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This community blog is written by the current OPA Board of Directors' President.


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President's Message: July 2018

Posted By Mary Lewis, PhD, ABPP - OPA President, Monday, July 30, 2018

By now, most of you have received notification of the biennial licensure renewal, due by September 30, 2018, although CEU’s must be completed by August 31st, 2018 to be eligible. This time of year is hectic for the OPA staff, who are processing CE credits, conducting single-course review, and navigating questions from psychologists. I know this is a good time in my busy life to step back and remember that despite the annoyance of paperwork, getting online, and ensuring we have everything turned in a timely way, it is little to ask given how critical professional licensure is to our role as psychologists. 

It was not all that long ago that our hard-fought battle against consolidation of our Board of Psychology, to remain independent and ensure that our profession is distinct and appropriately overseen by psychologists, and not by individuals from other professions.  While the paperwork, payments, and details can be challenging for some of us, I do appreciate that our Board and the State of Ohio have given us the responsibility in maintaining continuing education on the science and practice of psychology. As a profession, this keeps us updated and nimble, as well as provides opportunities to learn and understand new populations, practice areas or therapies, and network with others to provide strong referral systems.  

When I think about getting my license in the mail, 15 years ago, it is a wonderful memory filled with excitement. I was so proud to hang the license on my wall, and with every passing biennium, my renewal is a reminder of the hard work and dedication it took to get to that point. Being a psychologist is not just a profession – it is a privilege. Each day we work with incredibly strong and vulnerable individuals, families, groups, and businesses to support and guide them to psychological well-being. 

I am grateful to you, each and every OPA member, for supporting OPA’s role in ensuring psychologists are on track to maintain licensure, and supporting OPA by attending the variety of continuing education programming sponsored by the organization. I am also particularly grateful to Beth Wherley, OPA’s Director of Mandatory Continuing Education, who navigates the thousands of submissions each year and handles many of the stressful calls related to MCE. Each year at the Practice Leadership Conference, when I hear about the challenges that other states deal, I am thankful that OPA has incredibly dedicated and hard-working staff to support us.  

As a reminder, OPA has some detailed instructions on submission of CEU’s to OPA, as well as how to ensure you are doing your responsibility for reporting at this link: https://cdn.ymaws.com/ohpsych.org/resource/resmgr/files/mce/OPA-MCE_2016-2018Psychologis.pdf

It is incredibly easy to renew your license! All license renewals are now online, and it took me less than 10 minutes to complete my renewal. The Ohio e-License Portal is at this link: https://elicense.ohio.gov/OH_HomePage

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President's Message: June 2018

Posted By Mary Lewis, PhD, ABPP - OPA President, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Throughout my Presidential year, I have frequently written about the spirit of collaboration and working together with other mental health stakeholders. We have two upcoming opportunities to work broadly with others that I’d like to share, and also use this opportunity to encourage OPA members to share their collaborative experiences with myself and other OPA board members. 

Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities 2018 Opioid Conference: Strengthening Ohio’s Communities (June 11-12, 2018)
OACBHA is sponsoring their 9th annual opiate conference in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addictions Services, as well as the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. This year’s conference is being held on June 11-12 at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus. There are spots for 1,200 attendees, with two full days of educational sessions. Keynote speakers include Ret. Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld, Co-Chair of SAFE (Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic), Rita Noonan, Ph.D., Chief Health Systems Branch from the CDC, and a media panel moderated by Jerry Revish of 10TV. For more information and a detailed schedule of presenters and topics, please visit this website: https://www.oacbha.org/ohios_2018_opiate_conference.php. OPA will have representation at the event, and we hope to share information with the Board as well as general membership after the conference is complete. This information should inform our work moving forward after the Assembly discussions on the opioid crisis from our own convention. 

Ohio School Safety Summit (September 12, 2018)
The Ohio School Safety Summit, to be held on September 12 this year in Columbus, is sponsored by the Ohio School Boards Association. Proposals are currently being accepted (deadline June 8th: http://stearns.ohioschoolboards.org/nominatess_include.php ), the focus of the conference is collaborative effort involving a multitude of education groups, mental health organizations and law enforcement agencies to address the issues surrounding the safety and security of Ohio’s schools.  Nearly 20 groups have committed themselves to working together to make a difference for the schoolchildren of this state.  They have developed both short- and long-term goals that focus on mental health, safety procedures and training, cooperative relationships between law enforcement and school districts, weapons in schools, family and parental involvement and more. Currently this effort involves the following groups:   Buckeye Association of School Administrators; National Alliance on Mental Illness - Ohio;  Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education; Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators; Ohio Association of Public School Employees; Ohio Association of School Business Officials; Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators; Ohio Department of Education; Ohio Homeland Security; Ohio Education Association; Ohio Educational Service Center Association; Ohio Federation of Teachers; Ohio High School Athletic Association; Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services; Ohio PTA; Ohio School Boards Association; Ohio School Counselors Association; Ohio School Psychologists Association; and Ohio School Resource Officers Association. 

OPA is currently seeking representation to attend this summit, and Dr. Elizabeth Harris, Chair of the OPA Committee on Social Responsibility, is submitting a proposal for this conference. The conference is free to attend, and will have numerous topics including the following: Trauma, Identification of resources, School climate, Supporting children and families, Intervention, Managing mental health, Roles of school psychologists and counselors, De-escalation techniques, Stadiums/extracurricular activities, Bus safety, Schools, Legal aspects of arming staff, Building plan evaluations, Law enforcement, First responders, Threat assessment, Emergency management plans, and Collaboration with local and county governments. These topics fit well with the goals of the OPA Anti-Violence Task Force, and our hopes to work with other organizations to create a “one-stop” website for violence prevention and response resources. 

Please OPA if you are interested in either of these efforts, particularly the School Safety Summit. Again, if you are aware of other collaborative opportunities for psychologists, or are involved in those efforts, please share that with myself or other OPA board members. We are grateful for your involvement in inclusive, positive community engagement as well as the facilitation of a psychologically-healthy Ohio!

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President's Message: May 2018

Posted By Mary Lewis, PhD, ABPP - OPA President, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I’d like to kick of this Presidential Column with a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the recent OPA convention! We had an outstanding line-up of presenters and networking opportunities throughout the three days, starting with Dr. Arthur Evans, CEO of APA, who gave OPA members both group and individual opportunities to meet with him and provide feedback and concerns. I appreciate his candor and authentic engagement with the OPA members who met with him during the President’s Dinner on Wednesday evening, and am looking forward to what he does next as APA’s CEO.

During the first two days of convention, we also held our first OPA Assembly meetings. This year’s topic was the Opioid Crisis and how OPA can address this specific concern. There were rich discussions on both days spanning a number of concerns, as well as practical steps that OPA could utilize to move forward on this topic. Please watch your OPA publications for a more detailed analysis of those discussions, as well as an opportunity for you to give us feedback if you were not able to attend the convention this year. Our goal is to tie the suggestions into the work the OPA Board has already done with the strategic plan, and share that with the general membership soon.

Some specific suggestions that came out of the Convention Assembly included the following:

  • More proactive and purposeful collaboration with family physicians to educate all stakeholders (physicians, psychologists, and patients) about the wide spectrum of pain management options beyond opioid medications.
  • Holistic and collaborative continuing education training provided for a broad range of providers in the medical community, including integrated care models, pain management, addiction treatment, and destigmatization of mental health.
  • Active engagement with legislators on models of pain management and specifically address continued funding and access for Medicaid. 
  • Participate in current Opioid Town Halls/Conferences and potentially sponsor some of these meetings, to include families, schools, psychologists, medical providers, and the media, to understand all perspectives and barriers to solutions. 

The OPA Planning and Development Committee, as well as the OPA Board, will take all of the suggestions and work through them to identify a priority list as well as the realistic nature of each. Again, we look forward to hearing your feedback once the full Assembly notes have been published.

I would specifically like to thank the OPA staff for all the hard work and “behind the scenes” preparation that they do to make Convention appear seamless! OPA is blessed with a committed and engaged group of individuals that truly make our lives easier. A huge thanks to Michael, Karen, Carolyn, David and Beth for another outstanding convention!

Please join us for next year’s OPA Convention, held Wednesday, April 24 to Friday, April 26th at the Quest Convention Center. The topic will be “Working Together to Build a Culture of Understanding,” and registration opens February 4, 2019. We look forward to seeing you again next year! 

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President's Message: April 2018

Posted By Mary Lewis, PhD, ABPP - OPA President, Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Ohio Delegation had another successful trip to the APAPO Practice Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., and we have come back with a wealth of information regarding current political landscapes and the importance of advocacy, clinical guidelines, the opioid crisis, licensure pathways, master’s issues, and social justice. 

One of the sessions I would like to report on was entitled “Social Justice & Advocacy Matters: Navigating “isms” and Building Allies in SPTAs and Other Professional Settings” which was co-facilitated by Charmain Jackman, PhD, Diversity Liaison; Chair, Diversity Subcommittee, Committee of State Leaders and Gary Howell, PsyD, Diversity Liaison-Elect. During this session, we participated in a fishbowl exercise that allowed participants to explore issues of race/ethnicity, religion, gender, ability and other diversity factors related to their training, mentoring experiences, and professional sites. My take-home message from this experience were numerous: how crucial it is to listen and trust our colleague’s experiences, to actively find ways to have effective ally-like behaviors, and to never stop working towards equity and removal of barriers based on stereotypes. Social justice work can be exhausting, yet is crucial to the future of our profession and nation.

A second important session was entitled “High-Impact Governing:” Building Successful Leadership Partnerships” and was presented by Eloiza Altoro, MS, HS-BCP, CAE, Principal Consultant, Mind Redesign Consulting, Milwaukee, WI. She walked attendees through successful and non-successful factors related to non-profit boards. I had many take-aways from her presentation, as well as the follow-up session co-facilitated by Jo Linder-Crow, Ph.D., CEO of the California Psychological Association and Paul Marcille, Ph.D., President of CPA. It was clear throughout that it can be easy to fall into dysfunctional behaviors within non-profit governance models, and continuous reflection and effective leadership should be part of the process to reduce that dysfunction. Further, the interaction between volunteer board members and staff in the organization is one of the keys to effective and successful organizations. 

As we continue to refine and work on OPA’s new governance model, these two sessions helped me focus on several of our growing pains, and have given me ideas on next steps. While practical goals such as the updating of the Policy and Procedure manual is important, our association has also been working on meaningful goals that our membership has directed us towards: Violence prevention, addressing the opioid crisis, and workforce issues, to name just a few.

To address these, we must refrain from too narrow of a self-focus and ensure we collaborate with colleagues across professions. OPA’s relationship with OSPA is a good example of a healthy collaboration, with our current focus being to create a combined website of pre-existing resources for psychologists, school psychologists, teachers, parents, and other healthcare professionals to address school violence. Our hope is to put forth a “one stop resource” site for practitioners and consumers to visit, rather than being directed to numerous sites and not knowing the quality or efficacy of those. 

To close, I’d like to send a warm Congratulations to OSPA on their 75th Anniversary! They will be celebrating the year at their 2018 Conference, which will be held April 19-20 in Hilton Columbus in Polaris. The celebration program will kick-off Thursday morning with Dr. John Kelly, the current President of NASP with a keynote address entitled “The Power of One.”  Following his address, Dr. Kelly will present “Delivering Effective Mental Health Services in Schools” with a focus on student anxiety and depression. For more information visit the OSPA website. 

One last reminder: Don’t forget to register for the OPA convention, which is the following week April 26, 27, and 28th at the Quest Conference Center in Polaris! We will have Dr. Arthur Evans, Jr., CEO of APA kicking off convention with a keynote entitled “The Future of Psychology and the American Psychological Association.” There are sessions to interest everyone, and numerous networking opportunities. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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President's Message: March 2018

Posted By Mary Lewis, PhD, ABPP - OPA President, Thursday, March 22, 2018

As I write this newsletter article, the OPA delegation has just returned from DC and the Practice Leadership Conference (PLC) where we represented psychologists from Ohio. This year’s conference was entitled “Advancing Practice Together,” and there were a wide variety of sessions on topics ranging from the Master’s licensure issue, opioid crisis, prescriptive authority to quality data measurement registries. The conference wrapped up with a trip to Capitol Hill to visit with our federal leaders and participate in positive advocacy for psychology. I have returned energized and educated and am looking forward to sharing the conference information with the OPA membership.

From my prior experiences at PLC, it is easy to feel overwhelmed at times at the huge amount of information given, as well as all the potential roles we play as psychologists and leaders in our community. Even outside of PLC, there are abundant federal, state and local advocacy issues to follow, and each year we face the challenge of understanding how funding sources (insurance, grants, etc.) impact our daily work. Societal issues that impact our practices are ever-changing, and research that informs our practice is evolving rapidly. Bringing things from the thousand-yard view to our daily work is a constant balancing act. Even as a mid-career psychologist, the cognitive load that this balance takes can leave me exhausted at the end of the day. Yet I have privilege that others do not, and I think about their daily exhaustion and fatigue. 

Today, I struggle to prioritize for myself which seems to be the most crucial topic to focus on, yet not lose sight of the important concerns from prior weeks. The OPA Strategic Plan revisions should help us focus as an organization, but what about individual OPA members? How do you filter through information overload and source amnesia? What resources do you use in overwhelming times to identify important advocacy issues? 

Here are a few resources that may help psychologists identify what is important to them, and continue to be aware of state and federal laws and policies that may impact your teaching, practice, or research. 

  • OPA Bill Box (http://ohpsych.org/page/OPABillBox): Let OPA do the searching for you! OPA staff and our Advocacy Committee can identify current Ohio bills that are relevant to psychologists, as well as the relevant Representatives and Senators for the bill. 
  • The Ohio Legislature “My Ohio Legislature” (https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/my-ohio-legislature/dashboard): This site allows you to create an account and choose specific topics to be notified about, including global topics such as healthcare or education. You can also select specific topics such as Medicaid, Higher Education, etc. 
  • APA’s Practice Organization (http://www.apapracticecentral.org/advocacy/index.aspx): APAPO identifies national bills and advocacy topics that are relevant to the practice of psychology, and provides not only links but the Legislative Action Center, where you can easily send letters and emails.
  • APS (Association for Psychological Science; https://www.psychologicalscience.org/policy): This organization has a page dedicated specifically towards advocacy and policy statements related to the science and teaching of psychology. 

At the end of the day, we do make choices about where we focus our time, passions, energy, and money. I am thankful to each of you who have chosen to support OPA and continue to be members of this organization, to allow us to work and be advocates within Ohio for important issues. I hope that you will continue to support us and provide feedback on our work.

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