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This community blog is written by the current OPA Board of Directors' President.


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President's Message: September 2018

Posted By Katharine Hahn Oh, PhD, Friday, September 28, 2018

One of my favorite things to do is help create a sense of community or belonging. As a child, my family moved every few years, but we were part of a larger community that sustained my sense of belonging. My mother was a Salvation Army minister, and no matter what small town we were currently in, we would go to the same summer camp each year and see the same people from Nebraska, South Dakota, and Iowa. As I got older, I started going to the larger events in Chicago with Salvation Army people from all over the Midwest. I had a sense of belonging even when I was in a new place or didn’t personally know anyone because we were all part of this larger community focused on faith and helping others. 

Of course, all communities are made of people who are fallible, and I came to be critical of the Salvation Army as I questioned my faith and made friends who are LGBTQ+. Now, I try to hold both a critical and engaged stance with my communities, always wanting to help improve the groups I’m part of. I have a sense that if I can help others feel a sense of belonging, then they also can engage more and help improve the community. 

This is my hope as I start my year as OPA President – that I can help you feel a sense of belonging in the OPA community and that I can encourage you to contribute in ways that help psychologists and the public in Ohio. It is humbling to imagine what I will be able to achieve in this one-year volunteer role. I’m very aware that most of the work is done by the dedicated staff and the hard working committees and affiliate groups, but I hope to contribute my bit. I appreciate how much the Presidents before me were able to accomplish and especially want to thank Mary Miller for modeling such inclusiveness as a leader!

I notice for myself and a number of other psychologists that we often feel on the outside of a group. It can then be easier to do less, speak up less, or simply critique rather than engage positively, and this may keep us feeling like we’re on the outside. I want to challenge you and myself this year to courageously speak up, engage with each other, and try to make a difference. For each of us, the next steps in engagement will be different. 

For Brad Potts (Advocacy Committee Chair) and Gary Carrington (past VP for Diversity), talking with their legislators is easy and normal. For me, it will be my stretch this year – to meet with my legislators and talk about some of the important issues OPA wants to address. I also want to remain responsive to emails, though at times it will be a challenge when my job as Counseling Center Director at Cleveland State gets hectic. If you would like to join me by creating your own stretch goal or two, here are some thoughts about what they could be: 

If you want to join me this year to engage a bit more with the OPA community or to advance OPA’s mission, what will you do? I would love to hear! Please feel free to email me.

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President's Message: August 2018

Posted By Mary Lewis, PhD, ABPP - OPA President, Thursday, August 30, 2018

It is difficult to believe that my year as OPA President is ending -- what a year it has been! The individual accomplishments of the OPA board, committees/task-forces, and staff are too numerous to recount in this e-newsletter column, so I would encourage you to read the great summary in OPA Annual Review that will arrive in your mailbox soon. 

As I reflect on the year, I would like to take this column to personally express gratitude to everyone who has made this year an outstanding one, not just for OPA but also for psychologists in Ohio. My professional gratitude list includes the following:

OPA Staff: I cannot speak highly enough about Michael, Karen, Carolyn, David, Jim, Lynn and Beth. They are an outstanding group of individuals who work together so well and keep OPA running like a well-oiled machine. Because of their work, OPA brought in more revenue at convention this year, allowing us to end the year positively and continue to fund crucial advocacy work. Their positive attitude and energy kept me going, even when it felt like there was no way to stay above the workload. 

The “New” Board: A smaller board with more frequent meetings was a challenging adjustment, but each board member found ways to adapt. I am particularly grateful to everyone for being willing to join in the new governance model, even without knowing 100% what the expectations and challenges would be for the group. A huge thanks to Eric, Tom, Katharine, Peg, RoseMary, David, Cathy, Marc, Angela, and Gary for your commitment to OPA and making the first year a meaningful one for me 

OPA Committees and Task Forces: There isn’t enough space to thank all the chairs and members of the numerous committees and task forces that are within OPA. Truly, this is where the rubber meets the road for OPA. The volunteers that commit hours and energy to OPA are what make us outstanding year after year. 

Liaisons, Collaborators and Affiliates: Psychology is not insular, and OPA has relationships with other organizations that support our work and provide needed assistance. Some special thanks to Penny Tipps, our lobbyist, who has been essential over the last year as we work towards the RxP bill passing, as well as Erich Merkle, our OSPA liaison (and now incoming OPA President-Elect), who has spent numerous hours strengthening the connection between our organizations. 

OPA Members:  Ohio is an amazing state to be a psychologist, and I am enormously grateful for those of you who choose to support OPA through membership. Each member contributes in their own way to making this organization great, and I appreciate the commitment demonstrated to our profession. It is humbling to have been the leader of such an incredible group of colleagues. 

Research shows that creating gratitude lists is a healthy way to combat stress, as well as improve well-being and positive moods.  What is your professional gratitude list? Feel free to share it on social media with myself or OPA! And thank you for your support this last year, it really has been an experience that has helped me grow and develop as a psychologist and leader.

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President's Message: July 2018

Posted By Mary Lewis, PhD, ABPP - OPA President, Monday, July 30, 2018

By now, most of you have received notification of the biennial licensure renewal, due by September 30, 2018, although CEU’s must be completed by August 31st, 2018 to be eligible. This time of year is hectic for the OPA staff, who are processing CE credits, conducting single-course review, and navigating questions from psychologists. I know this is a good time in my busy life to step back and remember that despite the annoyance of paperwork, getting online, and ensuring we have everything turned in a timely way, it is little to ask given how critical professional licensure is to our role as psychologists. 

It was not all that long ago that our hard-fought battle against consolidation of our Board of Psychology, to remain independent and ensure that our profession is distinct and appropriately overseen by psychologists, and not by individuals from other professions.  While the paperwork, payments, and details can be challenging for some of us, I do appreciate that our Board and the State of Ohio have given us the responsibility in maintaining continuing education on the science and practice of psychology. As a profession, this keeps us updated and nimble, as well as provides opportunities to learn and understand new populations, practice areas or therapies, and network with others to provide strong referral systems.  

When I think about getting my license in the mail, 15 years ago, it is a wonderful memory filled with excitement. I was so proud to hang the license on my wall, and with every passing biennium, my renewal is a reminder of the hard work and dedication it took to get to that point. Being a psychologist is not just a profession – it is a privilege. Each day we work with incredibly strong and vulnerable individuals, families, groups, and businesses to support and guide them to psychological well-being. 

I am grateful to you, each and every OPA member, for supporting OPA’s role in ensuring psychologists are on track to maintain licensure, and supporting OPA by attending the variety of continuing education programming sponsored by the organization. I am also particularly grateful to Beth Wherley, OPA’s Director of Mandatory Continuing Education, who navigates the thousands of submissions each year and handles many of the stressful calls related to MCE. Each year at the Practice Leadership Conference, when I hear about the challenges that other states deal, I am thankful that OPA has incredibly dedicated and hard-working staff to support us.  

As a reminder, OPA has some detailed instructions on submission of CEU’s to OPA, as well as how to ensure you are doing your responsibility for reporting at this link: https://cdn.ymaws.com/ohpsych.org/resource/resmgr/files/mce/OPA-MCE_2016-2018Psychologis.pdf

It is incredibly easy to renew your license! All license renewals are now online, and it took me less than 10 minutes to complete my renewal. The Ohio e-License Portal is at this link: https://elicense.ohio.gov/OH_HomePage

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President's Message: June 2018

Posted By Mary Lewis, PhD, ABPP - OPA President, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Throughout my Presidential year, I have frequently written about the spirit of collaboration and working together with other mental health stakeholders. We have two upcoming opportunities to work broadly with others that I’d like to share, and also use this opportunity to encourage OPA members to share their collaborative experiences with myself and other OPA board members. 

Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities 2018 Opioid Conference: Strengthening Ohio’s Communities (June 11-12, 2018)
OACBHA is sponsoring their 9th annual opiate conference in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addictions Services, as well as the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. This year’s conference is being held on June 11-12 at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus. There are spots for 1,200 attendees, with two full days of educational sessions. Keynote speakers include Ret. Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld, Co-Chair of SAFE (Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic), Rita Noonan, Ph.D., Chief Health Systems Branch from the CDC, and a media panel moderated by Jerry Revish of 10TV. For more information and a detailed schedule of presenters and topics, please visit this website: https://www.oacbha.org/ohios_2018_opiate_conference.php. OPA will have representation at the event, and we hope to share information with the Board as well as general membership after the conference is complete. This information should inform our work moving forward after the Assembly discussions on the opioid crisis from our own convention. 

Ohio School Safety Summit (September 12, 2018)
The Ohio School Safety Summit, to be held on September 12 this year in Columbus, is sponsored by the Ohio School Boards Association. Proposals are currently being accepted (deadline June 8th: http://stearns.ohioschoolboards.org/nominatess_include.php ), the focus of the conference is collaborative effort involving a multitude of education groups, mental health organizations and law enforcement agencies to address the issues surrounding the safety and security of Ohio’s schools.  Nearly 20 groups have committed themselves to working together to make a difference for the schoolchildren of this state.  They have developed both short- and long-term goals that focus on mental health, safety procedures and training, cooperative relationships between law enforcement and school districts, weapons in schools, family and parental involvement and more. Currently this effort involves the following groups:   Buckeye Association of School Administrators; National Alliance on Mental Illness - Ohio;  Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education; Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators; Ohio Association of Public School Employees; Ohio Association of School Business Officials; Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators; Ohio Department of Education; Ohio Homeland Security; Ohio Education Association; Ohio Educational Service Center Association; Ohio Federation of Teachers; Ohio High School Athletic Association; Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services; Ohio PTA; Ohio School Boards Association; Ohio School Counselors Association; Ohio School Psychologists Association; and Ohio School Resource Officers Association. 

OPA is currently seeking representation to attend this summit, and Dr. Elizabeth Harris, Chair of the OPA Committee on Social Responsibility, is submitting a proposal for this conference. The conference is free to attend, and will have numerous topics including the following: Trauma, Identification of resources, School climate, Supporting children and families, Intervention, Managing mental health, Roles of school psychologists and counselors, De-escalation techniques, Stadiums/extracurricular activities, Bus safety, Schools, Legal aspects of arming staff, Building plan evaluations, Law enforcement, First responders, Threat assessment, Emergency management plans, and Collaboration with local and county governments. These topics fit well with the goals of the OPA Anti-Violence Task Force, and our hopes to work with other organizations to create a “one-stop” website for violence prevention and response resources. 

Please OPA if you are interested in either of these efforts, particularly the School Safety Summit. Again, if you are aware of other collaborative opportunities for psychologists, or are involved in those efforts, please share that with myself or other OPA board members. We are grateful for your involvement in inclusive, positive community engagement as well as the facilitation of a psychologically-healthy Ohio!

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President's Message: May 2018

Posted By Mary Lewis, PhD, ABPP - OPA President, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I’d like to kick of this Presidential Column with a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the recent OPA convention! We had an outstanding line-up of presenters and networking opportunities throughout the three days, starting with Dr. Arthur Evans, CEO of APA, who gave OPA members both group and individual opportunities to meet with him and provide feedback and concerns. I appreciate his candor and authentic engagement with the OPA members who met with him during the President’s Dinner on Wednesday evening, and am looking forward to what he does next as APA’s CEO.

During the first two days of convention, we also held our first OPA Assembly meetings. This year’s topic was the Opioid Crisis and how OPA can address this specific concern. There were rich discussions on both days spanning a number of concerns, as well as practical steps that OPA could utilize to move forward on this topic. Please watch your OPA publications for a more detailed analysis of those discussions, as well as an opportunity for you to give us feedback if you were not able to attend the convention this year. Our goal is to tie the suggestions into the work the OPA Board has already done with the strategic plan, and share that with the general membership soon.

Some specific suggestions that came out of the Convention Assembly included the following:

  • More proactive and purposeful collaboration with family physicians to educate all stakeholders (physicians, psychologists, and patients) about the wide spectrum of pain management options beyond opioid medications.
  • Holistic and collaborative continuing education training provided for a broad range of providers in the medical community, including integrated care models, pain management, addiction treatment, and destigmatization of mental health.
  • Active engagement with legislators on models of pain management and specifically address continued funding and access for Medicaid. 
  • Participate in current Opioid Town Halls/Conferences and potentially sponsor some of these meetings, to include families, schools, psychologists, medical providers, and the media, to understand all perspectives and barriers to solutions. 

The OPA Planning and Development Committee, as well as the OPA Board, will take all of the suggestions and work through them to identify a priority list as well as the realistic nature of each. Again, we look forward to hearing your feedback once the full Assembly notes have been published.

I would specifically like to thank the OPA staff for all the hard work and “behind the scenes” preparation that they do to make Convention appear seamless! OPA is blessed with a committed and engaged group of individuals that truly make our lives easier. A huge thanks to Michael, Karen, Carolyn, David and Beth for another outstanding convention!

Please join us for next year’s OPA Convention, held Wednesday, April 24 to Friday, April 26th at the Quest Convention Center. The topic will be “Working Together to Build a Culture of Understanding,” and registration opens February 4, 2019. We look forward to seeing you again next year! 

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