My signature mantra is "Psychology is every day in every way"—so we need to be in the room, at the table and, yes, sometimes at the head of the table when policies are formulated and implemented.
Psychologists have long served and will continue to serve in various roles at the local, state, regional, national and international levels, often invisibly in terms of their professional identity. Here at APA, we want our fellow psychologists—as well as the rest of the world—to "see" these people.
The "Hidden Figures" book and movie revealed that African-American women made substantial, yet largely unknown, contributions to the U.S. space program with their mathematical skills. After the book became a bestseller and the movie opened across the country, African-American women who had excelled in mathematics or had been leaders in the military became very present on talk shows and news programs. The invisible became visible.
We need data on psychology's "hidden figures," colleagues who have been serving in community and government roles as Citizen Psychologists. We want to find out how all of our members are contributing to their communities.
In March, APA will survey members as part of my Citizen Psychologist initiative to ask how you are contributing to your communities. Why is this important? First, the survey will provide data to share with the membership. APA has never before sought such data. We expect they will yield information about how psychologists across a range of career stages benefit their communities. Such data would affirm psychologists as advancing society well beyond the confines of our offices. Please complete the survey as we need a critical mass of responses to provide valid and reliable results.
Second, a signature goal of my Citizen Psychologist initiative is to develop a citizenship curriculum that would span a range of users from high school students of psychology through retired psychologists. This resource can help make serving as a Citizen Psychologist an integral part of our professional identities, and each of us could influence how the public views psychology.
Third, psychology as a discipline can find a home at decision-making tables at every level of government, in community groups and with other disciplines. Psychologists know how to collaborate with others; cooperation across professional and community groups is critical.
Finally, being a Citizen Psychologist will mean becoming a contributing citizen of the world. We encourage psychologists to make contacts around the world—to collaborate and share information.
Your completion of the survey—available at http://bit.ly/2EDVKQ7—is important to move this initiative forward. No more Citizen Psychologists as hidden figures.
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