2020 Year in Review
Dear DCPA Members,
2020 has been a very eventful year for all. We have had to adapt to a “new normal”. DCPA is no exception.
In response to the pandemic, DCPA created a COVID-19 Task Force that provided 12 free wellness and educational webinars and support groups for the general population as well as five webinars in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. We also updated our referral directory to indicate therapists providing telehealth and updated our website to provide mental health and anti-racism resources to our members and the community. Our Diversity, Social Justice and Inclusion (DSJI) Committee offered workshops (including 1 to come in December on LGBTQ). They have also partnered with local universities and organizations and have provided statements for media. DSJI sponsored anti-racist training for the Board of Directors and for member training. Our Professional Development Committee worked with the DSJI to provide 14 workshops to our psychological community (including LGBTQ and Ethics to be presented in December).
Our Government Relations Committee was very busy advocating for PsyPact with the City Council, along with other legislative issues. PsyPact is about to have its second vote soon. Our Ethics Committee continues to be available to our members for consultation. Our Student Committee has advocated for students throughout the year and has helped to involve students in all of the committees.
Diversity, Social Justice & Inclusion Committee
Led by Dr. Samira Paul, DSJI aims to advance the understanding of the impact of differences in race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, language and ability on our daily lived experiences as practitioners, students and community while advocating for social change. We believe in education as a powerful tool for social change and work closely with the Professional Development committee to provide educational and professional opportunities to foster an environment of interracial, interethnic and cultural dialogue.
DSJI partnered with academic institutions and organizations such as Howard University, Greater Washington Urban League, Georgetown University and collaborated on statements and a series of educational webinars for educators, psychologists, counselors, students and members of the community. The DSJI team addressed various media requests ranging from microaggressions to domestic violence.
The DCPA board was actively engaged and received an anti-racist training that addressed biases, microaggressions and tools to become a better ally for the community. Lastly, DSJI worked closely with the Professional Development Committee to ensure the provision of monthly educational webinars.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Led by Dr. Stephen Stein, the Professional Development component of DCPA is designed to meet the educational and professional needs of the membership. In addition to providing continuing education for licensure, a crucial objective of professional development is to provide training programs that address the emerging needs and challenges of the mental health profession and the community. The PDC works closely with the DSJI to provide empathic attunement, awareness and clinical training, skill acquisition and capabilities designed to meet the challenges we collectively face. Some of the 11 workshops we have provided include anti-racism and allyship trainings for our clinicians and the public, such as Anti-Black Racism; Race, Racism and Racial Trauma; De-Colonization of Mental Health: Nurturing Student Activism (with Howard University); Enhancing Safety for Psychology Trainees; and Racial Microaggressions.
DCPA believes that by marshalling and coordinating our resources we can maximize our effectiveness in this time of uncertainty and crisis to provide both professional and personal support to our members and community. In solidarity there is hope.
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE
The GRC expanded this year. Led by Dr. Jeremy Kozne, the goal of GRC is to encourage training and engagement of psychologists interested in learning how to participate in advocacy. The GRC advocated within the DC city government for PsyPact and emergency police reform legislation. It has informed membership about federal advocacy efforts spearheaded by APA, contributed to multiple DCPA statements and public comments on issues including police reform, anti-racism, and federal executive orders. The GRC members authored a paper for submission to the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy focused on trauma in the “double pandemic”. They were assisted in this article by a graduate student from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
COVID-19 TASK FORCE
The COVID-19 Task Force aimed to provide a supportive presence and united front for our members and the community. They collaborated with members who wanted to be part of a response to the Corona virus. Led by Dr. Jessica Smedley and Dr. Samira Paul, they identified the needs of our fellow providers, consumers and local community members and partners. The Task Force provided 14 free virtual support groups, Telehealth therapist finder, wellness webinars, a resource center, educational articles, and free membership for individuals experiencing financial strain. They also updated our online directory to include telehealth providers, expanded the list of pro-bono services, advocated for PsyPact to the Mayor’s office, updated social media daily, created a website for COVID-19, sent out press materials, and held a Town Hall.
The Task Force provided support groups for self-care, parents, adults living alone, first responders, military and veterans, LGBTQ+ community, and clergy members. Educational webinars included Health and Fitness, Food and Feelings, Restorative Yoga, etc. They addressed issues of racial disparity in the mental health field and at large with “Can You See Me? Honoring Black Mental Health During a Double Pandemic;” held a support group for Black Psychologists, and partnered with the DSJI on several workshops including Addressing Racial and Political Issues from a Black Perspective.
The work of the task force and DCPA were featured on WTOP, NBC4, DCist articles and Kyle marketing support. They were also placed on the websites of these media organizations.
Our Treasurer, Dr. David Gage, revamped our Quick Books account, providing better organization and making our financial reports easier to understand. Dr. Gage led DCPA’s efforts with strategic planning and budgeting for the future, ensuring that DCPA has solid financial security moving forward. Dr. Gage also was actively involved with helping DCPA through some of our major transitions this year, including hiring Association Management Resources (AMR), our new management company. AMR will provide ongoing assistance with our finances, making the job of our Treasurer easier. Dr. Gage’s two year commitment comes to an end this year. The treasurer position is currently open and Dr. Gage is available to help with the transition.
Our member-at-large-Academic, Dr. Laurie Paul, worked to notify universities of our DCPA student grant program. She evaluated the applications and determined grant winners. There were three winners this year. She also provided two professional education workshops to DCPA on diversity and LGBTQ.
Our student representative had to move, so Mr. Michael Ray from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology took over the position. The SC is dedicated to the professional development of graduate students by providing opportunities for leadership, networking, mentorship, training, research and advocacy. DCPA provided free membership for the second half of the year to students and offers them free attendance at all workshops. This year has seen an increase in student participation on all of our committees.
The role of the President Elect was instrumental this year with all the changes at DCPA. Our President Elect Dr. Victoria Sylos-Labini’s leadership has helped ensure the delivery of all these programs and expansion of DCPA. Victoria’s empathy, energy and vision continue to inspire each of us to build a better future for our association. We are truly enthusiastic about her role as President next year and about seeing her vision become a reality for DCPA.
We have also replaced our Executive Director with Mrs. Angela Richardson. She works with Association Management Resources, which will also provide a financial advisor to support our Treasurer and other functions of the Association. This new organization and Ms. Richardson will offer better response and follow through from DCPA.
BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP
A busy year, and more to come. DCPA is dedicated to providing a voice to the community for psychologists. We will continue to work for the needs of our membership and of our community. A big thanks to all of the volunteers, both licensed and student, who helped to make this all possible. Please go to dcpsychology.org for more information on some of our volunteers.
Please consider joining (or rejoining) DCPA. Some of the benefits are listed below:
Dr. Suzan Stafford, DCPA President