One of the many responsibilities that come with being APA president is representing the association at different events around the world. I have an affinity for our international presence and responsibilities, and I am always eager to learn how others think about APA as a way to help in the association's ongoing rebirth, which may be particularly strong as a citizen of the United States who was born in a foreign country.
Whether in Palestine or Russia, Cuba or Spain, the perceptions our psychologist colleagues have about us are highly similar. Without a doubt, APA is often seen as a world leader in psychology. Our work and efforts in education, professional psychology, public service and science are broadly perceived as benchmark achievements.
Of course, we do hear some concerns from our international colleagues. Some, for example, want APA to do even more in response to
the Trump administration's encroachment on science, human rights and services. Others say APA is too focused on health services and needs a more balanced approach to all of psychology. Others (though the numbers are waning) remain concerned by the issues raised by the Independent Review two years ago.
Overall, though, the world's psychologists greatly appreciate the work we do. Despite many challenges, APA has been successful for so many years, in so many ways, which I credit to our history of innovation, evolution, willingness to respond to challenges and our ability to face our mistakes. Our international colleagues also recognize that for just about any problem that others have or are experiencing, there is a good likelihood that APA has addressed the issue in one fashion or another. We are seen as having the resources, the foresight and the leadership to tackle the major challenges of the day. In their view, when an issue needs to be addressed, their thought is, "If not APA, then who?"
This is how I see psychology's ability to solve some of the world's most deeply entrenched problems, from access to mental and behavioral health care to negotiating peace and sustainability, with the use of psychological science. As I see it, "If not psychologists, then who?"
APA's highly successful and powerful 125-year history has earned us the opportunity and the responsibility to serve not only our members, but our society, as well as the rest of the world.
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