Dear Society for Health Psychology Colleagues:
As we mark the year anniversary of the COVID pandemic in the United State and its devastating impact across the world, I think of the loss of family, friends and colleagues, the disproportionate consequences for communities of color and women, and of the individuals who are now coping with the late effects of this powerful virus. I also worry deeply about the well-being of our health care workers on the front line –now and in the future as we continue to live with marked uncertainty and high levels of stress.
At the same time, I am inspired by the essential ways in which so many health psychologists have contributed during the pandemic. We have cared for patients and families impacted by COVID, stood up wellness programs for providers and staff in hospitals, moved vital in-person clinical services to telehealth platforms, developed virtual integrated consultation in pediatric and adult settings, redesigned education and training programs, initiated pressing research on mask and vaccine hesitancy,and advanced interventions to address health disparities in marginalized communities.
One of my goals this year is to ask the entire Division 38 membership to document our COVID related work. Stay tuned for a formal but short survey on our work as health psychologists during the global pandemic.
While I had planned to spend much of my presidential year focusing on our current and future health psychology workforce in clinical settings, research, education and training, consulting and policy, my own COVID related responsibilities has delayed this work. Nonetheless, the SfHP has focused on increasing member visibility and inclusivity in Division, APA and Federal activities. We have been collaborating closely with APA on health-related policy and advocacy,and we routinely recommend experts from our Division to contribute to this important work. We have also emphasized the inclusion of health psychologists of color in nominations for APA boards and committees, task forces, expert panels, etc. You will all see more frequent email requests asking for your recommendations of health psychologists with expertise in health equity, population health, vaccine hesitancy and other pressing topics.
And –back by popular demand –we look forward to hosting additional virtual programs on Leadership Strategies for Psychologists in Academic Health Centers, VA’s and Community Hospitals: Interactive Mentoring on April 15 at 7 pm ET and August 14 at 10 am ET. Stay tuned for the “Save the Dates” announcements with registration information.
I am grateful to Dr. Zeeshan Butt, Past President, Dr. Barbara Andersen, President-Elect, and Barbara Keeton for their collaborative leadership and tireless efforts during this challenging year not to mention the countless chairs and members of our Division Councils, Committees and other groups.
Stay safe, seek connection and bring your voice to the SfHP!
Helen L. Coons, Ph.D., ABPP