From MPA's Past President Scott Palmer, Ph.D., L.P.: Ringing in the New Year with the Minnesota Psychological Association

The Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) is in great shape and great hands.  Ringing in the New Year inspires us to look ahead to 2016 and gives us the opportunity to reflect on the events that shaped 2015.  As MPA’s President for 2015, I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and am proud to be a psychologist in Minnesota.  Our 2016 MPA President, Robin McLeod, is fantastic and I thank my mentor and friend, Steve Vincent, for serving MPA well as our 2014 President and our 2015 past president.  MPA’s Executive Committee and Governing Council members have worked hard to implement strategic initiatives for 2015.  Our strategic initiatives for 2016 move MPA forward in a way that expands the resources and support for psychologists in Minnesota.  A special thanks to MPA’s Treasurer, Pearl Barner II and to MPA’s secretary, Mimi Sa for their service to you and to MPA.

So what is happening in MPA as we start out the New Year?

First, I am very pleased to announce that the APA Practice Organization (APAPO) and the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP) awarded the Minnesota Psychological Association a legislative grant of $14,000 to support lobbyist and legislative consultant fees.  This grant, made possible from funds collected through the practice assessment of licensed psychologists, is awarded in the spirit of resource sharing to support legislative and lobbying efforts aimed at promoting the practice of psychology.  In Minnesota, this grant will help fund costs incurred as MPA pursues an improved duty to warn statute, a Medicaid fee increase, and the support of psychologists who supervise interns.

I am in receipt of a letter from APA (October 30, 2015) that states, “During the current legislative grant cycle, CAPP received requests from a large number of SPTAs (State, Provincial and Territorial Psychological Associations) for a total amount of funding that far exceeded the pool of grant money available.  Despite limited resources, CAPP values MPA’s efforts to implement health care reform on behalf of psychologists in Minnesota.”

A big thank you to APA, to APA’s Practice Organization, and to APA’s Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice for this grant.

Second, I am happy to report that the Minnesota Psychological Association wastes no time when gaps in our State Statues put psychology supervisors, interns, postdocs, or unlicensed psychologists preparing for licensure at risk in duty to warn situations.  MPA’s legislative committee has worked hard to draft a legislative bill that expands protections in our Duty to Warn statutes, and a draft of this bill is now in the hands of the Office of the Revisor of Statutes and Senator Kathleen Sheran.  MPA has worked collaboratively with the Minnesota Board of Psychology in drafting a bill that makes sense to MPA and to the Board, and working collaboratively with the Board of Psychology is a priority for MPA as we look forward to 2016.

Third, I am pleased to announce that MPA will have a new Division in 2016 for psychologists in Health Care Organizations.  It is clear to me that the Private Practice Division of MPA provides invaluable support for psychologists in solo or small practices.  If you’re not yet convinced, just sign up for the Private Practice listserv and pay attention to the wealth of information and support that is shared from the wisdom and knowledge of psychologists who thrive in private practice.  As a strategic initiative, the Division for Psychologists in Health Care Organizations will provide similar support for psychologists employed in hospitals, primary care clinics, or in graduate level training programs that emphasize health psychology and the practice changes that are a result of the Affordable Care Act.   If you’re interested in joining this new Division, send an email to MPA Administrative Director Rhea Sullivan at [email protected].

Finally, I am happy to report that MPA has reversed the national trend of declining membership in associations and is once again growing as an organization.  During this time of change, the value of MPA is clear so that psychologists are protected through legislative initiatives, education and training opportunities in MPA are affordable and speak to current trends in the practice of psychology, and our divisions and committees provide invaluable support and wisdom as we proceed in the future.  Connection, Protection, and Growth.  That’s what MPA is all about.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve MPA.

Scott Palmer, Ph.D., is the Director of the Behavioral Health Clinic at St. Cloud Hospital, an assistant adjunct professor at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, and is Past President of the Minnesota Psychological Association.  He is a volunteer member of the Red Cross, where he provides psychological first aid to survivors of local or national disasters.  He is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and uses MI in his practice to help people move toward positive change.

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