SfHP Long Range Plans

Approved by the SfHP Executive Committee


The Society for Health Psychology

  • Advances the science of the psychology of health, which includes the promotion of health and wellbeing and prevention and management of illness and disability;
  • Supports evidence-based applications of health psychology across the lifespan;
  • Promotes competencies-based education and training in health psychology; and
  • Disseminates health psychology to the public, professionals, scholars, institutions, policy, and law.


To see the science and application of psychology established as essential elements of health, wellbeing, illness, and disability.



In accordance with its founding ideas and consistent with its current practices, the Society for Health Psychology affirms the following Guiding Principles. These principles are aspirational in nature. They provide a framework to guide the activities of the Society and its members and should be reflected broadly in its work. Beginning with the foundational General Principles we share with the American Psychological Association, the principles proceed through important aspects of our shared conceptualization of health and approaches to research, clinical services, advocacy, and governance.

  1. The Society affirms the five General Principles of the American Psychological Association Ethics Code as critical values that guide and inspire health psychologists: A) beneficence and nonmaleficence; B) fidelity and responsibility; C) integrity; D) justice; and E) respect for people’s rights and dignity.
  2. The Society upholds the World Health Organization principle of health as a state of complete physical, psychological, and social well-being and not merely the absence of illness or disability.
  3. Psychological factors are an essential determinant of health and wellbeing.
  4. Biological, psychological, and social factors are interactive aspects of human functioning that influence health and wellbeing.
  5. Optimal health requires access for all people to high-quality, whole-person health care across their lifespans.
  6. Diversity is protected, valued, and promoted across a wide range of factors that include but are not limited to age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status.
  7. The scientific method is the foundational approach to understand and improve health.
  8. The best available empirical evidence guides all aspects of the Society’s work to promote better health for the public.
  9. Education and training prepares future health psychologists for diverse and multidisciplinary work settings by providing them with comprehensive, relevant evidence-based knowledge and skills.
  10. The Society’s governance, as determined through an ongoing review process, is ethical, open, transparent, diverse, representative, fiscally responsible, and responsive to the needs and concerns of its membership.
  11. The Society recognizes the comprehensive benefits of actively integrating members at all stages of their careers into Society governance and other professional activities.
  12. A core activity of health psychologists is to engage in service to the profession across a wide variety of settings in support of the health of the profession and public.



(1) Cultivate and communicate a health psychology identity and inclusive professional home.

IDENTITY Action Items

  1. Complete the implementation of new visual branding across all aspects of society functions.
  2. Formulate recommendations to promote greater diversity in the society’s leadership and membership across domains such as gender, race, ethnicity, career stage, professional roles, and professional setting.
  3. Identify and create engagement opportunities for members in society activities and leadership, particularly for students and early career psychologists.


(2) Periodically review, evaluate, and disseminate health psychology competencies and develop exemplars for training in competencies.


The Education and Training Council of the Society for Health Psychology, in coordination with the Clinical Health Services Council will:

  1. a)  Disseminate existing training standards and competencies.
  2. b)  Create a series of FAQs to help members understand competency developmentin health psychology.
  3. c)  Identify methods for post-licensure retraining to develop health psychologycompetencies.

2. Facilitate the identification, development, and dissemination of initiatives that train the following competencies for health psychology students and psychologists:

  1. a)  leadership competencies in health care and academic settings;
  2. b)  interprofessional team-based competencies in health care settings and researchenvironments;
  3. c)  advocacy- and policy-level competencies in healthcare and academic settings;and
  4. d)  Research related to program development and evaluation


(3) Lead, model, and advocate for the application of health psychology to science, practice, and policy for the public good.

OUTREACH Action Items

  1. Identify and prioritize opportunities to highlight and disseminate research generated by health psychologists.
    1. a)  Promote the development of relevant materials and programming to medical and professional societies.
    2. b)  Develop authoritative communications to distribute to psychologists, health professionals, policy makers, public health stakeholders, and the public.
  2. Develop and strengthen relationships with health psychology-related APA directorates and offices and other national and international organizations to inform advocacy-, funding- and policy-related initiatives, with attention given to both science- and practice- related concerns.
  3. Advocate for the inclusion of health psychologists as members or liaisons to influential national and international health-related groups and committees. Examples include the AMA, AAMC, NAM, NIH, PCORI, WHO, CDC, SAMHSA, USPSTF and groups drafting clinical practice and medical treatment guidelines.


(4) Identify and address the current and future professional needs of Society members through the provision of resources and services.

INREACH Action Items

  1. Explore offering Society-sponsored activities such as continuing education (CE) credit opportunities, training support for peer review, and leadership development.
  2. Develop a plan for the implementation of special-interest groups within the society, including considerations regarding their creation, role, and activities.
  3. Create a task force or committee charged with building and improving member services. Among other possibilities, the group should consider the potential for an SfHP conference and a clinically-oriented journal.