Mark E. Vogel, Ph.D., ABPP
Board Certified in Health Psychology
Professor, Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine
I am honored and delighted to serve as the 2023-2024 President of the Society for Health Psychology. Fall is the time of great anticipation. It reminds me of the start of a new academic year and all the possibilities that this holds. Coming into this Fall, I am excited about what the new year holds for our Society and the impact we can make collectively on the profession and the people we serve. I am inspired by the collective hard work of so many dedicated individuals on our Executive Committee and on our many Councils, Committees, Interest Groups and Task Forces. We are a strong community. This is the force that drives our organization forward. I encourage all members to see how they might become more involved in the activities in the Society. Consider attending one of the amazing online events, participate in a Council or Committee, join an Interest Group, and consider submitting your proposal for the 2024 annual convention. Together we can do great things.
This strong sense of community within the Society sets the stage for one of my presidential initiatives – the Wellbeing of Health Psychologists. As Health Psychologists, we are often called upon to provide wellness services for our medical colleagues (physicians, nurses, APPs). During the COVID-19 pandemic, many psychologists in medical settings took on these roles out of necessity. In fact, many of you may continue to provide these types of services as a major portion of your professional role. Yet, research from Dr. Amy Williams and colleagues has shown the Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers (APAHC) report being burned out themselves1. Issues identified include increasing workload/productivity expectations, limited administrative/research/staff support, and inadequate time for professional educational activities.
Adding to this situation is the reality that in many health care settings, the Health Psychologist might be the only psychologists in that unit, department, or even site. It can sometimes be difficult for health psychologists to find like-minded individual to share their struggles, learn from each other, and gain a sense of collegial support. The Society has established programs in the past to help mitigate these stressors with increased collegial support. One program has been the Health Psych Connections mentorship program where Society members can be matched with another SfHP member who has volunteered to make available his/her expertise and advice to help you in your professional activities. In a less formal manner, the Membership Council has developed Regional Meet-ups to provide opportunities for members to connect and network with students and established members, and generate ideas for new, local clinical, education, research, or advocacy projects. In this next year, the goal of a presidential initiative will be to examine our current methods of building these community supports, with an eye towards how these efforts can improve the overall wellbeing of our members. A Task Force will be formed to examine several possible new initiatives as well as building on existing initiatives. Many Councils and Committees have taken on this challenge already and will be providing educational information during this upcoming year. If you would like to be involved in this initiative, or have ideas on how this Task Force might proceed, please reach out to me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This year also holds the recurring request of preparing Clinical Health Psychology’s petition for continued recognition as a specialty. The specialty was first defined during the conference held at the Arden House Conference Center in 1983. Every seven years, each specialty recognized the Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Subspecialties in Professional Psychology (CRSSPP) must submit a petition for continued recognition. Our initial year of recognition by CRSSPP was 1997 and our last submission was in 2018. I enjoyed being part of the 2018 petition team under the direction of Dr. Andrea Bradford. For the current cycle, the petition will be developed during 2024 by the Clinical Health Psychology Specialty Council (with support from SfHP and the American Board of Clinical Health Psychology). It will be submitted by the end of the 2024 for review in 2025. I have asked Dr. Lloyd Berg, chair of the Clinical Health Specialty Council, to head up this year’s CRSSPP team and he has agreed. Thank you, Dr. Berg!
This petition document outlines various elements of the specialty (organization, public need, distinctiveness, recognition of the importance of DEI, etc.). One major component of the petition is the education and training required for the specialty. Prior to the 2010 petition, SfHP hosted the Riverfront Conference on Education & Training for Health Psychologists and this formed the basis for the petition that year. Since that time there have been many changes in the training environment. Increasingly, doctoral programs are providing more specialized health psychology programming, students are opting out of postdoctoral training, Health Psychologists are seeking work in non-traditional settings (primary care, industry), and blended research/clinical models are more common. Perhaps the traditional model of training of “broad and general” for doctoral and internship and specialized training at the postdoctoral level is not occurring as previously conceived.
The number of board-certified Clinical Health Psychologists is increasing, but still lagging. This had led me to convene an Education and Training Summit in January 2024. Dr. Berg and myself are co-hosts of this Summit. The purpose of this meeting is the revisit the recommended training and education trajectory to be recognized as a Health Psychologist. Participants will include the SfHP Executive Committee and select representatives from education and training bodies across the field who can contribute to this analysis and discussion. This includes Council of Clinical Health Psychology Training Programs (CCHPTP), Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC), Council of Specialties in Professional Psychology (COSPP), and American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). Other participants will be selected for the expertise in specific areas of Health Psychology training (i.e., primary care, pediatric, industry) and across doctoral, internship, and postdoctoral level of training. Additionally, a student representative from the SfHP Student Advisory Council will be invited. Approximately 25 total participants will be included. The product of this event will be a living document that will be reviewed by CCHPTP and other groups over the course of the year and will serve as the basis for that section of the CRSSPP petition. The Summit team welcomes your feedback and ideas leading up to the event and look forward to everyone participating in the comment and discussion that will follow.
Thank you for being a part of this Society. Your participation makes our community strong and I have great expectations on our collective accomplishments.
Mark E. Vogel, PhD, ABPP
2023-2024 SfHP President
1 Williams, A. M., LaGrotte, C. A., Bullock, A., Dowd, S. M., Robiner, W. N., Yozwiak, J., & Allen, M. (2023). How are we (really) doing? Well being of psychologists in academic health centers during the COVID 19 pandemic. [Poster Presentation] Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers, Louisville, KY.