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Nominations Open For Three MPA Teaching Awards

Nominations for each of three MPA Teaching Awards (Graduate Faculty in Psychology, Mink Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher Award, Outstanding Teaching of Psychology in Community/Two-Year Colleges) should be submitted to the MPA Office no later than Friday, March 4, 2016.  The criteria and nomination process for each award are outlined below.  Questions can be directed to Jack Rossmann at Macalester College ([email protected]).

MPA Award for Outstanding Graduate Faculty in Psychology

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News & Updates

I am so delighted to be the 2015 President of the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA).  I truly believe I am your President, representing psychologists in Minnesota during a time of significant change in the delivery of healthcare across Minnesota.  Already in my 3 weeks as your MPA President, there has been a lot of buzz about the Minnesota January 2015 mandate pertaining to Electronic Health Records (EHR) and the Executive Summary of the Minnesota Mental Health Workforce Plan.

In the area of Electronic Health Records (EHR), MPA established an Electronic Health Records task force that has been very active in seeking to understand the demands of e-health so as to educate and make recommendations to our members and other mental health professionals.  MPA sponsored two education and training sessions on Health Reform and Electronic Records, in February of 2014 and in January of 2015, and psychologists continue to have many questions and concerns regarding privacy and security, as well as the information that needs to be included in an electronic health record.  This Minnesota Department of Health link provides some guidance for understanding this mandate and includes some recommendations for the adoption and effective use of EHRs.  This can be found at: Guidance for Understanding the Minnesota 2015 Interoperable EHR Mandate.

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Disruptive Innovation in the Practice of Psychology

It is hard to believe that 2015 is coming to a close.  My niece once reasoned about why time seems to fly by as we get older, “For a 5-year-old, one year is 1/5th of your life; for a 45-year-old, one year is 1/45th of your life!”  Time is definitely relative, and it seems to be speeding by.  Do you think we can extend the same relativity of time to the changes that the practice of psychology is seeing?

As graduate students, it seemed as if we were entering a profession that was well-established with time-honored and well-researched skills and practices to learn.  With each passing year, new discoveries in the connections between the human brain and behavior are found.  Over time the God-words of psychology transform from “eclectic” to “integrative;” CBT moves over for DBT; and, mindfulness and evidence-based practice seem to be dominant buzzwords.  Simultaneously, technology in our world is advancing at a rapid pace, and disruptive innovation is a term I believe we all need to understand.

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The Year for Mental Health

In Minnesota, 2015 will go down in history as a good year for mental health.  The 2015 legislative session provided $51 million in new funding for a number of mental health initiatives.  An excellent summary of the 2015 Minnesota Legislative session can be found on the following link from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness:

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The Minnesota Psychological Association at the American Psychological Association.

MPA at APA:  Photos from the Front

The first time I attended the American Psychological Association convention was when I was still a graduate student, and I was presenting a poster session of research I had done with my academic advisor.  That was far too many years ago.  Fast forward to 2015, and with many years of life behind me, I attended the APA convention for the second time this past August.

Like 12,000 other psychologists, I boarded a plane to Canada, anticipating that I would experience the APA convention a little differently after so many years in private practice.

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Do you know your ACE score?

Do you know your blood pressure or your cholesterol score?  Do you know your own ACE score?  Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic experiences, including abuse, neglect, and a range of household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence, or growing up with substance abuse, mental illness, parental discord, or crime in the home. ACEs are strongly related to disruptions in development and have been linked to a range of adverse health outcomes in adulthood.  The ACEs questionnaire is available in 7 languages and can be found here.

So why should psychologists measure ACEs across the age span and why is something that happened in childhood important in my work with adults? 

The Center for Disease Control’s Adverse Childhood Experience Study – The ACE Study – suggests that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with a number of long-term negative health outcomes and risky behaviors.  ACEs are associated with cancer, diabetes, depression, suicide, ischemic heart disease, smoking, drug abuse, obesity, sexually transmitted infections, and adolescent pregnancy.  In a time where treating the health of our population is getting a lot of emphasis, the recognition that a higher ACEs score is associated with a higher risk of negative health consequences is likely to improve efforts towards prevention and recovery.

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Is Your Inner Eeyore Getting in the Way? Steps Toward Thriving in Private Practice

Over the past year or so, there have been times when I felt overwhelmed by all of the changes to the practice of psychology that we are experiencing with our evolving health care system.  Frankly, occasionally I can find myself dropping into what I call “an Eeyore frame of mind.” Remember Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh?  He was the doomsday donkey who could turn any joyful moment into something about which to feel sad or gloomy.  So, when I first learned that psychologists, like other health care professionals, were going to be required to use electronic health records, I did not see this as something that was making me leap for joy.  When I learned that Medicare was going to be incentivizing my work only if I began to report PQRS measures to somehow prove that my work was effective, I balked.  And, when I learned that there was a monumental shift on the horizon toward population-based, value-driven payment models, I could hear my inner Eeyore groan!

I have been in private practice since the beginning of my professional life as a psychologist.  With few exceptions, I have been my own boss, owning a small business like the vast majority of members of the Minnesota Psychological Association.  So to look toward the future of private practice as the Affordable Care Act and HIPAA rules seemed to be taking over, and to hear Eeyore’s voice saying, “Oh, well, I guess it’s all for naught,” was not a joyful moment for me.  And then, thankfully, my inner Tigger kicked in:  “Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb but how well you bounce,” I heard him say!  I want to share with you one of the books that has helped me to discover the “bounce” I needed to feel hopeful and joyful about the future of private practice and about the future of the business of psychology.

Dave Verhaagen and Frank Gaskill, two doctoral-level psychologists living, working and thriving professionally in North Carolina, founded a psychology practice that is riding the waves of disruptive innovation in remarkable ways.  Disruptive innovation is a term that is used to describe what happens when traditional ways of doing things in an industry become obsolete because of technological advances.  Think cell phones replacing land lines, iPods and mp3 players replacing record albums, or the Kindle replacing hardcover books.  The health care industry is experiencing an explosion of potentially disruptive new technologies, and traditional models of private practice are likely to experience this as well.  Are you ready?  Is your inner Tigger bouncing?  If your answer to these questions is “No!” then I strongly encourage you to read Verhaagen’s and Gaskill’s book, How We Built Our Dream Practice: Innovative Ideas for Building Yours (2014).  If your answer is “Yes!” also read the book and be inspired and excited.

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MPA’s Relevance: To Connect, Protect and Grow

As President of the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA), I am so thankful to have the opportunity to lead an association of psychologists who have a passion for improving the lives of the people we serve.  I believe in the ability of psychologists to uniquely make a difference in the world and am thrilled that psychologists and mental health care are getting increased recognition for strengthening families and relationships, helping to mitigate the impact of trauma and adversity, improving public welfare, and for improving patient outcomes.  I appreciate your membership in MPA and will strive to make apparent the relevance of your membership in MPA.  Unless you are a member of a committee, task force, or the Governing Council, the relevance of MPA may not always be as apparent as I would like it to be.

MPA’s mission is “to serve the science of psychology and its application throughout Minnesota so the interests of public welfare and psychologists are mutually enhanced.”  So why is MPA relevant in 2015?

A quick answer is that MPA offers many opportunities to connect, protect, and grow.

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Results of the Minnesota Psychological Association Survey on the Use of Electronic Health Records

Effective January 1, 2015, Minnesota law required that all healthcare providers in the state adopt and use an interoperable electronic health record system (EHR).  This deadline brought with it controversy among behavioral health providers, many of whom began to advocate for repealing the Minnesota EHR Mandate.  Concerns expressed and shared by many psychologists and other behavioral healthcare providers seemed to converge on issues related to patient privacy and security, costs of EHR adoption particularly for small businesses, and the absence of a choice of whether or not to use EHR.  Dr. Stephen Huey, a Minnesota psychologist, broadly distributed a 25-page document (Huey, 2014) outlining these concerns. This white paper generated support among psychologists toward repealing the EHR Mandate.  Subsequently, Dr. Richard Sethre, another Minnesota psychologist, created and distributed what he described to be an informal survey of behavioral health providers that yielded responses from 567 of the 3783 Licensed Psychologists in Minnesota (Sethre, 2015).

In response to calls from members of the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) for a formal position statement on the MN EHR Mandate, the leadership of MPA organized a panel of speakers for the annual convention on the EHR Mandate topic with representatives on both sides of the controversy.  The panel, moderated by Dr. Robin McLeod, President-Elect of MPA, included five speakers:  Dr. Stephen Huey; Dr. Trisha Stark, chair of the MPA legislative committee and EHR Task Force;  Dr. Lee Beecher, a prominent psychiatrist and strong advocate for patient rights;  and, Karen Soderberg and Bob Johnson, both from the Department of Health Information Technology at the Minnesota Department of Health.  An hour of the convention break-out session EHR panel was devoted to an open microphone exchange allowing comments and questions from psychologists in attendance, with members of the MPA leadership present to listen to and take in what members were saying.

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Stress, Communications and the Rapid Pace of Change

New Year’s Day, 2015.  A new year and new responsibilities.  Waking up to a cup of coffee, reading the newspaper with my wife, HGTV on in the background, and soaking in the relaxation on one of those rare “unscheduled” days that I truly enjoy.  Thinking about my new role as President of the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) was not a high priority on my mind on January 1, yet it was something I did think about.  Ah, yes.  January 1, 2015.  I am now MPA’s President.  I want to be a great President for MPA. Being a psychologist is something I am truly proud of, and being the ambassador for psychologists in this State is an honor.  It really is!

Reality check 

The responsibility of representing MPA’s membership became very real.  In 2007 the Minnesota Legislature mandated the Electronic Health Record Technology Statute §62J.495, also known as the 2015 EHR Mandate, which states “[b]y  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.”  Starting my role as MPA President on the same day as the 2015 EHR Mandate?  Was this destiny?  Fate?  A very bad coincidence?  A payback for some wrong that I may or may not have committed in my youth?

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Harnessing Innovation to Help Psychology Thrive

These are exciting times to be a psychologist!  What a whirlwind these first few months have been as I started my term as President-Elect of MPA.

The year began with a flurry of passionate activity among psychologists as the Minnesota law requiring all healthcare providers to be using an interoperable EHR went into effect.  In an effort to respond and listen, volunteers within MPA organized a panel of speakers for our annual convention on this topic with plenty of time for audience interaction.  What a joy it was to witness such a large gathering of Minnesota psychologists last weekend taking time to give voice to their concerns about the changing healthcare landscape and the impact these changes are having on the way we practice.

Earlier in March, several of the volunteers in leadership positions within MPA attended the State Leadership Conference (SLC) hosted by the American Psychological Association Practice Organization (APAPO) in Washington, DC.  This year’s theme was “Practice Innovation,” and the message I came away with from that experience was stated succinctly by Katherine Nordal, the Executive Director of APAPO:  “Now is not the time for panic; now is the time for action!”   The question she asked in her opening speech is one I believe we all should begin asking ourselves:  How can we as psychologists harness innovation to improve the quality of our services?  I will add this question:  How can we harness innovation to create thriving business models that preserve independent psychology practices?

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Electronic Health Records and Radical Change!

Electronic Health Records (EHR) seem to be on the minds of most psychologists lately.  As the 1/1/2015 deadline for the Minnesota EHR Mandate arrived, the issue is being forced, and I, like many MPA members, are witnessing what feels like a flurry of email exchanges about the EHR mandate on our listservs.  So many questions, so many worries, so much energy — and so very many opportunities!

As a psychologist in private practice for the past 20+ years, I often find myself working with clients to help them find opportunity in whatever hardship they are facing.  For some clients, the hardships they are facing are tragic, and we work together to find hope within the darkness.  Sometimes, the hardships are about facing radical change to their own life situations because significant others have made choices outside of their control.  Perhaps this is finding hope within the darkness as well; although, often I find myself encouraging clients to actively seek the opportunities that such radical change inevitably presents.

I believe the practice of psychology is now facing radical change.  This radical change has been given to us, not by our own choosing, but by the changes to healthcare services brought on by the Affordable Care Act and HIPAA privacy and security rules.  Minnesota, being the great liberal state that she historically has been, is leading the country in this radical change with the 2015 EHR Mandate.  Minnesota is the first state in the country implementing an EHR mandate that will become a Federal requirement in a few short years.

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New Electronic Health Record (EHR) Requirements: History & Highlights

As the ball dropping in Times Square ushered in 2015, healthcare providers in Minnesota took a collective breath in anticipation of how the new electronic health record (EHR) requirements would be implemented.  Minnesota is clearly the vanguard of this effort nationally, and as such, serves as a proving ground for new healthcare service delivery and communication.  Being part of a national experiment is challenging and exciting; challenging in regard to the unknowns of how new systems and partnerships with fellow healthcare providers will develop; exciting in being part of a process that brings us together as a profession and can shape our future efforts – especially regarding the use of psychological records.

Prior to January 1, we could still sit and ‘wonder’ about what all of these changes would be like.  Presently, we no longer have that luxury – it is here.  As a professional community, we are already beginning to see the need for working together in our common professional and client interests.  The coming years are sure to include the expected (and perhaps unsettling) surges and repulsions of progress as we work to find common ground.

Before moving forward with this process, we, leaders of the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA), current officers and past presidents, wanted to take a moment to reflect upon and express appreciation for the considerable and substantive efforts by those who have brought us to this point.  Specifically, we proudly recognize the work that the Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) Task Force has accomplished to date to diligently keep psychologists informed of legal requirements regarding EHR in Minnesota.  We also are confident and in full support of their continued work under the leadership of Dr. Trisha Stark as we seek to fully understand the 2015 Minnesota EHR Mandate and its requirements for implementation in our professional practices as licensed psychologists in Minnesota.  If it were not for the work of the EHR Task Force and of Dr. Trisha Stark specifically, few psychologists would be aware of the Minnesota EHR Mandate.

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Making MPA More Valuable – Planning for the Future

On September 27, the MPA Governing Council (GC) and Committee Chairs met for a strategic planning retreat, with the specific goal of developing objectives and action plans for 2015.  This work builds on the past two years, which have taken our strategic plan model that was developed in September 2012, and moved MPA forward to a more financially stable and smoothly functioning organization.  As MPA leaders met this year, the focus was on continuing the progress of the past two years while also finding new ways to make MPA even more valuable to all of us.

Our Home

Developing from the notion that MPA is the professional home for all psychologists and psychology students in Minnesota, the strategic model for MPA is that of a house.  The foundation of the house is why MPA exists, and at the 2012 planning retreat we determined that MPA exists to provide “Connection, Protection and Growth” for our members.  The foundation is held together by MPA’s mission statement, “To serve the science of psychology and its applications throughout Minnesota so the interests of public welfare and psychologists are mutually enhanced.”

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Making MPA Relevant

This past weekend, the leadership of MPA met for our annual strategic retreat to continue to plan the next steps of our professional association’s growth.  This year, one of the topics of discussion was YOU – well, you, and your colleagues who have chosen not to become dues paying members of MPA.

You see, over the past 15 years, psychologists increasingly have decided either not to renew their membership in MPA, or they simply have elected never to join us at all.   What else has happened in the past 15 years?  The number of Licensed Psychologists has grown by about 1000.  The internet has become the primary means of communication.  And, across the country, membership in professional associations has declined steadily.  Professionals in general are just not joining professional associations.

MPA leadership wants to know why, and we need your help.  We are starting with a couple of assumptions.  First, even though MPA offers the same kinds of benefits we’ve always offered, we attribute a significant decline in membership in MPA to a decline in the value of what MPA has to offer psychologists in Minnesota.  The need to connect with peers and colleagues is still there.  The desire to find affordable, competent continuing education hours is still alive and well.  The need to come together to protect the interests of the profession of psychology is more important now than ever before.

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Planning for the Future: Protecting Psychology and the Public Welfare

On September 27, MPA will hold its annual Strategic Planning Retreat, bringing together all members of MPA’s Governing Council (which is our board of directors) and all committee chairs.  This is the occasion for reviewing our organization’s long-range strategic plan, the progress on the actions planned for 2014, and developing the action items for 2015.  It is pretty easy to become skeptical about such planning processes because the work to actually implement action steps can be significant, and keeping track of the progress made requires attention to detail, which is time consuming and requires some discipline.  It is not unusual for plans to be created, given little attention, and then new plans made while starting from scratch.

A Significant Success

Thus, it is a noteworthy accomplishment that MPA has stayed focused on our plan and action steps for the past two years, and has continued to “work the plan.”  Our current plan was adopted at the 2012 planning retreat, and has four pillars on which MPA’s strength is based:  leadership and governance; operations and organizational structure; member engagement; and fiscal solvency.  Many, many accomplishments in support of each pillar have been made in the last two years, but perhaps the most measureable has been the improvement in MPA’s financial position, which has improved by approximately $100,000 and moved from a state of significant indebtedness to a positive bottom line.  This was accomplished by lots of attention and hard work from many people leading and following the strategic plan.

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Information on the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS)

Very recently I was reading an exchange of e-mails from the MPA’s Division of Doctoral Level Professional Practice.  The message stated, “As of October 1, 2014 the WHODAS is required when doing a diagnostic assessment for an adult with Medical Assistance.  This is in lieu of the GAF.  See resources at the very bottom of this message.”  Thanks to Trisha Stark, Ph.D. and all others who contributed to this e-mail exchange.

My first thought about the WHODAS was WHOWHAT?  My second thought was “required when doing a diagnostic assessment” very quickly followed up by “OCTOBER 1?”  I won’t share my next thoughts since I need to keep this clean, yet I suspect all of us are very busy people and have implemented a number of practice changes over the past couple of years.   WHOKNOWS, maybe this information came out a long time ago, but the first I became aware of this new mandate was in the e-mail exchange from members of MPA, and then by following up by reading the September 8 issue of the MHCP provider news.  Yes, that’s the September 8 issue and this new mandate goes into effect October 1!  Yikes!

Putting my motivational interviewing skills to good use, on the one hand I could hope that the November elections will make this new mandate go away, and on the other hand, I am aware that as of October 1, the Department of Human Services has the authority to deny payment for any diagnostic assessments that do not include the WHODAS, which is short for the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0.  If you are reading about this for the first time, I put the links to the MHCP provider news and to the WHODAS at the bottom of this article.  At this time, this mandate applies when a diagnostic assessment is completed on an adult with medical assistance.   As new screening tools become mandates in our practice, I anticipate you will see chatter in the MPA news and listservs.

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MPA’s Mission, Vision and Value

In many things I have written for the Minnesota Psychologist over the years, in our old print version through our PDF version and now in our online version, I have talked about getting engaged in MPA—how important, even crucial, member engagement is.  Now I want to return to that topic, but also to look at what comes first before engagement—namely membership.

The desire to support MPA’s mission, “To serve the science of psychology and its applications throughout Minnesota so the interests of public welfare and psychologists are mutually enhanced,” is a great reason to become a member. Similarly, our vision, “to be a thriving community of psychologists that exists for the purpose of genuinely serving the public and the field of psychology,” provides an excellent reason for membership.

The MPA Governing Council (GC), at its strategic planning meeting in the fall of 2012, also identified providing a scientific and professional home that fosters “connection, protection and growth” as a value MPA provides for its members.  We used that value statement as a theme for the 2014 Annual Convention, and we continue to provide that value through the convention, education and training events, legislative advocacy, working with payers, fostering a mentoring program and providing listservs that make connection easier, to mention just a few of the avenues MPA is pursuing.

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Motivational Interviewing

I really enjoy learning and have challenged myself to learn something I consider substantial every year.  When I was in the first semester of my freshman year in college, it was learning how to learn.  When I completed graduate school, it was learning to read for fun.  One year, it was learning how to sail big sailboats and another year it was scuba diving.  When I turned 50, it was riding a motorcycle, not as a mid-life crisis but as a mid-life adventure.  I really look forward to learning the rest of my life.

If there is one thing I wish I knew when I was an early career psychologist and a young husband and father, I think it would have been Motivational Interviewing (MI), a skill or approach developed by distinguished psychologists, William Miller, Ph.D. and Stephen Rollnick, Ph.D.  MI as an approach is infused with respect and compassion for the clients we get to know and the people we talk with in our everyday life.  According to Miller and Rollnick, MI is done “for” and “with” a person and it is not something done by an expert to a passive recipient, like a master to a disciple. (Miller & Rollnick, 2013, p.15).

Even better, I would have learned this approach in graduate school as I would have been much better equipped to manage my first videotaped, supervised therapy appointment that involved an angry, 14 year-old adolescent who told me she was “forced” to come in by her parents and she would not be talking during the appointment.  Well, her commitment to not talk was a 10 on a 10 point scale, and I found out later in supervision that the videotape didn’t catch my heart racing and my fight or flight response kicking into high gear.  I suspect we have all had those experiences in our offices where we would like to push the pause button and head to Maui.

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2014 Minnesota Psychological Association’s Annual Convention Award Winners

Award:  Susan T. Rydell Outstanding Contribution to Psychology Award
Winner:  Bruce Bobbitt, Ph.D., L.P.

Bruce Bobbitt, Ph.D., L.P. is this year’s recipient of the Susan T. Rydell Outstanding Contribution to Psychology Award.  The Susan T. Rydell Outstanding Contribution to Psychology Award recognizes an MPA member who has made distinguished contributions to the field and discipline of psychology in the State of Minnesota. Dr. Bobbitt received his Ph.D. in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota.  He is currently employed as the Vice President of Quality Management and Improvement for Optum Behavioral Health Solutions.  Dr. Bobbitt has served the Minnesota Psychological Association in countless ways over many years.  He served as a member of MPA’s Governing Council for 14 years, and as treasurer for 5 years.  Dr. Bobbitt served as MPA’s representative to the American Psychological Association’s Council of Representatives from 1990 to 1995.  Dr. Bobbitt frequently provided presentations to MPA members at its annual convention and in other education venues.  Dr. Bobbitt played a key role in the discussion leading to changes in the academic preparation for licensure as a psychologist in Minnesota.  This was a long, contentious discussion that was resolved in large measure through his work.  Dr. Bobbitt was awarded the Karl F. Heiser Presidential Award for Advocacy on Behalf of Professional Psychology from the American Psychological Association (APA) for his leadership.

Nationally, Dr. Bobbitt has also made significant contributions.  He has served as a consulting editor for the journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice from 1994-2006 and 2012 to the present.  He served on the Behavioral Health Advisory Panel for the National Committee for Quality Assurance from 2003-2007 and currently started serving again in 2012 to present.  He was an invited participant and discussant for APA’s Practice Summit held in April 2009 in San Antonio, Texas.  Dr. Bobbitt has also been an invited workshop and plenary speaker for the AOA State Leadership Conference.  He has authored a number of articles on psychology policy, especially quality improvement, in peer reviewed journals.  Dr. Bobbitt has been a frequent invited speaker for state and national groups regarding quality, health reform, and the emergence of new payment models in psychology.  In addition, Dr. Bobbitt has served his community in a number of volunteer capacities.  He served on the Board of Directors for Walk-In Counseling center from 2000-2011 and acted as Board Chair from 2005-2011. Dr. Bobbitt also served on the Board of Directors of the Budget for Runaway Youth from 1986-1992 and led as Board Chair from 1990-1991.  Beyond his many distinguished achievements in the service of psychology, Dr. Bobbitt is a personal champion for psychology in Minnesota, holding high standards for MPA and its members. 

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