, not only single-focused aspects (such as individual diagnoses) currently prevalent in many quarters;  and it is these experiential and contextual aspects of both children and adults lives that have been shown to be critical elements in effective therapeutic outcomes (e.g., see the work of J. Norcross, B. Wampold, D. Elkins, L. Brown and others).

Thema S. Bryant-Davis, PhD

APA Candidate Statement

Introduction

My name is Thema Bryant-Davis and I’m a tenured professor at Pepperdine University and a licensed psychologist. My research and clinical work explores trauma recovery, including recovery for children and adolescents. As a past APA representative to the United Nations, I have advocated for children and their families.

  1. What do you see as the most pressing issues affecting children’s mental health?

 The most pressing issue affecting children’s mental health is trauma in all of its diverse forms.  Children are affected by interpersonal traumas such as child abuse, school violence, and community violence.  They are also affected by medical traumas (such as COIVD-19) and societal traumas of oppression and poverty.  These traumas can create severe and long-lasting consequences such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, substance dependence, and suicidality.  As a result of these pressing issues, I have chosen the presidential platform “Thriving in a Post-Pandemic World: Applying Psychological Science to Enhance People’s Lives.”  Research has documented that children and adolescents have been greatly affected by COVID-19 and the racial trauma and violence of these times. Psychological science is needed to address the impact of social distancing, loss of community, grief, fear, and increases in family violence.  As psychologists, we can and must continue developing, evaluating, and applying science to prevention strategies and evidence-based practice.   The keys to recovery and resilience that I highlight in my platform –such as, holistic therapies, integration of expressive arts, rebuilding communities, and addressing inequities— integrates the psychological science that aligns with the work of researchers and practitioners specializing in child and adolescent psychology.

  1. How can APA increase overall access and reduce racial/ethnic inequities in the provision of evidence-based practice in children’s mental health care? (practice)

Access to culturally-informed evidence-based practice is a critical issue for racially and ethnically marginalized children. APA can increase access to services by working with divisions  to encourage training, education, and guidelines that promote: (1) using sliding scales and low cost service agencies; (2) wrap-around service programs that attend to childcare (including for other siblings); (3) community counseling centers that provide school-based and home-based services; (4) use of telehealth while cultivating resources to address the digital divide; and (5) interventions that are culturally- and trauma-informed to increase engagement and effectiveness.  APA can also address intersectionality particularly around race/ethnicity and socio-economic status by recognizing and attending to the deleterious mental and physical health effects of racism, poverty, and other forms of oppression.  This aligns with my platform which centers both trauma and inequities.  I am well informed on these issues as a private practitioner whose client base is primarily racially and ethnically marginalized survivors of childhood trauma.

  1. How can APA advance the education, training, and diversity of clinical child and adolescent psychologists? (education)

 APA can advance the education, training, and diversity of clinical child and adolescent psychologists by (1) highlighting the work of child and adolescent psychologists in the Monitor and in APA-sponsored training materials (both written and video); (2) attending to the quality and quantity of coursework around diverse children and adolescents in the accreditation process; and (3) strengthening the professional pipeline through outreach in intentional and consistent ways to diverse students throughout their training about the range and benefits of clinical child and adolescent psychology.  As a tenured faculty member who understands curriculum development and as a trainer for CEU programs, I recognize the necessity and significant impact of education and look forward to contributing in this area.

  1. How can APA promote an inclusive science of clinical child and adolescent psychology? (science)

 As editor of the 2019 APA book, Multicultural Feminist Therapy: Helping Adolescent Girls to Thrive, and author of multiple peer-reviewed articles on trauma during childhood and adolescence, I am committed to promoting an inclusive science of clinical child and adolescent psychology. I would advocate for APA to: develop guidelines for translating research to inform and advocate for science-informed policies and practices; provide media training so child and adolescent psychologists gain skills for disseminating knowledge beyond the academy and the Association; and re-evaluate subscription fees and open-access policies for APA journals to increase access for community agencies so practitioners can learn and apply the latest child and adolescent psychological science to their work.

Mary Ann McCabe, Ph.D., ABPP

APA Candidate Statement

Introduction

Promoting children’s mental health and evidence-based practice has been my life’s work. As APA President, I will emphasize evidence-based, two-generation, and culturally responsive prevention across the lifespan. Based on our science, we know that what happens early in life – both positive and negative - affects adult health/mental health, families, communities, and society.

  1. What do you see as the most pressing issues affecting children’s mental health?

The most pressing issues affecting children’s mental health are social determinants of health (e.g., poverty, lack of health insurance, housing segregation, race and gender discrimination, adverse childhood experiences), inequalities in education, health care, and access to evidence-based mental health care. There is a continuing shortage of mental health providers who are trained to provide evidence-based, culturally responsive assessment and intervention with children and families, particularly in rural areas and under-served communities (e.g., https://www.apa.org/workforce/factsheets/rural-population.pdf). Most recently, children’s mental health has been severely impacted by the pandemic year, particularly the loss of school safety nets, normal social development, family and financial impacts, and racial trauma. There has also been an increase in domestic violence and child abuse/neglect. When schools re-open in the fall, there needs to be a focus on children’s wellbeing, not just “catching up” academically.

  1. How can APA increase overall access and reduce racial/ethnic inequities in the provision of evidence-based practice in children’s mental health care? (practice)

This will require a long-term strategy. First, we need to commit to diversifying the clinical child and adolescent psychology workforce, targeting recruitment efforts earlier in the career pipeline for clinicians of color and/or LGBTQ; many young people and parents prefer to see a clinician with whom they can identify. Second, we need to promote tiers of service, including prevention, in all settings that serve children and families. We need to expand access to mental health care in schools and in primary care settings. Third, we need to sustain advocacy for health care reform and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)/Medicaid expansion, including reimbursement for evidence-based mental health promotion, prevention, assessment, and intervention. We need to work across mental health professions to enhance access to, and continue reimbursement for, telepractice, particularly in rural and under-served areas.  Fourth, we need to sustain effective dissemination efforts with all platforms and community opinion leaders to share information on evidence-based care (http://www.effectivetherapy.com/, https://resilienceacrossborders.org/ and science-based information about children’s development and mental health (www.infoaboutkids.org).

  1. How can APA advance the education, training, and diversity of clinical child and adolescent psychologists? (education)

It is helpful to look at the data being gathered by the APA Center for Workforce Studies (e.g., https://www.apa.org/workforce/factsheets/children.pdf and https://www.apa.org/workforce/factsheets/adolescents.pdf ) to identify trends. Contrary to historical trends, there is a predominance of persons identifying as female entering the field of psychology generally. This may warrant targeted recruitment of male undergraduates for graduate study in clinical child and adolescent psychology. In addition, data suggest it will be important to promote specialty certification and competency to work with underserved populations. https://www.behavioralhealthworkforce.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Y5P3_The-Child-and-Adolescent-BH-Workforce_Brief.pdf  Specific to clinical child and adolescent (and health) psychologists in primary care, it will be important to collaborate with other professions in inter-professional training.  Work by the National Academies Forum has led to recommendations in this regard:  https://nam.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Workforce-Development-to-Enhance-the-Cognitive-Affective-and-Behavioral-Health-of-Children-and-Youth.pdf

I have a longstanding commitment to growing the diversity of the psychology workforce. See my statement and specific proposals at www.maryann4apa.com/statements. The new Council of Chairs of Training Councils (CCTC) Social Responsiveness in Health Service Psychology Education and Training Toolkit should be promoted in clinical child and adolescent psychologist training programs https://pr4tb8rrj317wdwt3xlafg2p-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/CCTC_Socially-Responsive-HSP-Ed-Training_v7.pdf. Importantly, the new EDI framework for APA https://www.apa.org/about/apa/equity-diversity- /equity-division-inclusion-framework.pdf and leadership from the new Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Maysa Akbar, set the expectation for cultural humility and lifelong learning for psychologists. Some universities will be establishing best practices for de-colonizing education that will generalize to other institutions and which APA should follow closely.

There are a number of additional APA resources for promoting the career development of diverse students, ECP’s, and mid-career clinical child and adolescent psychologists (e.g., minority fellowship programs, leadership training, divisions that provide communities for diverse psychologists, such as Divisions 44 and 45), and Ethnic Minority Psychological Associations which provide yet additional communities and mentoring.

  1. How can APA promote an inclusive science of clinical child and adolescent psychology? (science)

The new APA EDI framework and series of resolutions on systemic and structural racism speak directly to all psychological science. The working draft of the next resolution, Dismantling Racism in Psychology and Across Systems, for example, speaks to research with people of color and by scholars of color, as well as inequities in the structures for funding research, peer review, publication, career advancement and so on. All of this leadership on the part of APA applies to the science of clinical child and adolescent psychology, and SCCAP can inspire its members to involve themselves in this work with APA as it is ongoing. The new Chief Science Officer, Dr. Mitch Prinstein, is himself a scientist in clinical child and adolescent psychology, as is Dr. Akbar, and they understand the needs for our field. Partnering with both coalitions of science organizations and federal agencies, APA should address leaks across the pipeline for diverse scientists. Importantly, we also need to showcase careers in psychological science for diverse youth to envision themselves in these roles. This will be a marathon, not a sprint. The work will be iterative, and change will unfold slowly across the relevant systems and structures.

Further, and building on recognition during the pandemic, APA is positioned to enhance public understanding of the essential nature of psychological science for public wellbeing, as well as science literacy. APA should promote psychology as a hub discipline, encourage team science, support transparency and open science for many methodologies, and encourage science representation in APA governance.

Diana L. Prescott, Ph.D.

APA Candidate Statement

Introduction

We need to unite to advance our strategic priorities.  I am dedicated to advocating for the needs of psychology and psychologists.  I will prioritize the needs of rural and underserved communities.  I will prioritize the major areas of APA (Practice, Education, Science, Applied Psychology), along with Social Justice and Advocacy.

  1. What do you see as the most pressing issues affecting children’s mental health?

 The Stress in America data really reveals the toll the COVID-19 pandemic is taking on our Gen Z youth.  They have missed developmental milestones and landmark events (e.g., graduation, prom).  They have been unable to attend daycare/school/college, be with their peers, play with other children.  The Elder data from the Great Depression revealed greatest impact on the youngest of the population.  I am concerned that some of the impact of the pandemic on our “littles” will not become evident for some time.  The racism pandemic has only likely exacerbated this stress on our children of color.  I am seeing this impact now in my rural practice with children and adolescents, noting the staggering increase in anxiety and depression, along with overall number of referrals.  Social media and cyberbullying have been demonstrated to impact our teen girls potentially negatively in terms of their emotional health.  Substance misuse is a major concern for many youth, with opioid addiction leading to unintended death.  Our children and adolescents are often living in homes and communities where they are exposed to violence and abuse.  They are concerned with environmental issues related to climate change.  Suicide is a leading cause of death.  When youth and families seek treatment, they are often unable to locate services or experience lengthy delays in treatment onset.  Although I believe the impact of the pandemic is currently the most pressing issue, these other issues remain critically pressing issues affecting children’s mental health.

  1. How can APA increase overall access and reduce racial/ethnic inequities in the provision of evidence-based practice in children’s mental health care? (practice)

 Integrated care in medical, school, and community settings provides a mechanism for health and mental health equity.  APA could increase access and reduce racial/ethnic disparities by identifying neighborhood clinics, schools, and gathering places where psychologists could lead the provision of psychological services.  Community health workers could identify those who need assistance and help arrange for contact via in-person or telepsychology services.  In Cuba, the community medical care has been praised for its effectiveness, due to providers living in the community and accessing the needs of people in their homes.  Children need to be provided services where they live and go to school.

  1. How can APA advance the education, training, and diversity of clinical child and adolescent psychologists? (education)

 It would be important to identify the diverse individuals who have been successful obtaining this education and training and promote them financially as recruiters and mentors of other diverse individuals.  Connections via telehealth are an important mechanism for creating a community of support, in locations where diversity is limited for clinical child and adolescent psychologists.  Our Practice Leadership Conference (PLC) has been successful in bringing these diverse early career psychologists to Washington, helping them learn advocacy skills, and develop a community of support for future leadership.  This model could be replicated with clinical child and adolescent psychologists within APA.

  1. How can APA promote an inclusive science of clinical child and adolescent psychology? (science)

APA is in the process of identifying the ways in which it may not have been inclusive in the science of psychology.  In this process, we are likely to identify how this has been true in child and developmental psychological science.  It is important to rectify this and assure going forward our science of clinical child and adolescent psychology is inclusive in terms of the scientists trained as well as what is being studied.  Dr. Jessica Henderson Daniel, former APA President, has emphasized the critical importance of identifying scientists of color and promoting them in their careers to assure there is inclusion and diversity in those who study psychological science.  Uplifting and supporting the growth of the research pipeline for these diverse psychologists would be part of APA’s role, along with elevating the psychological subject matter experts on diversity and health disparity.

Beth N. Rom-Rymer, Ph.D.

APA Candidate Statement

Introduction

Pioneered women’s educational opportunities; trained with internationally renowned psychologists; early co-founder/sustainer, domestic violence shelter; teaching next generations; author; multiple leadership roles/awards, APA, IPA/President, National Register/President; APF; international leadership; legislative advocacy to serve society’s vulnerable.  As APA President: collaborative, intersectional, team focus on science; bridge-building; EDI; unraveling/solving our world’s toughest challenges.

Answers

  1. Emotional health and physical health are inextricably tied together. Our yearlong struggle with Covid-19 has had an enormous impact on our children. The pandemic has affected our families’ physical and emotional health stability and health deficits; our children’s socialization routines; our children’s access to consistent educational opportunities; our families’ economic status changes with the inevitable increase in multiple stressors.  The foundations of our children’s lives have been considerably shaken because of the pandemic.  For children, it is most important to provide them with safety and security.  These pillars, on which they have relied, have been damaged.  We will need to focus a great deal of attention on the mental and physical health sequelae of the pandemic.
  1. I adhere to Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory, in which one views child development as a complex system of relationships affected by multiple levels of the surrounding environment.

In my work to create a mental health system, in Illinois, that provides greater access to care to all families, particularly the most vulnerable and underserved, I am actively promoting the health and well-being of all children, youth, and families.

As APA President, I will advocate for a larger presence of psychological services in community health clinics.  There are several innovative strategies we can use to make a larger footprint in community clinics:  increasing mobile health units; increasing access to telehealth; increasing the numbers of psychologists in primary care clinics; opening up urgent care centers for emotional health; increasing home visits, with particular attention to communities that have been unable to communicate easily with care providers because of language barriers, cultural barriers, mobility barriers, transportation barriers, and other financial barriers.

We can incorporate the use/amplify the use of the ACEs questionnaires for children and adolescents.  The self-report forms come in several languages. The Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania has focused on understanding children’s resilience and strengthening that.  The clinicians in the Center have created a specific protocol for strategic interventions.

Centering is a model of prenatal care in which women receive their prenatal care in a group setting.  With Centering, women have more time to connect with their provider, to learn about the pregnancy, and to build relationships with other parents. Once the mothers have given birth, the relationships are sustained with parenting groups.  Informed parenting support directly impacts child development.  Centering has been a terrific initiative for creating more emotionally stable family environments.

I would urge APA to amplify and support the initiatives that are very specifically aimed at promoting prevention and resilience.  Emotional resilience is tied directly to physical outcomes.

Above all, we need to strengthen access points for families who have historically had little access to high quality, informed care.  Equitable access to healthcare is a right, not a privilege and we, at the APA, need to continue to speak to the issues of health disparities and how we can reduce and eliminate them.

  1. APA can encourage and promote clinical child and adolescent tracks within our education and training models. We can support the increase of child and adolescent-specific and child and adolescent-exclusive internships.  To increase the diversity of child and adolescent psychologists, we can start talking to high school students about our work as child and adolescent psychologists.  We can partner with high schools in at-risk areas.  We can talk about the excitement of being child and adolescent psychologists, just as I have talked enthusiastically to high school students and undergraduate students about the prospect of becoming prescribing psychologists.

 

We can support grassroots efforts in traditionally unrepresented minority groups by visiting youth centers and churches, mosques, and other religious and recreational gathering places.  We can mentor young people, beginning at a very young age; we can help them understand the role that psychology plays in our everyday lives.  We can begin to explain to them the kind of education and training that they will need to become psychologists.  Often, when physicians and psychologists spend time with young people and talk about their career paths, the young people are most interested in talking with the psychologists because the kids have been faced with so many challenging life situations.  Partnering with primary care physicians in these conversations is a great way to start working with young people.  And we will continue the mentoring relationships throughout the young person’s high school years.  One teenager reported to a colleague: “One of the doctors  (a psychologist) there supported my dreams of wanting to help my entire neighborhood to eliminate all kinds of violence.”  The experience between the psychologist and the young teen was quite powerful.

 

Parents who have low information about parenting and engage in harmful substance abuse or other dangerous behaviors may not hurt their children directly but surround themselves with people who can be hurtful to the children.  It is important that the children have access to psychologist mentors to help them manage their own emotional and psychological lives as well as to teach them about meaningful career paths as psychologists.

  1. By promoting the partnerships with obstetricians and pediatricians and generating data on children and families in every community. We must provide a balanced curriculum for addressing child and adolescent issues.  We must look at child and adolescent psychopathology and the various means for conducting thorough child and adolescent assessments.  There is enough opportunity and availability at this stage, to support evidence-based information on children and adolescents in all neighborhoods.  We no longer should be relying on childhood and adolescent disorders gleaned from adult psychopathology or gleaned only from white neighborhoods.  We need to promote the sharing of information on child and adolescent psychology from all of the neighborhood diversity that exists in our communities.