Updated: Sep 10
Association of Practicing Psychologists (APP)
Name: Diana L. Prescott, Ph.D.
Candidate for: President-Elect
Mission: The Association of Practicing Psychologists is an organization whose purpose is to further the agenda of practitioners in APA and APASI governance and to help elect people to APA and APASI offices who can advance that agenda.
APP is the only c(6) caucus that is able to address practitioners’ guild issues.
“Practice” is defined broadly to include all forms of clinical and applied (I/O, Organizational Development, etc.)
Criteria for endorsement: APP endorses those candidates for APA and APASI offices based on their demonstrated commitment to issues of concern for practitioners. The Caucus expects that successful endorsees for office will respond to periodic inquiries for information as to their ongoing advocacy for Practice concerns.
Are you a member of the APP Caucus? Yes X / No
Caucus membership is required for endorsement.
1. Please describe your accomplishments and experiences in advancing applied and professional psychology, and the interests of practitioners.
I am dedicated to uniting, protecting, and advocating for the needs of psychology and psychologists. I have served as a devoted state champion and federal advocate. As a down to earth proven leader and collaborator, I include, connect, and unify people, and I can mobilize others to correct injustice, build bridges, help heal our systems, and create positive, timely impact. I was elected by our Council of Representatives to serve as Member at Large and Recording Secretary on the Board of Directors. I am the only candidate that has served as an officer on our Executive Committee, which has prepared me to be President-Elect.
In my professional work life, I have practice in medical center, psychiatric hospital, integrated care, and rural practice settings. I have regularly participated in a practice consultation group with members that have included psychologists, social workers and a psychiatrist for over 20 years. For over 25 years, I have faithfully attended and presented at our local monthly psychological society continuing education meetings, which consist predominantly of practitioners.
I have served as Federal Advocacy Coordinator for over 17 years, advocating for Practice issues on Capitol Hill, receiving the APA Practice Organization (APAPO) Federal Advocacy Coordinator award on March 12, 2012. I was elected to the APA Committee of State Leaders for the Practice Leadership Conference from 2011 to 2014 and was Chair-Elect in 2013. I was elected to the APA Board of Directors as Member at Large (2014-2016). I served on the Committee on the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP) during 2017-2018. I was awarded Fellow status by the Maine Psychological Association (MePA) on November 17, 2017. While serving on the APA Board of Directors (as Member at Large 2014-2016 and Recording Secretary 2019-2021), I was repeatedly chosen as Board Liaison to Practice (CAPP and the Board of Professional Affairs [BPA]) and the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). I have enjoyed membership in the Association of Practicing Psychologists (APP) Caucus for many years.
Although not trained as an applied psychologist, I direct a consulting practice and am working with health center CEOs providing a leadership dialogue over the noon hour during the pandemic, and serving as a member at large on the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP). This service on the IAAP Board has provided me with an opportunity for increased awareness of contemporary global issues in the field of Applied Psychology. I am an advocate for assuring our colleagues in applied psychology have a place at the APA table.
2. What are the most significant concerns facing professional psychology in the next 3 years, and if you win your election, how would you translate these issues into goals that you hope would advance applied and professional psychology’s interests?
The racism and coronavirus pandemics have revealed the pain and injustice that exists in the United States. Our field is critically important at this moment in history to both help alleviate the pain and correct the injustice that led to it in the first place. I care deeply about the rural and underserved. I plan to extend upon the previous presidential initiatives of deep poverty and health equity in our rural and underserved populations.
Practice needs electronic tools and financial support to address the massive need for care that exists in our country, while simultaneously engaging in prevention efforts upstream. There is room in Practice for our integrated care efforts in medical clinics and schools, as well as more traditional independent and co-located practice. Practicing/applied psychologists need to be integrated in medical clinics, schools, government, places of employment, and traditional practice settings, as team leaders, utilizing our skills in consultation, program evaluation, assessment, and research. There are innovative roles for psychologists that do provide opportunities for advancement professionally and financially. We need telehealth and electronic tools, sufficient psychological workforce, with financial support to address the existential threat to humankind that exists. It is vital that we network, unite, and enhance opportunities for each other moving into the future, partnering with organizations outside of APA to accomplish the mission of our strategic plan.
Quoting Dr. Bra Vada Garrett-Akinsanya, “Sistas need to get paid.” Psychologists need to make a decent salary. Practitioners are inundated with referrals, at a time when their active clients are struggling to cope and suffering due to both the COVID and racism pandemics. Telehealth has opened a window of opportunity for clients to be readily treated, which has benefitted many, including the underserved and those living in rural areas. PsyPact offers the possibility of more easily practicing across state lines. We need to position APA to funnel available federal and state monies to our practicing psychologists. As President, I will put my energy into prioritizing the needs of practitioners, using my advocacy skills to obtain critically needed financial resources for Practice. It has been very difficult to practice self-care during the pandemic. APA should prioritize providing resources for self-care for practitioners.
Applied Psychology is one of our most important links with global psychology, connecting us with the multitude of ways in which psychology improves lives and is used by our colleagues around the world. The broad field of Applied Psychology reveals to us and the world the breadth of what a psychologist can do with a degree in psychology. It is important that our students and colleagues truly appreciate the wide range of the applications of psychology and their contributions to APA's mission. Practicing applied psychologists need to be integrated in medical clinics, schools, government, places of employment, and traditional practice settings, as team leaders, utilizing their skills in consultation, program evaluation, assessment, and research to advance health and well-being around the world.
3. What are the most significant issues facing the American Psychological Association in the next 3 years, and how would you seek to address any or all of these issues in your board or committee position if elected?
I believe the most significant threat to our organization has been and will be our inability to come together as a cohesive united force. Although we are well-intended, we dilute the possibility of what we could do to positively influence the external world through our in-fighting and turf battles. Unfortunately, psychologists end up feeling marginalized and excluded, which weakens APA and accomplishing our mission.
My desire is to form a large diverse organizational umbrella under which all psychologists bring their unique mixture of race, religion, cultural background, physical difference, sexual orientation, gender identity, political perspective, and theoretical orientation, united by our love of psychology and our agreed-upon strategic plan. We can strive to hear and respond to the various voices of our psychologists, meeting their needs and helping them obtain the necessary resources to develop to their full potential. At the same time, we must use our understanding of humanity and our collective unity as psychologists to address the pain we are witness to each day, resulting from factors like the COVID pandemic, brutal racism, and the natural and human disasters we are witness to in Haiti and Afghanistan.
I represent a vision for uniting our organization in the middle of extremely challenging times. I have the leadership background which qualifies me to lead in very challenging times, having served twice on the APA Board during both the independent review and the COVID-19 and racism pandemics. We must help psychologists obtain necessary resources to develop to their full potential. Furthermore, we need to come together as an organization to advance our priorities and defend and protect our psychologists as well as the society in which we live.
4. What is your position on the role people with masters’ degrees in psychology should have in the profession of psychology and how will that impact the role of doctoral psychologists in the profession?
I have worked hard on this issue serving on the Board of Directors, especially with CAPP and the Board of Professional Affairs (BPA). I do believe it is critically important our Master’s level colleagues be provided a home at APA, with standards for accreditation, guidelines for how Master’s level colleagues can work with this degree, and a membership category that reflect their level of training and protects the doctoral standard for psychologists.
Accreditation will enable some of our colleagues who trained with us, as well as our students we train at the Master’s level, to obtain accredited training within psychology that reflects their level of skill and what they can offer to the public. The pandemic has revealed the critical need for psychology and the dearth of qualified providers. Inclusion of our Master’s level colleagues trained in psychology will increase our membership and potentially provide an increase in funding for the critically important work of the APASI. I believe a range of levels of “helpers,” from the paraprofessional to the doctoral level psychologist, is needed. The highly trained doctoral psychologist should supervise and provide mentorship to these teams of helpers. We need to defend the doctoral standard for entry into practice as a psychologist. Simultaneously, we need to establish evidence for improved efficacy in treatment by psychologists to defend the doctoral standard.