Public Interest Caucus Questions
1. Please attach a current C.V. and provide a few sentences, approximately 250 words or one page, to summarize how your CV demonstrates your commitment to the public interest generally and to social justice specifically. You may choose to include: research, publications, public service, advocacy and APA governance activities related to public interest issues.
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 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, 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 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.
2. What will you do if elected to the APA President-Elect position to promote public interest issues? What do you consider the main public interest concerns that you would address?
I recently met with Dr. Brian Smedley, the Chief of Public Interest at APA, to better understand APA’s current PI initiatives. We discussed topics like our leadership training for women and minorities, how to create social change, engaging with marginalized communities, dismantling racism, fighting ageism, enhancing diversity in the discipline, population health and public health, police violence, the impact of COVID, and the threat of anti-LGBTQIA legislation. As APA President-Elect, I would work closely with Public Interest to assure these issues are being adequately funded and addressed. If elected, I plan to extend upon the previous presidential initiatives of deep poverty and health equity in our rural and underserved populations.
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 immigration crises, the COVID pandemic, brutal racism, and the natural and human disasters we are witness to in Haiti and Afghanistan. As President-Elect, I look forward to joining with you to make a difference in the world.