The President, shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, and consistent with the rules and procedures of the Board of Trustees, shall have broad authority to: oversee the operation of the Corporation, promote the purposes and goals of the Corporation, establish the agenda for meetings of the Board of Trustees, be the chair of the Executive Committee, be responsible for reviews of the operations of the Executive Officer and Central Office, represent the Corporation to other organizations and the public, coordinate the work of the officers of the Corporation, make appointments to committees, and have such other powers and duties as may be assigned by the Board of Trustees.
Brenda J. Spiegler, PhD, ABPP
Welcome to the new EC
As the new President of the ABPP Board of Trustees (BOT), I am eager to work with our 2022 Executive Committee (EC). We bid a fond farewell to Drs. Piacentini and Marotta-Walters, whose many years of service and contributions to ABPP will be sorely missed. Dr. Christina Pietz will move into the Past President position, and Dr. Joel Frost remains our Secretary for one more year. I thank them both for their ongoing leadership and look forward to their continued support and advice. For 2022, we welcome two new EC members. Dr. Rick Day joins as President-elect. Board Certified in both Clinical Psychology and Organizational and Business Consulting Psychology, Dr. Day brings wisdom and pertinent experience to our leadership team. Dr. David Corey, our new Treasurer, is board certified in both Forensic Psychology and Police and Public Safety Psychology. He will use his expertise to provide excellent guidance with respect to our financial status. We are in good hands indeed and I am excited to collaborate with my colleagues on the EC and all the ABPP trustees to fulfill ABPP’s mission.
What a difference a few weeks can make. We had our winter (BOT) meeting the first week of December. Half of the trustees met in person in Chapel Hill, while the other half joined us virtually via zoom. At that time, we hoped and believed that might be our last virtual BOT meeting as things were looking up. But reality hit with a big bang as the Omicron variant emerged and it is a new day, once again. Groundhog Day anyone???
We are all tired and discouraged. I know that; I feel it. But as Psychologists, we are equipped to deal with this continued adversity, and must care for, not just ourselves and our families, but our patients and clients as well. I urge you to take the time to reflect on those aspects of your life that you have control over and also the positive things in your life in order to find the renewed energy and resilience you need to move ahead in 2022.
The ABPP Central Office, which has worked virtually for several years now, will continue to provide us with the high level of support we have become accustomed to, and I thank them for their commitment to our cause. It is a comfort to know they are there, ready to answer our questions, address our concerns and keep our business going. Our Specialty Boards are also ready and able to continue to provide exams virtually and will likely have to do so for the time being before making a transition back to in-person exams or some combination of exam formats. As Dr. Cox has noted, 2021 saw 294 newly boarded specialists, the second greatest number of newly board-certified psychologists in our history. I truly hope that this high level of activity will continue in 2022.
ABPP understands that we need to focus on being an inviting and welcoming organization for psychologists from all backgrounds, groups and ethnicities. To this end, our Diversity Committee continues to grant three diversity awards each year, the Art Nezu Diversity award, the Early Career Psychologist Diversity award, and the Citizen Psychologist for Social Justice Award. We encourage each SB to consider diversity in your nominations of new trustees as each term comes to an end.
Addressing our ongoing Information Technology (IT) challenge is at the top of my list for 2022. You will be glad to know that the BOT approved a motion to move forward with a platform build-out for all the ABPP specialty boards, starting immediately. As you likely know if you are involved with the SB processes, the current system is unstable and difficult to maneuver. We recognize that this is frustrating for all and Cerebral Consulting is working as quickly as possible to get all SBs up and running for new application submission and credentials review, before moving on to the later steps in the process. This work is a BOT top priority and Cerebral Consulting has been extremely responsive to our requests in this regard. We are grateful to them (owned and run by Dr. Rob Davis, who is also an ABPP!) for their attention to our needs and their expertise, attention to detail, etc. I am hopeful that 2022 will be a good year for ABPP’s IT platforms.
New Specialty Boards
It has been a long time since ABPP has added new Specialty Boards (SBs) to our family. We have maintained 15 SBs, and one subspecialty since 2014. During our December 2021 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved both Serious Mental Illness (SMI) Psychology and Addiction Psychology to move into the Monitoring phase of the affiliations process. Assuming they are successful during this period, they will become fully affiliated SBs within ABPP. This is truly an exciting time for ABPP as we welcome two new SBs.
Engagement and Marketing
The mission of ABPP is to serve “the public by promoting the provision of quality psychological services through the examination and certification of professional psychologist engaged in specialty practice.” This is achieved by certifying psychologists engaged in specialty practice and encouraging the culture of specialty practice in the US and Canada; we should expect our specialists to be board certified, as is the case in medicine. The percentage of board-certified psychologists in the US and Canada is in the range of 4-5%; we have a lot of work ahead of us. Toward that end, our BOT is involved with a number of engagement and marketing enterprises that I will briefly describe here:
- The TRUST – At our December 2021 BOT meeting, the trustees endorsed a motion to enter into a partnership agreement with the Trust, which is the largest insurer of psychologists within the USA. Among other benefits, the Trust will host at least two webinars annually provided by ABPP specialists. This agreement will provide us with access to many non-board-certified psychologists
- CONCEPT – Speaking of webinars, we have entered into a relationship with CONCEPT to provide an ABPP Webinar Series consisting of live webinars presented by board certified psychologists. Early webinars will focus on foundational topics selected to appeal to a wide audience, with later topics being The first webinar will be in February 2022 on the topic of Effective Documentation and Record Keeping for Psychologists, followed by an April webinar on Ethics and Psychopharmacology for Psychologists.Several more will be scheduled throughout the year. On-demand webinars are also in development. Please visit the CONCEPT website at https://concept.paloaltou.edu/abpp/ for further information.
- Logos – At the 2021 mid-year meeting, our trustees endorsed a motion to allow our specialists in good standing to download and use the ABPP logos in their professional communications and signage with the stipulation that the logos cannot be altered in any manner. A link is provided upon successful payment of the 2022 attestation fees that allows specialists to download the logos and add them to their signature lines, etc.
- Psychologists in Public Service – The Psychologists in Public Service Initiative aims to reach out to Psychologists who practice in the VA, Bureau of Prisons (BoP) and Department of Defense (DoD) in order to inform them of the benefits of ABPP board certification. While this initiative is relatively new, it has the potential to attract a large number of psychologists to the board certification endeavor and will be an emphasis for us in the coming year.
- The Specialist as a marketing tool – Under the capable leadership of Dr. Kristine Kingsley, what was once our newsletter has transformed into a vibrant and informative publication. In 2020, we had our first ever special issue (on Diversity, see link at https://apps.abpp.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/The-Specialist-Volume-47-Winter-2020.pdf ) and we hope to have another special issue in 2022 (more to come!). We are also discussing ways to share The Specialists with non-ABPP psychologists as a way to further highlight specialization within the field, the ABPP organization and its benefits. If you have good ideas about how to do this, please contact Dr. Kingsley or me.
- ABPP Foundation (ABPPF) scholarships and grants – A variety of scholarships and grants are available through our SBs and our Foundation to help defray the costs of board certification. These are now searchable in one easy place. Please see: https://apps.abpp.org/candidate-information/awards-grants-scholarships/ for a list of opportunities and their criteria. If you would like to add a specialty-specific scholarship or award to this list, please contact Dr. Joel Frost or Lanette Melville in the Central Office.
ABPP’s finances remain strong, helped in part by the pandemic restrictions on travel and the need to pivot to virtual oral examinations. While these savings may not continue at the present level once the pandemic recedes, some changes in practice are likely to remain which may help our bottom line and allow us to grow and support our specialists as well as other aspects of our organization. As one example, at some point in the future, we may want to consider adding an IT leader as it is clear that our technology needs will be ongoing and ever more complex. I am happy to report that our current financial status is stable and strong.
It is clear from the above that the ABPP BOT is busy with many new and ongoing initiatives. As incoming President, I hope to narrow our scope of activity while deepening our impact. I am grateful for the time and dedication each of our trustees and employees gives to the organization and want to ensure that our efforts are most productive. We are truly a working board, so please take a moment to thank your trustees. I look forward to our ongoing collaboration for the benefit of our specialists, the ABPP organization and our mission. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback and suggestions.
Brenda J. Spiegler, PhD, ABPP
President, American Board of Professional Psychology
Board Certified in Clinical Neuropsychology
Board Certified Subspecialist in Pediatric Neuropsychology