by Judy E. Hall, PhD
After 24 years, this is my final report as Executive Officer of the National Register. I would like to begin by saying thank you to all of our psychologists and doctoral students for your strong support of the organization over the years. I would also like to express my gratitude to our highly qualified and motivated staff who works with me to review doctoral programs, internship and postdoctoral sites, credential psychologists, improve and expand member benefits, and provide responsive and high quality support to our members. Finally, I would like to thank all of the psychologists and consumer members who served on the National Register Board of Directors and various committees since 1990.
As you may know, in 1974 the National Register was initiated by APA calling for a registry to be created to determine which licensed psychologists have the specific credentials needed to participate in a national healthcare system. The founding board was formed by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) and headed by Carl Zimet, PhD, Chair, and Al Wellner, PhD, Executive Officer. The initial board of 12 defined the future for the National Register and served for many years until term rotation was implemented, with Sam Osipow, PhD, being the first new board member elected. During this time I was fortunate to attend many meetings of the National Register Board of Directors as the liaison from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, where I served as President.
As the National Register’s Executive Officer since 1990, I have had the pleasure of working with many board members whose sole focus was on adjusting the National Register’s mission and associated activities to a dynamic and difficult healthcare industry. They came from different backgrounds in university administration, academia, and practice. Most were statespersons and ambassadors for the National Register while on the Board and continue to advocate for the National Register after their term concluded.
I have worked closely with incredibly competent and devoted staff members over the past 24 years. Now we are a lean staff of eight professionals who find creative ways to communicate and provide value to members on a tight budget. I am very proud that one of the results of their cost-conscious efforts is that we have not raised our application and renewal fees in more than five years, at a time when many organizations have introduced significant increases. In addition to our staff’s efficiency, we recently designed and built a new member management database which is a significant asset for the organization. It has proved enormously helpful in processing applications, storing electronic records of credentialing files, and streamlining our financial processing. Finally, in July 2012 we moved to a new office in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) building, saving significant money while procuring wonderful space, equipment, and furniture - and maintaining our convenient Metro Center location in downtown Washington, DC.
Our recruitment campaigns are succeeding, resulting in an influx of early career psychologists. One aspect of this success is our credentialing scholarship program. Since 2005 we awarded 1,350 scholarships to doctoral students, postdoctoral trainees, and early career psychologists. We are also seeing yearly increases of doctoral students matriculating through our credentials banking program and becoming fully credentialed members, which is especially rewarding for me given the number of presentations I have made to doctoral programs across the country in the past seven years.
Over the past 10 years we have developed many new member benefits, and we continue to work to enhance these benefits to provide value to our psychologists. For instance, we just released our new FindaPsychologist.org web site, which we expect to sharply increase referrals to our credentialed health service psychologists. We are working to increase the number of jurisdictions offering mobility to health service psychologists. There are more than 100 CE credits online (E-Psychologist.org) and we update the National Register website weekly (NationalRegister.org). We release The Register Report twice a year to a welcoming audience. And we are just about to announce a new partnership with the TeleMental Health Institute to provide our members with a discount on their training program, similar to our partnership agreements with the American Professional Agency and GEICO. How do we know what works? You have told us so in emails, member surveys, and directly on the phone. So we are not only a financially healthy but a well-respected and collaborative organization.
But no one organization can meet psychologists’ challenges. Thus, we partner with other professional organizations such as the Association of State and Professional Boards (ASPPB) in the implementation of the ASPPB/National Register Designation Project. We are increasingly asked by licensing Boards to review credentials of their applicants’ doctoral education. We benefit from sharing ideas with our sister organization, the Canadian Register of Health Service Psychologists, and offer their psychologists access to our continuing education modules. Communication flows effectively to and from education and training councils by virtue of our liaison relationship with the Chairs of the Council of Directors of Training Councils (CCTC). As Executive Officer I represent the National Register at meetings of the APA Professional Organization by attending the Council for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP) and at meetings of the Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) at the APA Consolidated Board meetings. Similarly I participate in the Education Leadership and the State Leadership Conferences. All these meetings are in Washington which makes it convenient (and economical) for me to attend. It is a rich dynamic of activity from a variety of viewpoints and I am proud to represent the National Register as it contributes to the role of health service psychologists.
Speaking of the profession, in May of this year, I gave the commencement address to doctoral students graduating with a PhD or a PsyD from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University. Having spent 12 years in New York as the Executive Secretary for the New York State Board for Psychology employed by the New York State Board of Regents, it was great to be back in that vibrant, exciting city. My desire to share the wisdom gained through my years as a psychologist led me to reflect on my career, as I have often been asked to do when I present to interns and postdocs. I talked about serendipity and the role it plays in career decisions, and I encouraged risk taking. Looking back I realized that I had been given or seized opportunities to take risks that worked, and at a time when women rarely sought careers in psychology.
When I read the scholarship applications submitted to the National Register, I find that same kind of excitement described by doctoral students, postdoctoral trainees, and early career psychologists, not only about what they have done but also what they plan to do with their education and training. These are the future leaders of the National Register. With the challenges we face, we need their commitment to effectively contribute to the growth of the organization and focus on positioning health service psychologists as essential to the delivery of healthcare services. Looking back to our original purpose of the National Register 40 years ago, it seems we have come full circle. We need the best of the best to carry out the National Register mission and grow the organization.
Several people who knew I was moving on asked me what I planned to do next. The short answer is, do only what interests me. The long answer is that I will continue to promote the role of advanced credentialing and international mobility, through presentations and writing. Maybe I will write a television series or a screen play. Heaven knows, in my long and rich career, I have plenty of material.