By Morgan T. Sammons, PhD, ABPP

September 1 marks the beginning of the new membership year for the National Register. I thought that this year I would begin a tradition and use my September column to provide a snapshot of the state of the organization over the past 12 months and a brief glimpse at what we hope to accomplish in the next year.

Let me start with some very good news — the organization is as healthy as it has been in many, many years. For the third year in a row, we have attracted a record number of new Registrants, around 450 annually. These are very good numbers for a voluntary, dues-driven organization in psychology. These new Registrants truly do represent the future of the organization, with an average age under 40. We’re happy to buck the aging membership trend that is common in professional organizations in psychology.

The other component of a vibrant professional organization is the satisfaction level of current members.  I’m happy to report that our retention rate of current members is extraordinarily high, nearly 95%. During the past year we’ve also implemented an Emeritus program for long-term members who are no longer licensed. We’ve been delighted with the participation in this program and cannot adequately express our appreciation to those now-retired members who have been with us since the 1970s.

These membership successes are the result of making the National Register benefits and programs more compelling to psychologists and psychology doctoral students. Following is a partial list of some of what we’ve accomplished in terms of enhancing our benefits.

We transformed The Register Report into The Journal of Health Service Psychology. I hope you’ll agree with me that the quality of the articles has improved significantly with the peer-review process. In this transition, we aimed to fill a previously unoccupied niche in the world of psychology publishing, and the Journal is currently the only publication in psychology that is exclusively focused on translational clinical research. In other words, we will only publish evidence-based pieces that are of immediate clinical utility to psychologists or graduate students. We are publishing two editions this year, three in 2018, and four in 2019 and beyond. The next issue will be in your mailbox this October.

Licensure mobility has always been an important benefit for Registrants. In the past year, I’m pleased to announce that licensing boards in New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Vermont voted to approve our mobility program. The number of Registrants taking advantage of this program continues to increase as well. See our licensure mobility page for a full list of participating jurisdictions.

We filmed and released the Integrated Healthcare Training Series. This series of 42 videos is on our newly revamped continuing education website, available at no charge as a benefit of membership. We’ve had nice uptake by Registrants and Trainee Registrants and we’ve been successful in licensing the series to healthcare organizations. See CE.NationalRegister.org to access the series.

We updated our areas of expertise for your FindaPsychologist.org listing. We discovered that our previous listings, while logical to psychologists, did not necessarily translate well for members of the public, who are, of course, our primary audience for this website. So we’ve made these more easily understandable by members of the public. This site is getting approximately 30,000 hits a month, which makes it a viable source of referrals for Registrants. You can check out your listing on FindaPsychologist.org and update your photo and profile by logging into your Registrant account on NationalRegister.com.

We’ve leveraged our national profile to establish new partnerships with technology companies like TherapyNotes and thera-LINK, and publishers including Hogrefe and Norton. All of these companies offer high-quality products at a discount to Registrants and Trainee Registrants. We’ve gone further in our relationship with Hogrefe Publishing, becoming the exclusive CE partner for the Advances in Psychotherapy: Evidence-Based Practice series. See our full list of our partners.

Finally, one of the most pleasant surprises this year has been the reaction to our new listserv, HSP-Community. We launched less than a month ago, and already more than one thousand Registrants and Trainee Registrants have signed up.  Our aim in creating this listserv is to provide a forum for clinically focused discussions, free of the other distractions we too often encounter on other psychology listservs. If you have an article of interest to share, a referral request to make, or news of clinical importance, please post it to the listserv. This is a moderated listserv, which keeps us busy, but we’re happy to keep extraneous chatter down and make inappropriate or “flame” posts nonexistent. Visit our listserv sign-up page to join the discussion.

What is Ahead?

Most visibly, we are undertaking a refresh of our NationalRegister.org website as well as the FindaPsychologist.org website.  This is going to be a major project, but at the end we will be able to provide you with sites that are easier to navigate, feature enriched content, and have greater ease of use.

In November 2017, we will launch an entirely new benefit: a monthly clinical webinar. The first presentation, scheduled for November 8 at 2 p.m. ET, will feature Dr. Phil Kleespies on assessing, managing, and treating violent patients. The second presentation, scheduled for December 7 at 2 p.m. ET, will feature Dr. David Jobes on treating suicidal patients. Further scheduled webinars will include a clinical psychopharmacology update and other topics of immediate clinical interest. We’ll send email invitations to all Registrants and Trainee Registrants at least a month in advance so you can mark your calendars. Licensed members are eligible to earn continuing education credit.

We are going to strengthen our advocacy efforts to ensure that psychology has a voice at the healthcare table. We’ll be working with other mental health advocacy groups, Congress and state legislatures, and state and national psychology organizations to ensure our messages are on target and our voices heard.

We will continue our commitment to the future of the profession by working with the Committee on Early Career Psychologists to sponsor attendance for new psychologists at next year’s APA Convention in San Francisco. We will also continue to raise funds for the Internship Partnership Fund, so that the Register does its part to address the ongoing shortage of accredited internship positions. I thank all of you who have contributed to this fund, which we operate in conjunction with the American Psychological Foundation. If you haven’t yet made a tax-deductible contribution this year, you can do so by visiting our Internship Partnership Fund page.

In closing, special thanks to our staff, who have made these advances possible. We have a small staff of 10, but you would never know it from the amount of work accomplished. My thanks to our Board of Directors as well, for their guidance and direction over the past year. But mostly, my thanks to all of you. Your involvement has made the Register a force in professional psychology since 1974. Our future is bright, and I’m optimistic that as the public at large continues to see the need for mental health interventions, our profession will continue to grow in strength and numbers. We couldn’t do it without you.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t pass along our thoughts to all of you who suffered as a consequence of the recent hurricanes. I’ve heard from many of you who managed to avoid the worst of it, but I know some who were less fortunate. Our best wishes are with all of you.