President's Column

APA's 2013 Annual Convention in Honolulu, July 31–Aug. 4, is shaping up to be a spectacular conference. As I have noted in previous columns, one of my three major presidential initiatives is to ensure that psychologists are at the forefront of providing services to our military personnel, veterans, their families and military service people who have experienced sexual trauma. Through this initiative, I hope to increase attention to the research and practice aspects of providing services to our military personnel and their families.

To implement this initiative, APA is devoting 21 hours of convention programming to cutting-edge research on innovative and evidence-based programs related to the provision of psychological services to these populations. Three major themes have emerged: treating sexual trauma in military personnel; treating children and spouses of military personnel; and assessing and treating military personnel and veterans. I especially appreciate Divs. 14 (Industrial/Organizational), 16 (School), 39 (Psychoanalysis) and 53 (Clinical Child and Adolescent) for contributing some of their convention hours to this initiative. APA's Policy and Planning Board, the Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools, and my own Board of Directors also contributed hours. In addition, Divs. 18 (Public Service), 19 (Military), 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology) and 56 (Trauma) will have companion programming.

The military theme will permeate the convention's Opening Session on Aug. 1. I will be honoring Antonette Zeiss, PhD, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. She is retiring as chief consultant for mental health services for the Veterans Administration and is the first psychologist and woman to serve in that role.

I will also present a presidential citation to Jon Nachison, PhD, a counseling psychologist who organizes psychological and physical health services for homeless veterans (see page 36 for an article on Nachison). I will present a second presidential citation to Barbara Van Dahlen, PhD, the founder of Give an Hour, an organization that has developed a national network of practitioners who donate mental health services to troops and families affected by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the convention's film festival, we will show "The Invisible War," an Academy Award nominee for best feature-length documentary whose subject is the military's treatment of service women who have experienced sexual trauma.

Finally, I have arranged a tour of Pearl Harbor for those who want to see the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.

Our keynote speaker at the Opening Session is Barry Scheck, professor of law and co-director of the Innocence Project at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. He will talk about how psychological science has contributed to exonerating those who have been wrongfully convicted. His presentation will be particularly interesting in light of research on false confessions and eyewitness identifications.

Several other noted speakers will join us in Honolulu, including:

  • Camilla Benbow, PhD, and David Lubinski, PhD, on "Forty Years Later: What Happens to Mathematically Precocious Youth Identified at Age 12."
  • Craig Haney, PhD, on "Bending Toward Justice: Psychological Science and Criminal Justice Reform."
  • Mary Crawford, PhD, on "Stopping Global Sex Trafficking: What Psychology Can Do." (See New research and new ideas for more speakers.)

But the Hawaii convention is not all serious scholarship. This year's big social event is the APA Island Luau on Friday, Aug. 2, 6:30 to 9 p.m. The event will feature traditional dishes and entertainment. You can buy tickets when registering for the convention online.

This issue of the Monitor highlights many other programs that showcase psychology's rich contributions to science, practice, education and the public interest. I hope to see you there and to say hello to you personally.