Presidential Column

President’s Column: Living our Clinical Values (Winter 2024)

By Donna LaPaglia, PsyD, ABPP


I am honored to serve as the President of the Society of Clinical Psychology (SCP). For those of you who do not know me, I am clinical psychologist and a faculty member at Yale University’s School of Medicine. I came to academic medicine later in life after having worked in, and led, addiction treatment programs in the not-for-profit and the for-profit sector. My entire career has focused on the treatment of addictions and health service leadership. Addiction is a complex issue that knows no national boundaries, it does not discriminate –it cuts across race, class, and gender. It impacts individuals and the communities, and effects physical health, mental health, the health of families, and directly impacts the wellbeing of our society. My Division 12 involvement came through my membership in the Association for Psychologists in Academic Health Centers (APAHC), section 8 of division 12. Section 8 excels at mentorship, sponsorship, and leadership—and at its core it helps psychologists develop professional identities and professional self-esteem. I have benefitted from the investment section 8 makes in its members and hope to carry that forward.

January—A Time of Reflection and Renewal

2023 was an extremely challenging year for so many people. The ‘APA Stress in America Survey’ listed global conflict, racism and racial injustice, inflation, and climate-related disasters as weighing heavy on the collective consciousness of Americans (APA Stress in America Survey). As we enter a new year, the Society of Clinical Psychology (SCP) remains committed to easing human suffering through improvements in the field of clinical psychology. I believe we do our best work when we live our clinical values, open space for a multiplicity of perspectives and ideas, invite and empower our constituents’ life-experience and contributions, and prepare the next generations psychologists for leadership. I am committed to working side by side with our membership through sections, and committees to accomplish great things—and to begin the work outlined in our strategic plan. In addition, here are my Presidential goals for the new year:

1) enhancing the SCP community with a focus on recruitment of diverse members and early career members

2) mentoring diverse and early career members for leadership positions through our leadership pipeline project, and

3) supporting the strategic mission of the society through integration of IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Sustainability) into the core identity and actions of SCP.

I will dedicate my year of service to carrying forth these initiatives which I see as interconnected with the health of our Division and important for invigorating the society and its work. We are about to pilot a leadership development project; led by our Education and Training committee co-chairs Allison M. LoPilato, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Emory School of Medicine, and Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., ABPP Director, UNF Counseling Center, in conjunction with other committees and section involvement, this project directly addresses mentorship, sponsorship, leadership identity formation, and succession planning. Stay tuned!

In addition to the above goals, I would like to see the society increase collaborations with colleagues in public health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leveraging the collective clinical skill, insight, and acumen of our community, we have a unique and additive role to play in the development of innovative approaches to mitigate population health challenges through collaborative interprofessional work that addresses treating mental health concerns at the community level.

Looking Back…

As we begin this new year it is important to look back and carry forth the work done by our Past Presidents—we give our immense gratitude to our immediate past president-Dr. Kim Penberthy. Her drive and steadfastness to bring the Society through a strategic planning process, while also using her vast educational experience to champion a conference from the ground up with very talented committee co-chairs Drs. Lily Brown, Assistant Professor, Perelman School of Medicine of UPenn and Richard LeBeau, Assistant Project Scientist, UCLA, and committee, have placed the Division on sound footing.  And immense gratitude to Dr. Kalyani Gopal for laying the groundwork for our international agenda, and for our IDEAS implementation. In combination—these past achievements have laid a dynamic, integrated, and rich path forward. And as always, we at SCP are grateful for the exceptional skill of our executive director- Tara Craighead to help us realize our full potential. It is a full team effort at the Society for Clinical Psychology (APA Division 12)—Come join the team!