President’s Column

TheHealthPsychologist Welcome

2017 Theme: Broadening the Impact and Visibility of Behavioral Sciences in Healthcare and Health Policy

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

              – John Quincy Adams

Dawn K. Wilson, PhD

Dawn K. Wilson, PhD

This quote has really enlightened me as I reflect on serving as President of the Society for Health Society these past six months. Gaining visibility for behavioral sciences on a national level oftentimes requires great patience and perseverance.

It has been quite an incredible journey working with the Society for Health Psychology and the leadership of the American Psychological Association (APA) towards this goal. The Outreach Task Force has been actively engaged in national advocacy efforts with APA. In collaboration with Susan McDaniel, 2016 APA President, and Lynn Bufka, Assistant Executive Director of APA Practice Research and Policy, our Division weighed in on the importance of evidence-based behavioral lifestyle interventions to treat obesity and improve health at a national forum for developing a consensus statement on best practices for obesity treatment.

Furthermore, through the work of our Society leaders on the Outreach Task Force (including Stephanie Fitzpatrick, Joanna Buscemi, and Bob Kerns) we have begun to develop relationships with national and regional healthcare coalitions to reduce opioid misuse and elevate the relevance and importance of evidence-based behavioral and psychosocial treatments for pain management.

“A failure is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”

             – B.F. Skinner

Even more exciting is the fact that members of our Society’s Integrated Primary Care Curriculum Task Force (including William Gunn, Barbara Ward-Zimmerman, Nancy Ruddy, Mark Vogel, Barbara Cubic, Lisa Kearney, Christopher Neumann, Mark Stillman, and Shanda Wells) are collaborating with Doug Tynan, Director of Integrated Healthcare in the APA Center for Psychology and Health, to develop a new CE series to train health professionals nationally in integrated primary care psychology.  This training is based in part on the curriculum developed by the Task Force to train clinical psychology doctoral students, interns, and post-doctoral fellows.  If you have not yet seen this incredible tool, please go to our new website at and check it out!  I am using this curriculum to teach a practicum class at the University of South Carolina and it has been a fantastic tool for my doctoral students.

 “It you can’t fly, then run; if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

             – Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the most important issues that our Outreach Task Force has been grappling with is the fact that we need to align our field in ways that will gain more national visibility and increase the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based behavioral interventions to prevent and treat a variety of chronic disease conditions associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Through the support and great insights of our Task Force members (including Robert Kaplan, Alan Christensen, Paul Jacobsen, and William Kline) the Society for Health Psychology and the National Cancer Institute are partnering to develop a consensus statement and recommendations for cost-effectiveness analyses of evidence-based interventions in the field of health psychology and behavioral medicine.  This is an exciting endeavor and one that I believe will have great impact in the long run.

These are just some of the new directions that the Society for Health Psychology has undertaken as part of our Outreach Task Force. It’s an exciting time for us, even though there are ongoing challenges ahead.  I hope the quotes I have shared throughout this column will inspire you, as they have me, to not give up and know that we are making an impact, step-by-step.

Thanks to so many of our dedicated and incredible members for your service– you keep us strong and moving forward.

I am confident that the next six months will be just as exciting for us and the line-up for the Annual Meeting is incredible. Our Keynote Speakers include Sue Curry and Bob Croyle, who will both bring incredible perspectives on evidence-based practice guidelines and national health policy challenges for our field.  We also have speakers from the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, as well as Jenelle Krishnamoorthy, who is a national health policy leader from both a Senate and private-industry perspective.

Stay tuned – and remember: the race is long!

All the Best,

Dawn K. Wilson, PhD
Twitter: @profdawnwilson