From MPA's President Robin McLeod, Ph.D., L.P.: The Great Minnesota Psychology Get-Together

I always have thought of MPA’s Annual Convention as much like the Minnesota State Fair for psychologists.  Complete with psychology’s version of admission discounts, a Mid-way area, a Grandstand line-up, vendors displaying items of interest to just about anyone, games of skill and chance, and blue ribbon awards. This year’s MPA Annual Convention has something for every Minnesota Psychologist.  We even will have our own version of free entertainment!  Please play along with me as I expand upon this fun analogy.

When you arrive at The Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West Hotel in Plymouth on April 15 & 16, you will check in at the registration table where you will be given a nametag, your pre-purchased ticket to everything at the convention.  If for some reason you haven’t yet purchased a ticket, no worries!  Rhea Sullivan, MPA’s Administrative Director, and one of the convention Visitor Guides, will help you get registered so that you will be ready for two days of action-packed fun!  And, if you are new to MPA, she also will let you know about the huge membership discount available to you only at the convention.  Yes, that’s right.  If you have never been a member of MPA, or if your membership lapsed at least three years ago, you can become a full dues-paying MPA member for a discount of $200.  It’s a bargain only offered during the Great Minnesota Psychology Get-Together!

As you enter the fairgrounds, you will be greeted by Exhibitors/Vendors who are hoping to catch your eye.  You will see exhibit tables staffed by The Emily Program, Mental Health Systems and Hazelden, to name only a few, who will be eager to provide you with information on their treatment options for your clients and patients.  Representatives from BreezyNotes, MediBill and Paragon will be ready to fill you in on all of the latest bells and whistles their billing and EHR solutions have to offer.  You will even have a chance to chat with government officials by stopping by the table displays of the MN Board of Psychology, the Department of Human Services, and Disability Determination Services.  And never fear, your convention organizers have a special treat planned for you.  This year, for the first time at the MPA annual convention, you can play Exhibitor PINGO.  Yes, you will be given a PINGO card to play the game.  To be entered to win one of several door prizes, all you have to do is collect stamps from all of the Exhibitors.  It’s fun, easy and very informative.

You also won’t want to miss MPA’s impressive Grandstand line-up.  On Friday, the convention begins in the Grandstand area, also known as the Ballroom, to hear our first keynote speaker.  After a rousing welcome by the Convention Committee Chair, Dr. Jean Chagnon, we will hear from Dr. Edward Ehlinger, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health as he talks about how the triple aim of health equity in Minnesota is designed to address the growing health disparities among people of color.  Dr.  Ehlinger is a powerful and charismatic speaker who will inspire you in your work as a psychologist.  On Saturday, one of our very own, Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, past President of MPA and current President of APA’s Division 35, The Society for the Psychology of Women, will rouse a desire for action and change as she speaks to the role of Psychology in promoting social justice and the right to wellness in Minnesota.  If you have ever heard Dr. Garrett-Akinsanya speak, you know how incredibly moving and motivating she can be.

Not-to-be-missed, your days at the Great Psychology Get-Together will be spent admiring the fascinating presentations that showcase all of the hard work and talents of your colleagues.  Selecting which break-out sessions to attend is going to be particularly difficult this year.  Which will you choose:  gaining tools to begin offering telementalhealth services, integrating Mind-Body practices when working with abuse survivors and chronic pain patients, or getting up to speed on working with such diverse populations such as Somali refugees, trans*identified youth, or Native American clients?  Or perhaps you will be drawn to learning more about incorporating outcomes measures in your practice, building partnerships with primary care, or listening to adults on the autism spectrum talk about their experiences in psychotherapy.  I am only mentioning a few of the possibilities.  Your days at the annual convention offer so very many outstanding CE options that are not to be missed!

Not to be outdone, while treating yourself to great food options available throughout the day (including FREE ice cream in the afternoon), you will have a chance to visit MPA poster sessions that showcase a multitude of psychology research projects happening in your very own backyard.  This year, MPA’s past presidents will be awarding Presidential Awards of Merit to the top three posters each day.  So, be sure to check in during the morning poster session on both days, and try to predict which posters will receive the top prizes!

Finally, your MPA Convention Committee wants to make sure you have even more fun this year.  At the end of the day, join your psychology colleagues for networking as you enjoy light appetizers, a cash bar, and the entertainment provided by MPA’s first-ever improvised comedy show highlighting the talents of Minnesota’s own ComedySportz. Come for the networking, stay for the laughs.  You even can bring a guest at no extra charge to this evening of fun, so invite your partner to join you at the Convention fairgrounds at the end of the workday!

So you see, all of the past years when you attended MPA’s Annual Convention, you always thought you were attending just another convention.  What you really have been doing is joining with other Minnesotans in the Great Minnesota Psychology Get-Together.  For two days in April, you have been connecting with friends you haven’t seen in awhile, sharing professional stories with colleagues, all while enjoying fabulous food and enriching opportunities to grow together professionally.  And, if you have never attended an MPA Annual Convention, you are in for a treat this year!  Come join us as we celebrate all that is outstanding about Psychology in Minnesota!  I hope to see all of you at the “FAIR” in just a few weeks.

Robin McLeod, Ph.D., L.P., is the 2016 MPA President. She founded and owns a small private practice behavioral health specialty clinic with two locations: Woodbury & St. Paul.  You may email her at [email protected].  Her websites are: and

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