APA's strategic plan provides a road map to guide and prioritize the work of the organization in the context of factors affecting the discipline of psychology, psychologists, membership organizations and our society.
Note: APA is developing a new strategic plan, aiming to share the results in February 2019. The current strategic plan, displayed below, will be replaced.

These factors include demographic and generational trends, globalization, changes in health and mental health-care delivery and financing, challenges in the funding of behavioral research and the increase in smaller "niche" organizations.

In sum, our strategic plan helps us to remain a vibrant and relevant organization.

The Council of Representatives approved the strategic plan in August 2009, after a two-year effort to collect data from our members, governance leaders and staff, and examination of societal trends that could affect psychology. The council authorized more than $2 million in 2011 to fund projects that would set the plan in motion. Similar funding has also been provided for 2012 and 2013.

In addition to specifying our main goals and objectives for a three- to five-year time period, the plan also includes mission and vision statements, and a set of core values.

Mission Statement

The mission of the APA is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.

Vision Statement

The American Psychological Association aspires to excel as a valuable, effective and influential organization advancing psychology as a science, serving as:

  • A uniting force for the discipline

  • The major catalyst for the stimulation, growth and dissemination of psychological science and practice

  • The primary resource for all psychologists

  • The premier innovator in the education, development and training of psychological scientists, practitioners and educators

  • The leading advocate for psychological knowledge and practice informing policymakers and the public to improve public policy and daily living

  • A principal leader and global partner promoting psychological knowledge and methods to facilitate the resolution of personal, societal and global challenges in diverse, multicultural and international contexts
  • An effective champion of the application of psychology to promote human rights, health, well-being and dignity 



Core Values

The American Psychological Association commits to its vision through a mission based upon the following core values.

  • Continual pursuit of excellence

  • Knowledge and its application based upon methods of science

  • Outstanding service to its members and to society

  • Social justice, diversity, and inclusion

  • Ethical action in all that we do 


Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Maximize organizational effectiveness

APA’s structures and systems support the organization’s strategic direction, growth and success.

  • Enhance APA programs, services and communications to increase member engagement and value.

  • Ensure the ongoing financial health of the organization.

  • Optimize APA’s governance structures and function.

  • Ensure that APA collects, maintains and manages accessible member and professional data to allow for evidence-based decision-making. (Added by Council of Representatives in 2015).

Goal 2: Expand psychology’s role in advancing health

Key stakeholders realize the unique benefits psychology provides to health and wellness and the discipline becomes more fully incorporated into health research and delivery systems.

  • Advocate for the inclusion of access to psychological services in health care reform policies.

  • Create innovative tools to allow psychologists to enhance their knowledge of health promotion, disease prevention and management of chronic disease.

  • Educate other health professionals and the public about psychology's role in health.

  • Advocate for funding and policies that support psychology's role in health.

  • Promote the application of psychological knowledge in diverse health care settings.

  • Promote psychology's role in decreasing health disparities.

  • Promote the application of psychological knowledge for improving overall health and wellness at the individual, organizational and community levels.

Goal 3: Increase recognition of psychology as a science

The APA’s central role in positioning psychology as the science of behavior leads to increased public awareness of the benefits psychology brings to daily living.

  • Enhance psychology’s prominence as a core STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) discipline.
  • Improve public understanding of the scientific basis for psychology.
  • Expand the translation of psychological science to evidence-based practice.
  • Promote the applications of psychological science to daily living.

  • Expand educational resources and opportunities in psychological science.  


Strategic Initiatives

1. Improve APA business models, member communications and the convention to increase member engagement.

2. Analyze the psychology workforce to meet national needs. 

3. Continue to develop and promulgate treatment guidelines to promote the translation of psychological science into health interventions. 

4. Continue to expand the APA public education campaign to include the entire discipline of psychology. 

5. Expand opportunities for graduate education and continued professional development for psychologists and psychology students in order to advance the discipline's participation in interdisciplinary health delivery and interdisciplinary science

6. Increase support for research, training, public education and interventions that address and reduce health disparities among underserved populations. 

7. Forge alliances with health-care organizations to increase the number of psychologists working in integrated health-care settings.