December 18, 2015

Dear Members:

As 2015 draws to a close, it’s a good time to review the actions APA has taken since the release of the Independent Review report (IR) in July. It was a tumultuous year that required those at APA to step back and reflect on our organization and how we work together. From this experience has come a commitment to fundamental change. Since the release of the IR, APA has taken numerous corrective steps. While this will be a long-term process, we believe we have made a good start at becoming the more open, transparent and effective association that you, our members, have asked for and deserve.

Among the most important and visible steps to date have been: (1) adopting a policy prohibiting psychologist involvement in national security interrogations; (2) developing a panel of psychologist and non-psychologist experts on ethics to review APA’s ethics policies and procedures; (3) convening a panel to review APA’s conflict-of-interest policies; (4) committing to increased engagement using the findings of psychological science to promote human rights; (4) making changes to improve the structure and function of the organization; and (5) naming Cynthia D. Belar, PhD, ABPP, as interim chief executive officer following the retirement of Dr. Norman Anderson at the end of 2015. The Board of Directors is in the process of forming a diverse search committee to find the next chief executive officer.

As pledged, in October APA sent letters detailing APA’s new interrogations policy to President Obama and other government officials asking that appropriate action be taken to enable military psychologists to abide by APA’s national security-related policies. Meetings with key governmental officials are being scheduled for 2016. In addition, meetings with key human rights groups also are being arranged for next year. Additionally and quite importantly, we have worked to increase communication to our members and to the public. We are in the process of developing a communications strategic plan to guide these efforts.

These are the initial steps on a long journey to restore trust and increase effectiveness in our association. As we look ahead to 2016, APA continues its commitment to accountability and transparency as we continue to reflect on the lessons from the IR. At the same time, we need to continue refining and delivering the primary activities of APA: serving the public, our members and society. We pledge to keep you informed as we continue this valuable work, and we look forward to your input and engagement.

We wish you and your families a very happy holiday season and best wishes for the new year.

On behalf of the 2015 APA Board of Directors,

Barry S. Anton, PhD, ABPP
APA President
Susan McDaniel, PhD
APA President-Elect
Nadine Kaslow, PhD, ABPP
APA Past President