Division 18, Psychologists in Public Service, interviewed the candidates for President Elect on their podcast. Listen to Diana's interview HERE!
Additionally, here is the statement Diana provided them:
My desire as APA president is to form a large diverse organizational umbrella under which all psychologists bring their unique mixture of race, religion, age, 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. As this inclusive organization, we will 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 will 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. In service as APA president, I will extend upon the previous presidential initiatives focused on deep poverty and health equity, focusing on our underserved and/or rural populations.
Division 18 is foundational to the APA, having been established in 1946. The division has some impressive contemporary leaders, such as Dr. Pat de Leon, who advised me when I made the transition to the role of Recording Secretary for APA, Dr. Linda Mona (a Council colleague), Dr. Jacque Gray (a fellow Committee on Rural Health [CRH] member), Dr. Christopher Loftis (a Practice-related colleague), and many others. I believe our campaign platform aligns very well with the vision and goals of Division 18. Our campaign specifically includes a pillar on our website entitled Social Justice. For more information on how Division 18’s focus on social justice and other initiatives connects to our president-elect campaign, please see our website.
Social justice has been defined as “the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.” I was born in Indiana and lived on a farm essentially in the middle of a cornfield. My dad, who was a farmer and bus driver, did not complete college. He told me I could be anything I wanted to be. My mother was an English teacher. I graduated from college. I believe everyone deserves the opportunity for these types of equal rights and opportunities.
While attending high school and college, I taught Spanish grammar in summer migrant school. The children were not being fairly assessed, due to language barriers. I talked to my Intro Psych professor, Dr. Sally Beck, and she told me I should become a psychologist. I took her advice, became a psychologist, and have continued to volunteer to improve the education and health of migrant farm families throughout my career.
My life’s work has been to care for the rural and underserved, women and children, and persons with mental health difficulties. I have presented this work nationally and internationally. I have advocated on behalf of the people I have served as federal advocacy coordinator for APA. I have chaired the CRH and the Rural Caucus, and I am volunteering with the Maine Rural Health Action Network (RHAN). I believe I have served the public interest and social justice by serving on the Board of Directors as member-at-large during the Independent Review and recording secretary during the COVID and racism pandemics.
In considering the role of public service psychology in connection with our presidential initiatives, I was struck by our initiatives’ connection to your sections. For example, I completed a community psychology minor as part of my PhD, and I have worked in community hospitals (medical and psychiatric), which is one of your sections (Community and State Hospitals). I noticed in this section, there is a focus on rural and/or underserved areas, telemedicine, and advocacy through the state psychological association. In your section entitled Psychologists in Indian Country, this “provides an organized professional voice, advocacy for issues and concerns, and a communication network among their members who frequently work in isolated rural areas.” In my hospital and consulting practice work, I have worked with children and adults with Severe Emotional Disturbance, which is another Division 18 section. All these Division 18 sections are personally relevant to me professionally and/or we are focusing on these areas in our campaign initiatives.
The strong alignment of Division 18’s priorities with APA’s Strategic Plan is very consistent with our intention, which is to continue to support the implementation of APA’s new strategic initiatives. The implementation of APA’s strategic initiatives, such as employing psychology to improve population health, increase access to services, and reduce disparities is perfectly timed. Psychologists should the leaders of psychological intervention teams, varying levels of team training, providing appropriate supervision and offering an array of modalities of public intervention. As stated in the strategic plan, the application of psychological science can foster the advancement of human rights, fairness, and diversity. APA is strategically positioned to advocate to remove barriers to equitable health care for all people.
Division 18 and/or its members potentially could be integrally involved in our presidential initiatives. I believe my strength as a leader in connection to people, groups, and organizations is very consistent with Division 18’s goal of Increase the division’s effectiveness by increasing communication and collaboration, (“…bolstering cross-fertilization among the sections, investing in strategic priorities, creating capacity for new initiatives, reviewing, and updating the strategic plan, and enhancing the division’s visibility and impact within APA”). It is exciting to consider the possibility that Division 18 is likeminded and would potentially want to assist in creating and building these types of collaboration. Our team has a strong focus on our early career psychologists and doctoral students in the campaign, as well as on mentoring. I was impressed by your Mentoring Program and would be interested in enhancing and growing these types of programs that benefit both the mentor and mentee.
I am a down to earth person devoted to psychology and psychologists. I have served as a state champion and federal advocate. I have experience in the major areas of our discipline of psychology. I am a scientist-practitioner who has taught and trained students and practiced in medical centers and consulting practice settings (both private and integrated). 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. 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. As a proven leader and collaborator, I ask for your vote. If you like what you hear, please ask five APA colleagues to vote for me (snowball effect). If you would like to join our team, please message us through our website. We welcome ECPs and students to our team! As president-elect, I look forward to joining with you to make a difference in the world.