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From MPA's President Tabitha Grier-Reed, Ph.D., L.P.: Strategic Directions and Annual Convention Highlights

As promised, I am writing to keep you up-to-date on the strategic directions of MPA. In March, the Governing Council (GC) focused on leadership and governance. This May, the focus was on finances. Shoring up MPA’s financial situation has been a long time coming.

Financial Background

In 2011 MPA was on the brink of insolvency.  The organization went from a sound financial base at the close of 2005 to a dire financial situation by October 2011. An informal audit of MPA records was requisitioned in July of 2011 and highlighted that a continuation of existing Association practices would result in a projected year-end 2012 deficit approaching $165,000.  The 2011 Executive Committee took swift, decisive action and started us on the road to recovery. This included the development of a three-year plan.

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From MPA's President Tabitha Grier-Reed, Ph.D., L.P.: Introductions

It is with humility and enthusiasm that I introduce myself to you as President of MPA. Ever since I took my very first psychology class in high school, I have been passionate about and intrigued with the field of psychology. Over the years, my passion and interest have not waned. To serve as the 2013 President of the Minnesota state psychological association is an honor and privilege.

I come to this position with a good deal of optimism which is warranted by the talent MPA is able to attract. Case in point: I introduce you to the new editor of the Minnesota Psychologist, Beth Lewis. Dr. Lewis is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota. Trained as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Lewis completed her doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University, where she specialized in health psychology and behavioral medicine. Her vitae list over 40 refereed publications, and she has served as a reviewer for a score of academic journals including the Journal of Health Psychology, the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine—to name a few. What’s more, she has taken on the role of editor of the Minnesota Psychologist with energy and enthusiasm! MPA’s ability to attract such an accomplished psychologist bodes well for our future.

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From the Editor

Hello! My name is Beth Lewis and as the new editor of the Minnesota Psychologist, I would like to take a moment to introduce myself.  I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as editor.  As Tabitha mentions, I am currently an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota.  I received my Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Dakota in 2001.  I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral medicine at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and have been a licensed psychologist since 2003.  My research examines the effect of exercise on mental health.  My most recent research grant is a randomized trial examining the efficacy of home-based exercise vs. telephone-based counseling for preventing postpartum depression.   My hope is that this research will help inform clinicians about the importance of exercise during pregnancy and postpartum.

I had the opportunity to attend the Society of Behavioral Medicine conference in San Francisco this past week.  The focus of this year’s conference was the use of technology to promote healthy living.  I attended a presentation by Dr. David Mohr who discussed the efficacy of using the telephone to counsel individuals with depression.  He found that telephone-based cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) was just as effective as in-person CBT for treating depression.   Furthermore, participants in the telephone-based CBT were more likely to adhere to the treatment than participants in the in-person CBT.  I found this information timely given the recent movement to allow for reimbursement for telephone-based services (see Dr. Sandra Sanger’s column in this issue).  Telephone-based interventions could never replace in-person therapy.  However, it could be an important adjunct to therapy or may be especially helpful for populations who have barriers to in-person visits such as individuals with young children or individuals living in rural areas where access to in-person care is low.

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New Psychologist Network at Lyon's Pub, January 9, 2013

Ever heard of a Zombie Pub Crawl? Throngs of masterfully dressed “zombies” make their way through popular watering holes yelling “BRAINS!” and swapping imaginary apocalypse stories, drawing shrieks, giggles, and stares from all of the living people trying to have an after-work cocktail in peace. Though MPA does not specialize in the undead, on January 9, 2013, more than 30 early-career psychologists gathered at Lyon’s Pub to help with the organization’s own return to life of the New Psychologist Network. Thankfully, psychologists have significantly more decorum and pleasantry than zombies, so the other bar patrons and wait-staff were happy to welcome this talkative and excited group! NPN co-chairs Julia Kidwell and Miriam Gerber were pleased to welcome professionals from a wide variety of practice settings who were eager to meet other new psychologists and talk shop. Thanks to the MPA Governing Council’s personal donations, the crowd enjoyed delicious appetizers.  A quick audio scan of the group revealed conversations ranging from EPPP strategies and licensure questions to client referrals and job openings. Even without apocalypse stories, this event was full of energy and curiosity about MPA and benefits of being part of the New Psychologist Network. Everyone was hopeful about future events being even more jam-packed with people and early-career discussions.

Julia and Miriam will be working on another networking event that will occur in May and hope to see more activity on the NPN listserve, available to current members by emailing Katie Hunt ([email protected]). The NPN is also hoping to be active on the MPA Facebook page, so be sure to “like” MPA to get real-time updates on social and networking events, CEU opportunities, legislature information, and other goodies. Please feel free to contact Julia ([email protected]) or Miriam ([email protected]) with any NPN questions!

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Diversity Committee

The Diversity Committee gave out the 2013 Outstanding Career Achievement in Black Psychology on February 1, 2013.  The award went to Iris Cornelius, Ph.D., L.P.  Dr. Cornelius is the President of Cornelius & Associates and a business consultant with 30 years experience working with businesses, community leaders and family organizations. Dr. Cornelius specializes in Collaborative Consulting, working with clients and their existing advisors to develop their values, goals and vision. She focuses on clear communications and interpersonal relationships. It is from this base that clients can best reach their strategic goals. She received her undergraduate degree from Brown University, her Ph.D. from the University of Washington and post-graduate training in mediation and management. Dr. Cornelius is a former faculty member of the University of Minnesota and Macalester College. She is a Trustee of the College of St. Benedict and a Board member of Catholic Charities and Jeremiah Place. She was formerly a Regent of St. John’s University, the St. Paul Foundation and the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners. She is affiliated with the A.K. Rice Institute for Study of Authority, Leadership and Group Process; American Psychological Association; Minnesota Psychological Association; Family Business Alliance; and Metro Independent Business Alliance.  Congratulations Dr. Cornelius!

 G. Zachariah White, Psy.D. and Thomas Carrillo, Ph.D., L.P., Co-Chairs

Electronic Health Records

There is considerable confusion regarding whether psychologists in Minnesota are required to have electronic health records (EHR).  This confusion could partly be due to differences between state and federal regulations.  Additionally, there is confusion regarding the definition of an electronic health record.

Currently, there are federal incentives and penalties for eligible providers and hospitals to use EHR’s.  Providers and hospitals can receive up to five years of incentives for “meaningful use.”  Additionally, those not using EHR’s and/or not demonstrating meaningful use by 2015 will have their Medicare payments reduced.  Psychologists are not included in either the incentives or the penalties.  However, Minnesota Statute does include psychologists and states that “by January 1, 2015, all hospitals and health care providers must have in place an interoperable electronic health records system within their hospital system or clinical practice setting” (Minnesota Statute 62J.495 ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORD TECHNOLOGY). What does this mean?

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APA's State Leadership Conference

Every year for the past 30 years, APA has brought together representatives of state, provincial, and territorial associations for leadership and advocacy training.  This year’s State Leadership Conference (SLC) took place in Washington, D.C. from March 9-12 with the theme of Countdown to Health Care Reform.  Seventy-five SPTAs and APA divisions were represented as well as diversity delegates, early career psychologist delegates, and representatives of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students.

MPA sent five delegates to SLC:  Tabitha Grier-Reed, Ph.D., President; Steve Vincent, Ph.D., President-Elect; Mera Kachgal, Ph.D., Diversity Delegate and MPA Secretary; Sy Gross, Ph.D., Federal Advocacy Coordinator; and, Jenna Bemis, Psy.D., Public Education Campaign Coordinator.

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New Member Spotlight: Julia Kidwell, Ph.D., L.P.

1) What is your background in psychology (e.g., education)?
I have my undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas, where I double majored in psychology and theology. After my undergraduate work, I went to Iowa State University for my master’s degree and Ph.D. in counseling psychology. Being a true Cyclone, I also completed my predoctoral internship at the Iowa State University Student Counseling Services. After finishing my Ph.D., I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School, working with young adults with prodromal psychosis.

2)  Describe your current occupation and any involvement in the Minnesota Psychological Association if applicable.

I am currently a licensed psychologist in clinical practice at Arden Woods Psychological Services in Arden Hills. I also teach a few graduate and undergraduate classes at local universities for balance and variety in my day. After graduate school, I couldn’t quite decide if I should teach or do clinical work, so I decided to do both!  Additionally, I currently co-chair the New Psychologist Network division for MPA.

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What Has MPA Done for You Lately?

MPA offers many benefits to members, some of which are more visible than others. You likely are aware of member benefits such as legal and ethical consultation resources, online journal access through EBSCO, and continuing education discounts. If you’re not aware of these, be sure to check out the website ( for more information! Supplementing these kinds of concrete benefits are less tangible, but no less important benefits.

MPA exists upon a foundation of providing connectionprotection, and growth to its members. This column highlights recent MPA happenings that illustrate each of these areas and constitute some of the more intangible benefits offered by MPA.

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Deprogramming Children and Adolescents

Intentionally Alienated from a Parent by a Custodial Parent

I have been doing reunification therapy for the past 20 years.  Family law, in my forensic experience, is one of the most difficult areas of the law for a forensic psychologist to engage in.  First of all, the range of credentials that various professionals may have who are engaging in custody studies, reunification therapy, psychological evaluations, may be anywhere from no degree, a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, a law degree to a Ph.D./Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology.  Clearly, the more training a professional has, one would assume that the professional has been trained in developmental psychology, clinical psychology, and the ability to engage in psychological/psychometric assessment to evaluate the psychological status of a child and the parents.

Parental Alienation Syndrome, while rejected by DMS-V, still remains to be a real phenomenon in my own professional opinion.  Of course, parental alienation will occur naturally in any type of adversarial marital breakup.  It does not mean that a parent will have it in their mind to intentionally alienate a child from the other parent.  Instead, the post-marital conflict is certainly experienced by the child and/or adolescent and because of their cognitive development at any particular stage, they typically will align themselves with one parent or the other.  It is difficult for that child or adolescent to come to the conclusion on their own that while their parents are divorcing, they have a right to love each parent, and to stay out of their marital and post-marital arguments.  This is, in fact, one of the most fundamental therapeutic goals I have when I am treating children or adolescents whose parents are going through a divorce.  I have encountered many cases where there has been intentional estrangement of a child from another parent.

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MPA Award Winners 2011

Four organizations received the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award during the 2011 MPA convention. Each organization met all five criteria for the award (i.e., employee involvement, employee recognition, employee development, work-life balance, and health & safety); however, each organization is also expected to be exceptional in at least one of these criteria. I will single out an exceptional practice for each of our award winners.

Hennepin County has more than 9,000 employees serving the largest county in Minnesota. To better serve its employees, the County recently reviewed employee health claims and conducted a health survey. This study revealed that 53% of employees or their spouses reported that they experienced “emotional concerns.” In addition, 3 of the top 10 prescription drugs taken by employees and spouses were anti-depressives. The county suspected that these issues were driving disability claims and requests for ADA workplace accommodations. In response, Hennepin County launched an Emotional Wellness Project. This project provided training for supervisors in two departments on recognizing and working with employees whose performance may be impacted by emotional concerns. A 90-day, follow-up survey of these supervisors found that 50% had a recent performance issue with a “troubled employee” and more than 96% reported that they had used the tools and resources from their training to work more effectively to resolve performance issues with their supervisees. As a result of this project and other initiatives, Hennepin County realized a return of $81 for every $1 spent on this program. The County hopes to expand this training program to other departments. 

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