Co-creating APA's Future

APA members

APA's new strategic plan is under development: Stay updated — and add your voice.

I am pleased to launch this webpage to keep you updated on APA’s work toward developing a new strategic plan. Once completed, the plan will provide a roadmap to guide and prioritize the work of the organization for the next five to seven years. We will keep you informed and involve you as we move through this process. I am looking forward to seeing what we create together. — Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, APA CEO

As new reports on the development of APA's strategic plan are released, they'll be added below on this page, with the most recent report appearing first.


Board of Directors’ Spring Retreat

Posted June 7, 2018

The Board of Directors gathered at APA Headquarters in late April for the first of their two annual retreats. Members met with APA staff and the external strategic consultants about the strategic plan. 

Over the course of the session, the board participated in an exercise where they identified major challenges and opportunities facing APA, the field, and the discipline. This is part of an ongoing series of discussions about APA’s future that the board will be having during the strategic planning process. In this particular conversation, the board arrived at five overarching areas to consider in the further development of the strategic plan:

Expanding APA’s Advocacy and Influence

The expansion of APA’s advocacy efforts and overall legislative influence surfaced as both a prime opportunity and a serious challenge over the next five years. The group identified a number of specific sub-areas, including increasing influence on public policy and laws, garnering increased funding for basic and applied research, and amplifying the voice of psychology and psychologists on critical social issues.

Solving Public Health and Social Issues

Psychology has a critical role to play in solving public health and social issues. In particular, increasing access to affordable mental health care to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, organizations, and communities is of high importance to the organization. Additionally, APA needs to be strategically focused on identifying important social issues and developing broad solutions based on psychological science.

Representing Psychology Across Disciplines

Psychological science continues to play an increasingly prevalent and influential role across a range of disciplines. For example, psychology’s principles and research can and should be applied to areas including artificial intelligence, technology and technological innovation, and big data. Psychology should have a seat at the table and be an active participant in all major efforts to address these topics.

Fostering Psychology as a Global Discipline

APA should expand its efforts to build meaningful international collaborations and help its partners develop systems and activities that reflect the unique cultures they serve. Success in this area will reinforce and expand our influence, impact, reach, and membership and strengthen the knowledge base regarding diversity and cultural implications for psychology research and practice.

Promoting and Expanding Outward-Facing Efforts

An increased focus on and the successful promotion and expansion of outward-facing efforts will not only improve the brand equity of APA, but also expand the field and discipline of psychology in a meaningful way by increasing public awareness and understanding of psychology. These efforts can be fueled by partnerships with other national organizations that have shared interests and related missions, as well as investing in and growing APA’s efforts in K-12 education, increasing public knowledge of mental and behavioral health, and ultimately expanding interest and participation in the field of psychology.

In the coming weeks, members of council, boards, committees, divisions, state leaders and the general membership, as well as APA staff, will have multiple opportunities to provide insights. We will keep you informed as this effort moves forward.

What do you think should be the priorities of the association going forward? Send your comments to


Spring Consolidated Meetings

Posted May 31, 2018

When the 283 volunteer leaders from many of APA’s boards and committees gathered for their Spring Consolidated Meetings, one of the first items on the agenda was to conduct an initial visioning exercise for the strategic planning process. 

The question posed to the group was simple: If APA were to appear on the front page of The New York Times 10 years from now, what would you want the headline to say? 

Leaders at the meeting worked with those at their tables to craft an answer, and the conversations were fascinating. Participants from each table group discussed an impressive collection of thoughtful, insightful and visionary ideas, which will provide excellent grounding for the strategic planning work that lies ahead. Here is the report from the consultants about what they heard. 

Several primary themes emerged during the session:

Increasing the Influence and Leadership of Psychology and the APA

Many governance leaders said that as an organization, APA needs to focus on ensuring that psychologists are well represented in leadership roles in government (e.g., cabinet level, federal/state/local legislative bodies and agencies), industry (e.g., corporate and nonprofit leadership, boards of directors, industry groups), health care (e.g. health systems, insurers) and educational institutions.

Improving Mental and Behavioral Health

A number of people at the tables said that APA should play an important role in the future of public mental and behavioral health. Some noted that APA can be a powerful player in an effort to mend and strengthen communities by bringing behavioral health issues to the forefront (e.g., help bring an end to the opioid crisis), securing universal access to mental health services and eradicating the stigma associated with mental health issues.

Building and Expanding our Advocacy Efforts

Advocacy objectives that leadership participants identified as important include: 

  • Increasing payment and reimbursement rates for psychological services.
  • Increasing the overall advocacy budget to grow APA’s influence.
  • Working to increase the funding for basic and applied psychological research.

Additional Themes

A range of other broad themes surfaced during the conversations, including expanding and increasing the diversity of the membership, increasing the diversity of APA leadership, increasing APA’s global psychology leadership, promoting psychology as a discipline and expanding APA’s impact on technology.

Despite the variety in ideas discussed, the “headlines” the tables came up with shared a common thread: Almost all envisioned APA as a transformational change agent with a leadership role in improving the well-being of society.

What is your answer to this question and why? If APA were to appear on the front page of The New York Times 10 years from now, what would you want the headline to say? Email us at and let us know.

Update lighthouse

Co-creating APA's Future

Posted May 16, 2018

The work is beginning to co-create APA’s next strategic plan — a 5- to 7-year roadmap to guide the association’s actions and define our contributions to psychology and society. APA's first strategic plan was developed in 2011. When I came on board as CEO in 2017, the Board of Directors charged me with leading the process to develop a new strategic plan and presenting that plan to APA's Council of Representatives for approval. 

As APA’s CEO, I view this undertaking as a unique opportunity for us to shape the way we serve our members, deliver programs that benefit society and improve people’s lives, and advocate for the field and the discipline. To ensure we get the best result, we need everyone’s voice.


My goals for the development of this plan are that it will be:
  • Engaging: Offering the opportunity for every member, leader and employee of the association to provide comments and share their vision for APA.
  • Transparent: Ensuring regular updates are provided to all through this web page, in newsletters, on mailing lists and in other communications.
  • Aspirational: Tapping into goals that will move us forward and capitalize on APA's full potential.
  • Actionable: Ensuring that we will have the biggest impact. 


The timeline for the development of the new strategic plan includes data gathering with feedback to APA’s Council of Representatives in August, followed by synthesis, plan development and sharing the results.
  • Phase one: Data gathering. Over the coming months you will have numerous opportunities to offer your perspective, from surveys, to focus groups, to many opportunities to offer comments and feedback online. My goal is to ensure that your ideas are captured, considered and applied in the development of the plan. The target date to accomplish this piece of the plan is August 2018.
  • Phase two: Synthesis. The second phase will involve a synthesis of the input offered, and a feedback loop to the members, governance and staff to share what was heard and see what still might need to be captured. The target date to accomplish this piece of the plan is October 2018.
  • Phase three: Plan development. The third phase will take all the input and data gathered and use this information to craft the strategic goals and objectives. This phase will also involve a draft implementation plan, including metrics, to focus on whether the aspirations we have developed can be made actionable. The target date to accomplish this piece of the plan is early December 2018.
  • Phase four: Sharing the result. The last phase of plan development will share the draft plan with members, leadership and staff, using tools like webinars and this website, as well as presentations and conversations at convenings like the December 2018 Board meeting. This piece of the plan will culminate in early February 2019 with a presentation at the Council of Representatives meeting, where Council will vote on whether to adopt the plan.


Co-creating a vision means starting with our members and leadership and working with a highly successful consultant and a handful of expert staff to facilitate the process. 

  • Staff leads: The process of developing the strategic plan is being co-led by David Ballard, PsyD, MBA, director of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, and Ian King, MBA, executive director of membership.
  • Consultant: APA has retained Sequence Consulting, which specializes in working with associations. Sequence has helped leading organizations, such as the American Medical Association, American Chemical Society, American Bar Association and AARP, achieve transformational change. 

Co-creating a vision will, by definition, take all of us. I look forward to working together with you all to move APA forward.