President’s Message: November 2013

AshtonDo you know what OPA’s Strategic Plan is?

By: Kathleen Ashton, PhD, OPA President

It shouldn’t be a mystery! Many members are unaware that OPA implemented a Strategic Plan in 2011 to help guide our association’s policies and activities. This plan was carefully developed based on research, including feedback from you, the members! OPA’s Strategic Plan outlines six major goals with accompanying objectives and metrics to help OPA stay on focused on its mission. These goals include 1) advocating for public policies that promote psychological services, the field of psychology and a psychologically healthy Ohio; 2) creating and sustaining an environment of diversity and inclusion, while holding cultural competence for Ohio psychologists as a high priority; 3) making psychology more visible to the citizens of Ohio by providing psychological resources, scientific knowledge, public education and referrals; 4) creating and maintaining a number of income streams to make membership more affordable while continuing to provide priority services that members want and need; 5) supporting the personal and professional lives of psychologists throughout their lifespan, from student status through retirement; and, 6) providing a psychologically healthy and safe work environment for OPA employees and volunteers that supports their career and personal growth, and values their contributions, professionalism and ideas.

I’d like to highlight just a few of our accomplishments toward these goals in the past year. Toward our diversity goals, our diversity committee has established definitions of diversity and cultural competence to help guide OPA and psychologists in Ohio. We have worked to support early career psychologists(ECPs), with ECPs earning a standing committee seat on the board and successfully reducing their dues structure to help make OPA membership affordable for our newest psychologists. There are exciting opportunities toward developing new income streams to help provide the services OPA members need, including a consultation service.
In particular, the OPA Board started out its first meeting this year by focusing on Goal #3: “Make psychology more visible.” We recently assessed our progress and learned that OPA has surpassed its social media goals for the year, with 690 followers on Twitter and 851 likes on Facebook. Our website has been revamped, with an increase in visitors: 22.03 percent increase in visits, 16.82 percent increase in unique visitors, and an 9.73 percent increase in page views. You may have also noticed that OPA has a new logo which will help with our branding efforts. We gathered information on members who volunteer on behalf of psychology, and learned that 21 members provided 3,158 volunteer hours and served 59 pro bono clients. Our Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award program had nine applicants, with five awardees in 2013 and one winner recognized by APA in 2012. All of these efforts are important ways OPA and you, our members, are helping to get the word out about the importance and efficacy of the work psychologists provide every day. In addition, OPA is actively recruiting for a Marketing Task Force, to strengthen even further our message to the public that psychological help is effective.

Some additional emerging issues have evolved from our focus on the Strategic Plan. Health care reform, as we continued to hear more about at Convention, is a moving target needing close attention. To this end, I will be appointing an OPA Healthcare Reform Task Force with the mission to monitor ongoing healthcare reform changes and their effect on Ohio psychologists, communicate these changes to the general membership and OPA Board, and consider how OPA can positively influence healthcare reform changes for psychologists.
OPA will continue to work toward these Strategic Plan goals throughout the coming year, the Board will continue this work with conference chair phone call meetings between regularly scheduled BOD meetings. Although all OPA committees are working toward various pieces of the Strategic Plan, we wanted to take the time to work together from many perspectives on specific goals at each meeting. For example, we will focus on advocacy goals and metrics at our December phone meeting. Stay tuned for information on the listserv, in the e-newsletter and on the website for outcomes from these working meetings.