by Judy E. Hall, PhD

For the past twelve months I have been on the road talking to doctoral psychology students, interns, postdocs, and early career psychologists about the importance of their being credentialed as health service providers. Based on the potential and early success of the new administration in addressing some of the problems in healthcare, my audiences are interested in hearing whether psychologists will be in a position to play their proper role as a team member in an integrated healthcare delivery system. For many years we have known the beneficial effects of the cost offset by integrating mental healthcare into the overall healthcare system. However it seems we now might see a more concerted effort materialize to restructure healthcare.

Already the stimulus bill has benefited a delivery site where psychological services are essential but not pervasive: the ~7000 delivery sites in Community Health Centers (CHC). Now, employment in those sites is even more attractive to psychologists in training because of the potential for benefiting from the loan repayment plan (LRP) for those employed in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). The National Register is uniquely positioned in Washington DC to both promote the role of the health service psychologist but also to identify those already credentialed and trained to provide those services. It is a message that all of us should support especially now that substantial funds have been devoted to both CHCs and the NHSC. In both, psychologists compete with other healthcare professionals for employment and loan repayment funds.

So, while representing the more than 11,000 psychologists credentialed by the National Register, I have been reaching out to prospective and current psychologists by presenting at the following universities (listed in chronological order): Texas, North Carolina, Duke, George Washington, Denver, George Fox, Adelphi, Pace, Long Island University/CWPost, CUNY, TC/Columbia, the University of Minnesota Medical School, CSPP-San Francisco, CSPP-San Diego, CSPP-Los Angeles, CSPP-Fresno, and the University of Alabama. Generally I present for two hours using the results of our national surveys on the role of credentialing, how to identify credible credentialing organizations, and what benefits should be provided by credible credentialing organizations. This is a topic not addressed by training programs so we are happy to assist in communicating the importance of licensure and credentialing and the relationship between the two.

Another message that the audience appreciates is the generosity of psychologists who contribute to the National Register’s NPTR and Early Career Psychologist Credentialing Scholarship Programs. Please take a minute to look at the list of scholarship winners on our web site. It is truly a national group of future leaders.

As a reminder, please review and update your National Register listing in the following way: upload your photo, add the confidential consumer email contact option, and review your areas of expertise for currency. In doing so, please remember that we created a new area: Behavioral Interventions involving Primary Care to parallel the other two likely to be chosen by those in integrated healthcare (Behavioral Health Intervention involving Life Threatening/Terminal Disease and Behavioral Health Intervention involving Medical Conditions/Disorders).Help us promote to consumers the specific expertise of the National Register credentialed psychologists.