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President's Message: March 2018

Posted By Mary Lewis, PhD, ABPP - OPA President, Thursday, March 22, 2018

As I write this newsletter article, the OPA delegation has just returned from DC and the Practice Leadership Conference (PLC) where we represented psychologists from Ohio. This year’s conference was entitled “Advancing Practice Together,” and there were a wide variety of sessions on topics ranging from the Master’s licensure issue, opioid crisis, prescriptive authority to quality data measurement registries. The conference wrapped up with a trip to Capitol Hill to visit with our federal leaders and participate in positive advocacy for psychology. I have returned energized and educated and am looking forward to sharing the conference information with the OPA membership.

From my prior experiences at PLC, it is easy to feel overwhelmed at times at the huge amount of information given, as well as all the potential roles we play as psychologists and leaders in our community. Even outside of PLC, there are abundant federal, state and local advocacy issues to follow, and each year we face the challenge of understanding how funding sources (insurance, grants, etc.) impact our daily work. Societal issues that impact our practices are ever-changing, and research that informs our practice is evolving rapidly. Bringing things from the thousand-yard view to our daily work is a constant balancing act. Even as a mid-career psychologist, the cognitive load that this balance takes can leave me exhausted at the end of the day. Yet I have privilege that others do not, and I think about their daily exhaustion and fatigue. 

Today, I struggle to prioritize for myself which seems to be the most crucial topic to focus on, yet not lose sight of the important concerns from prior weeks. The OPA Strategic Plan revisions should help us focus as an organization, but what about individual OPA members? How do you filter through information overload and source amnesia? What resources do you use in overwhelming times to identify important advocacy issues? 

Here are a few resources that may help psychologists identify what is important to them, and continue to be aware of state and federal laws and policies that may impact your teaching, practice, or research. 

  • OPA Bill Box (http://ohpsych.org/page/OPABillBox): Let OPA do the searching for you! OPA staff and our Advocacy Committee can identify current Ohio bills that are relevant to psychologists, as well as the relevant Representatives and Senators for the bill. 
  • The Ohio Legislature “My Ohio Legislature” (https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/my-ohio-legislature/dashboard): This site allows you to create an account and choose specific topics to be notified about, including global topics such as healthcare or education. You can also select specific topics such as Medicaid, Higher Education, etc. 
  • APA’s Practice Organization (http://www.apapracticecentral.org/advocacy/index.aspx): APAPO identifies national bills and advocacy topics that are relevant to the practice of psychology, and provides not only links but the Legislative Action Center, where you can easily send letters and emails.
  • APS (Association for Psychological Science; https://www.psychologicalscience.org/policy): This organization has a page dedicated specifically towards advocacy and policy statements related to the science and teaching of psychology. 

At the end of the day, we do make choices about where we focus our time, passions, energy, and money. I am thankful to each of you who have chosen to support OPA and continue to be members of this organization, to allow us to work and be advocates within Ohio for important issues. I hope that you will continue to support us and provide feedback on our work.

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