When I first visited Hawaii in 1974, a year before I started graduate school, I was told that “aloha” meant several things:  hello, goodbye, and I love you. A few decades have come and gone since then. I finished graduate school, worked in several roles as a psychologist, and in 2008 was elected to serve as your APA Representative. As I now write my final APA Representative communiqué, I do so from the perspective of having attended my last Council of Representatives (COR) meeting in Hawaii.  It is therefore fitting that this aloha column means both hello and goodbye.  I would also have to say that as love fests go, it has truly been a blast serving you in this capacity.

In regard to COR meetings, the 2013 (COR) meeting in Waikiki wasn’t exactly a barnburner as we like to say in the Midwest.  It was important for the internal workings of APA in that it primarily focused on our Good Governance Project, a multi-year endeavor to help us become more streamlined and effective as a Council.  The work we did leading up to and being in Hawaii will reflect itself in a different composition of the Council in years to come.  I expect that you will hear more about those developments from MPA’s newly elected 2014 council representative BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D.

In the meantime, APA continues to be the largest psychological association in the world.  It represents your interests in Congress, in the public eye, and in your offices.  It makes psychology known to the profession and the world through its massive publication arm.  It endeavors to be responsive to your needs and keeps you apprised of developments that affect you now and in the future. It serves the public interest by bringing scientific research to public policy forums, legislatures, media outlets, and the courts.  It is solvent and continues to attract new members.

But APA isn’t perfect.  It is only as good as the investment that we as psychologists are willing to make in it by paying our dues; financially and energetically.

You can help improve APA by renewing your membership (it’s that time of year), joining a division, paying your practice assessment dues (without which we are unable to lobby for our practice interests), publishing research, mentoring early career psychologists, encouraging other psychologists to join MPA and APA, using what you have learned as a psychologist to educate and care for others, and directing the public to our website.

New APA President Elect Barry Anton’s campaign motto was “Psychology Works.” It does.  And it works even better when all of us get involved.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be involved in APA’s governance body the past six years.  It’s been great!


Margaret C. Charmoli, Ph.D., has been the American Psychological Association Representative from Minnesota for the past six years. She is a Past President of the Minnesota Psychological Association.

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