President’s Message: July 2014

What do Ohio psychologists need to do for the next generation?

Dr. Ashton at 2014 ConventionBy: Kathleen Ashton, PhD, OPA President

Working as OPA President in the past year, I have been struck by the enthusiasm, energy, and knowledge of our graduate student and early career members. OPAGS continues to gain astounding membership numbers and execute well-received and well-attended workshops for its members. The Early Career Psychologist Committee has been active in advocating for dues reduction, surveying its members and advocating for services that ECPs need from OPA.

Here are just a few things that I hope OPA members will consider to help early career and future psychologists:

  1. Make the cost of graduate psychology education more affordable. A recent OPA survey found to be the average student loan debt of $115,000 for an early career psychologist in Ohio. Psychologists today need to advocate for federal funding to train psychologists and responsible and realistic admissions to graduate programs.
  2. Provide mentorship to graduate students and early career psychologists. Both mentees and mentors benefit from mentoring relationships, with early career psychologists gaining wisdom from more experienced peers, and mentors learning about cutting edge information.
  3. Help solve the internship crisis. It is unacceptable that there is significant discrepancy between qualified candidates and internship opportunities. Psychologists need to advocate for funding new internships. OPA is currently working on developing a consortium internship in Ohio.
  4. Provide quality supervision to practicum students, interns and postdoctoral fellows. Many of you across the state are involved in training future psychologists. The time and responsibility you take for clinical training is essential to developing future quality professionals.
  5. Advocate for fair reimbursement for psychologist services. Psychology has to continue its fight for fair reimbursement through Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers. OPA works through its advocacy and insurance committees to help future psychologists earn fair wages.
  6. Encourage training programs to provide business education, training in integrated health and evidenced based practice, and foundation for prescription privileges. As health care changes, future psychologists need training in future health care trends. Training programs need to be sensitive to these needs to help prepare psychologists with marketable skills in addition to the still valuable scientist practitioner model.
  7. Model appropriate boundaries and discuss professional ethics with graduate students and early career colleagues. Appropriate work/home balance, navigating social media and navigating multiple roles are difficult areas for the seasoned professional. Early career and graduate students may be even more vulnerable to burnout, over commitment and hazy role boundaries.

I hope each OPA member will consider taking time in the next month to welcome new professionals to our field, help a graduate student, or reach out to an early professional. Our continued commitment to psychologists across professional development makes us a strong organization.

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