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Gratitude and Greetings: AAPA EC Transitions

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On September 1st, several members of the 2013-2015 AAPA Executive Committee will be passing the torches to their successors. AAPA thanks Jocelyn Buhain and Nellie Tran for their service on the Board of Directors and to Kelly Liao as Finance Officer.

Joceyln Buhain, Ph.D.

Nellie Tran, Ph.D.

Kelly Liao, Ph.D.

Joining the Board of Directors for 2015-2017 will be Glenn Matsuda and Ulash Dunlap, and Razia Kosa will serve as Finance Officer.

Razia Kosi, LCSW-C

Razia Kosi, LCSW-C

Ulash Dunlap, LMFT

Ulash Dunlap, LMFT

Glenn Matsuda, Ph.D.

Please join in special thanks to 2013-2015 President Sumie Okazaki Sumie Okazakifor her leadership and vision for AAPA to “give Asian American Psychology away.” In this year’s Annual Report, Sumie summarizes how AAPA fulfilled her presidential goal to play a larger role in public and professional dialogue about the psychological experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. In the report, you can also learn more about the rest of the accomplishments of AAPA and its leadership this past year.

KevinNadal2015Last, but not least, please join in welcoming Kevin Nadal as AAPA’s 20th President! Kevin is no stranger to leadership within AAPA, having served previously as AAPA Vice-President and organizing the establishment of the Division on Filipino Americans and the Division on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning. Check out his Presidential Message on our website, detailing his threefold mission to:

  • Make AAPA known as the Leader in Asian American Mental Health,
  • Mentor and Recruit the Next Generation of Asian American Psychologists, and
  • Represent the Diversity of our Community

AAPA expresses deep gratitude to our outgoing officers for their service to the organization, their thoughtful discussion, and hard work. The incoming leadership will certainly build upon the accomplishments of your respective terms. We look forward with a renewed commitment to our mission to enrich and serve our community!

Opportunities to discuss the APA Independent Review Report and related issues of Ethics for Psychologists

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Dear AAPA members,

We (the AAPA EC) want to inform you about opportunities to participate in in ongoing dialogues about ethical issues in psychology and the independent review of APA, opportunities both with AAPA and through other venues.  For AAPA, we invite you to attend the Town Hall meeting with representatives of the AAPA EC at the AAPA convention (7:30  to 8:30 am in Northrop Frye Hall).  Other venues for dialogue and commentary to APA and beyond include:

  • the APA/CoR will hold a Town Hall Meeting on the independent Review Report at the APA convention on Saturday, August 8, 3 to 4:30 pm in Convention Centre/Constitution Hall 106 North Building-Level 100
  • APA has an open comments area on their website: http://apa.org/independent-review/index.aspx
  • AAPA Vice President Helen Hsu will be co-presenting a session at the APA convention titled Ethnic Minority Psychological Associations Critique APA Ethics Code-Integrating Culture and Ethics on Saturday, August 8, 2pm-3:50pm. This is a further opportunity for feedback and better understanding the relations of AAPA and the APA ethics office in recent years.
  • Psychologists for Social Responsibility and co-sponsors will be conducting a Town Hall Meeting for discussing the recently-released Hoffman Report 4pm to 8pm Thursday August 6, 2015 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 73 Simcoe St, 8 minutes walk from where the APA annual convention is being held

Asian American Psychological Association Response to the American Psychological Association’s Report of the Independent Review Relating to Ethics Guidelines, National Security Interrogations, and Torture

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July 31, 2015

The Executive Committee of the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA), on behalf of the AAPA, wishes to express our sadness and dismay upon reviewing the American Psychological Association (APA)’s Report of the Independent Review Relating to Ethics Guidelines, National Security Interrogations, and Torture.

This is not the first time in the history of our nation or of our profession that foundational understandings and guidelines for legal, ethical, or moral behavior have been ignored or overturned. The current situation raises echoes for us of a dark chapter in American history during World War II when – under the guise of a national security threat – over 110,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens, were imprisoned in concentration camps and denied their rights, essentially setting aside the United States Constitution. We are heartened that, unlike the experience of Japanese Americans, it did not take four decades to investigate the events and begin the process of prioritizing ethical and just processes and practices.

Although AAPA is a separate organization from APA, we recognize that the actions of APA, as the largest professional organization of psychologists, reflect on the public’s perception of psychology and psychologists more generally. Consequently AAPA, as an independent organization of psychologists, would like to voice our stance on ethical issues even as we recognize that it is up to APA and its governance to address the specific findings and shortcomings.

The AAPA condemns torture or abuse of any person, for any reason, including interrogation. As psychologists our goal is to heal, not to harm. Furthermore, we believe that ethical guidelines for psychologists should make clear the unacceptability of such practices and should be shaped by an ongoing dialogue within the profession about the meaning of “torture” and “abuse.”

As an association founded to address inequities within the field of psychology, we are disturbed by findings described in the report that suggest that the APA’s governing processes, policies, ethical guidelines, reports, and public statements were used to support or justify the development or application of oppressive or harmful practices. We are also disturbed by findings that the development of these processes and policies was influenced strongly by external bodies (e.g., the Department of Defense) and political agendas. The report further indicates that much of this influence was clandestine. Furthermore, we are deeply concerned by descriptions in the report that suggested that APA generally, and the Ethics Office specifically, prioritized advancing the economic and standing interests of the discipline and member psychologists, rather than the well being of the people and communities whom psychologists serve.

As a psychological association dedicated to addressing inequities and promoting health for all people, but particularly those historically marginalized, we assert that psychologists and psychological associations have the responsibility to prioritize beneficence to others above personal or professional advancement. Furthermore, we assert that ethical guidelines for psychologists generally, and in any specific association, should be guided by the standards of the field as developed by those with expertise in the field, through public and transparent dialogues and processes.

The findings of the Independent Review indicate that the APA moved alarmingly away from its mission to “advance the creation, communication, and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives” and its vision to be “an effective champion of the application of psychology to promote human rights, health, well being and dignity.”

We call on APA to acknowledge past errors, and engage in revising guidelines, policies, processes, and organizational culture to more fully and deliberately embrace the values and priorities above. We urge APA to develop a process that is open and transparent in order to create purposeful and sustainable change to psychology’s engagement with ethics in general and in specific relation to military involvement and torture. Furthermore, we urge the APA to shape a process that includes the multiple perspectives and diverse professional expertise of all psychologists. All psychologists, regardless of APA membership, have a stake in a common goal of individual and societal health.

Finally, we call on AAPA members and all psychologists to actively participate in rebuilding public trust in us and in our profession. There should be no doubt that our research and practice of psychology advance and promote individual, social, and systemic understanding, psychological health, well being, and justice.

Download pdf of Statement here.

Convention Program now available!

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Make the most out of your time at Convention by checking out this year’s program [Download pdf of AAPA_2015 Convention Program]. In addition to noting this year’s outstanding talks and research presentations, learn more about the numerous opportunities to network and connect with fellow AAPA members (Early Bird Reception and Breakfast, Lunchtime Discussions, etc). See you in Toronto!

Message to AAPA Members about the Hoffman Report

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Dear AAPA Members and Friends:

As you most likely know, the report commissioned by APA’s Board of Directors to examine the association’s conduct in regard to the Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS) Task Force and the association’s relations with the Department of Defense and the CIA in relation to torture and interrogation techniques has been made public. The report document (also referred to as the Hoffman Report) and related materials are available at http://www.apa.org/independent-review.

Although AAPA is an organization independent of APA, we recognize that many of our members are also APA members and that actions of the APA (as the largest organization for our profession) have considerable impact on the public’s view of psychology.

We know that many of you have strong feelings about the past and present practices and policies of APA issues, as well as fears about the impacts on our profession of these practices and the findings of the investigation. This is a difficult moment for the APA and for the profession of psychology, and it will take considerable time for each of us, as psychologists, to understand and digest the implications for the profession, for our own professional activities, and for our own organizations. During this process and time, the Executive Committee of AAPA seeks to ensure that our members are well informed about these issues and the APA response that is still unfolding.

To that end, we offer the following current information and recommendations:

  • We encourage you to directly review the Hoffman report (the Executive Summary is 72 pages, at the beginning of the report) and the APA response. There are many perspectives on these issues, and popular media articles have their own slants on reporting.
  • We also encourage you to review the initial recommendations from the APA Board: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/07/independent-review-release.aspx
  • APA is working to develop active processes through which members, psychologists, and the public can comment and/or participate in discussions and recommendations. To that end:
    • APA has set up a public comment mechanism (at the bottom of the independent report page): http://www.apa.org/independent-review/index.aspx
    • APA/CoR will hold a Town Hall Meeting related to these issues at the APA Convention on Saturday, August 8 from 3-4:30pm.
    • APA CoR is working on on-line venues for people who cannot attend convention to discuss the report.

Given the complexity of these issues, there will be extensive discussions on the APA Council of Representatives and throughout APA as an organization, with careful consideration of how best to proceed to ensure that the resulting process, policy, and procedures are ethical and reflect the best values of the process. Therefore, as further events unfold, we will do our best to keep you well informed.

On behalf of the AAPA Executive Committee,

Sumie Okazaki
AAPA President

Karen L. Suyemoto
AAPA Observer to the APA Council of Representatives

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