From MPA's President Steve Vincent, Ph.D., L.P.: Making Connections

Starting the New Year

As I start the year as president of MPA for 2014, I am struck by the many opportunities for linkages and connections around us.  At MPA’s annual strategic planning meeting in the fall of 2012, participants at the meeting discussed what MPA offers to its members. The conclusion: MPA offers members the chance for connection, protection and growth through our membership and association with each other.

Each of these terms (connection, protection, growth) encompasses many possibilities.  Connection can involve connecting with each other as individuals, making effective connections with students or clients/patients, connecting with the public and public officials, connecting with other professions, and the list almost certainly can go on and on.  This year’s MPA Annual Convention on April 11 and 12 at the Crowne Plaza West in Plymouth, has taken Connection, Protection and Growth as its theme, opening the door to a wide variety of fascinating topics.  The keynote addresses will talk about how we as psychologists connect with patients (from a public figure’s perspective, Ken Barlow), with the public (from the view point of a public and legislative advocate, David Wellstone), and with our own discipline and its future (from APA’s president, Nadine Kaslow, Ph.D.).

Connections between MPA and APA

As most psychologists probably assume, MPA and APA are strongly connected, though it is possible to be a member of either organization without also joining the other.  MPA has multiple structural links to APA, as exemplified by our representative on APA Council (BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D.), our Federal Advocacy Coordinator (Sy Gross, Ph.D.), our Diversity Delegate to the State Leadership Conference (Willie Garrett, Ed.D.).  There are, no doubt, even more connections than any one member knows.

As important as the structural connections, are the similarities in the interests and agenda for MPA and APA.  Dr. Kaslow has three initiatives for her year as APA president, and each of these has a connection with MPA’s 2014 activities.  The first initiative is facilitating the transition from the doctoral education to a first job, and MPA is planning a track at the annual convention that ties directly to this through several break-out sessions, including an opportunity to establish mentoring relationships.

Dr. Kaslow’s second initiative is translating psychological science for the public.  One of the ways this happens is through the Public Education Coordinators in each state association.  This role is a crucial link between psychology as a science and profession, and the public.  MPA currently has an opening for a Public Education Coordinator, and filling this position is a high priority for MPA, in order to serve the people of Minnesota, the members of MPA, and to contribute our piece to Dr. Kaslow’s initiative.

The third initiative of Dr. Kaslow is ensuring that psychologists are recognized for bringing value to patient centered medical homes.  In Minnesota efforts are under way to establish patient centered behavioral health homes, and MPA is working to ensure that such homes can be organized under the direction of psychologists as well as physicians and other primary care providers.

From Ideas to Action

The examples above show some, certainly not all, of the connections MPA makes with other organizations.  These connections are very important and beneficial to MPA and to Minnesota psychologists, but they mean little or nothing if individual psychologists are not connected to one another and to MPA.  Indeed, MPA would not exist if it was not for the individual psychologists who have chosen to make that connection.  The action of joining MPA is a first step of connection, and that connection allows MPA to serve its members and the people of Minnesota.

If you are connected by membership—great!!  If you are a psychologist who has not yet joined MPA, please do so right away.  Membership has many benefits for the individual, and contributes to all the benefits MPA brings to the public as well as to the science and profession of psychology.  MPA needs all of us, so please stay connected or get connected.

Steven M. Vincent, Ph.D., L.P., recently retired as Director of Behavioral Health Services, CentraCare Health System.  Dr. Vincent is the current President of MPA, having served two terms on the Governing Council from 2003 to 2009, and as Legislative Committee Chair from 2004-2012.  Steve was also on the Governing Council of the American Hospital Association Section on Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Services from 2010 through 2012.  He is the founding chair of the Minnesota Hospital Association’s Mental Health Task Force.  He can be reached at [email protected].

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