Fall 2021: Presidential Column

15 Jan 2022 12:02 PM | Jessica Hamilton (Administrator)

Presidential Column

Cindy McGeary, Ph.D.

University of Texas Health San Antonio

With this being my final Presidential Column, I’d like to spend a little bit of time reviewing the year and my time as SSCP President. Overall, my experience working with SSCP has been wonderful. Individuals have been helpful and kind. I have appreciated hearing from the membership regarding thoughts for future endeavors and witnessing their passion for clinical science. The SSCP Board is made up of bright clinical scientists who work extremely hard and are dedicated to SSCP’s mission. It has really been an honor to be SSCP President.

I think it would be helpful to look back on my initial goals for the organization as I began my tenure as SSCP President. My goals for SSCP while I was President included the following:

  1. Move SSCP toward greater inclusion and diversity.
  • The Diversity Committee sought to examine the demographics of the SSCP membership. To this end, a survey was sent to our membership (similar in content to surveys sent to our membership in 2014 and 2016). As the Diversity Committee published in our last newsletter, the survey showed that a majority of SSCP members identify as White and that Black and Hispanic or Latinx are underrepresented. There has been modest change from the previous surveys (2021= 73.5% White; 2016= 81% White; 2014= 88% White). SSCP needs to encourage more diversity within its membership and board. This data will allow SSCP and the Diversity Committee to develop and implement new initiatives to diversify clinical science. This is a great time to get involved with the Diversity Committee to support underrepresented minorities. Please reach out if you are interested in being part of the SSCP Diversity Committee.
  • The SSCP board initiated two SSCP diversity awards. This included the Lifetime Achievement Diversity Award as well as the Outstanding Impact Diversity Award. These awards are meant to honor individuals who have made contributions in the areas of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Applications were due in July for these awards. Unfortunately, we did not receive any nominations even after extending the deadline. Our hope is to re-evaluate the timing of the awards since the summer is often a busy time for everyone and to receive nominations in 2022
  • We awarded our first Varda Shoham Clinical Scientist Training Initiative within the Diversity Track through donations from our membership. We hope to continue to offer this award in the future. Interested members will be able to donate to this worthwhile initiative when renewing their membership.
  • The Diversity Committee has posted timely reflection questions, readings, blogs, and twitter content while also contributing to the newsletter through the Diversity Corner.
  • The Virtual Clinical Lunch (VCL) Series continues to promote diverse speakers through diversity-related content.

2. Promotion of civility on the SSCP listserv.

  • I have to say that I have been pleased to see more civility on the SSCP listserv over the last year. The listserv continues to have lively debates but in a respectful manner. This does not mean that our listserv policies should not be examined. It still very much needs to be done. I am hoping that Marisol as the incoming SSCP President will help to further this project along during her tenure. However, the scope of the project could expand. The Listserv Committee led by Tom Olino and Katie Baucom hope to send out a listserv survey to our membership. This survey will entail questions that directly relate to civility and how safe members feel posting to our SSCP listserv but will also include items related to what our community values about the listserv and improvements that could be made. With increasing social media (blogs, twitter, etc.) it may be that our listserv does not play the same role it once did. To determine the needs of our membership and how the listserv plays into those needs is important to examine.

3.   To promote clinical science

  • As I think about promoting clinical science, I think of the many great partnerships that SSCP has fostered and promoted across psychology to meet shared goals. Our Clinical Psychological Science Special Interest Group at ABCT is an opportunity to meet and share ideas. The Clinical Psychological Science SIG is run in collaboration with APS and the organizations work in tandem to promote clinical science and help to develop conference planning directed toward clinical scientists. The ABCT CPS SIG is open to feedback about future endeavors. Contact Nick Perry (Nicholas_perry@brown.edu) or Diana Bennett (diana.bennett2@va.gov).  
  • SSCP continues to work closely with Division 12. Division 12 hosted a Science Advocacy Summit and Jessica Hamilton from SSCP was in attendance. Our SSCP Diversity Committee has also been working with Division 12 as part of their DEI efforts. In the future, Division 12 would like to collaborate with SSCP to co-sponsor future events at the annual APA conference.
  • CAAPS has been active this year developing two new sub-committees in which our membership has graciously volunteered to contribute. CAAPS is organizing a Scientific Impact Committee with the mission of using available science to decrease the burden of mental illness. SSCP members Michael Wheaton and Eugene Botanov have volunteered to be part of this committee. The second committee is the Scientific Quality Committee with the mission of improving science and clinical practices to reduce the burden of mental health. Kristy Benoit Allen is our SSCP member who will be joining this CAAPS committee. Additionally, Allison Meyer has agreed to join me as one of the overall SSCP CAAPS representative.
  • SSCP’s collaboration with APS remains strong particularly through the annual SSCP student poster awards and the Global Mental Health Poster Challenge. In the future when we are able to physically attend APS, the dissemination of awards, SSCP’s Presidential Address, the Distinguished Scientist talk, and SSCP symposium will resume.

I would be completely remiss if I did not thank all the current SSCP board members for an outstanding year. The board is an incredibly welcoming group of professionals that I have been lucky to work with and hope to collaborate with in the future. I want to offer my gratitude for the SSCP board members who will no longer be on the board as of the beginning of the New Year. I want to express a hearty thanks to the following out-going SSCP board members:

  • Joanne Davila, Past-President
  •  Matthew Lerner, Treasurer
  • Michael Wheaton, Member-at-Large
  • Amy Sewart, Postdoctoral Representative
  • Alexandra Klein, Student Representative
I would also like to acknowledge our new SSCP board members who will begin their terms in January 2022:
  • President-Elect: Susan Williams White, Professor and Endowed Chair in Psychology, University of Alabama
  • President: Marisol Perez, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University
  • Treasurer: Sara Bufferd, Assistant Professor, University of Louisville
  • Member-at-Large: Nancy Liu, Associate Clinical Professor, University of California, Berkeley
  • Postdoctoral Representative: Kaitlin Sheerin, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital
  • Student Representative: Nora Barnes-Horowitz, Graduate Student, University of California, Los Angeles
I look forward to continuing my time on the board as the Past-President where I will be given an opportunity to mentor and guide Marisol, much like Joanne Davila and Carolyn Becker did for me. I can only hope I am as creative and wise in the process. Thank you all for your support. It has been a great adventure!