UVA Clinical Psychologists Selected for Leadership Roles, Participate in Patient Advocacy

March 21, 2019 by   |   Leave a Comment

Photo showing Scott Sperling, PsyD, and Heather Bruschwein, PsyD

Scott Sperling, PsyD, and Heather Bruschwein, PsyD

Scott and Heather with Senator Tim Kaine (center) and other APA representatives

Scott Sperling, PsyD, and Heather Bruschwein, PsyD, represented UVA last week at the American Psychological Association‘s Practice Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. Scott attended as a Practice Representative. The Committee on Early Career Psychologists selected Scott from a pool of national applicants for the position. Likewise, Heather was selected from a competitive applicant pool to attend the conference as an APA Early Career Psychologist Delegate and representative of the state of Virginia.

Scott serves as Assistant Professor of Neurology and Heather as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at UVA School of Medicine. Scott is a graduate of the Junior Faculty Development Program, and Heather is a current participant.

We talked with Scott and Heather about their work with the APA. Read on for more details!

Q: Scott, what are your responsibilities as the Practice Representative for the APA Committee on Early Career Psychologists?

Scott: In this role I serve as the national representative for all early career psychologists on issues related to clinical practice. This includes:
• Advancing, promoting, and advocating for the professional interests of early career practicing psychologists in all settings
• Supporting early career entry and career development in a shifting marketplace
• Supporting the development of practice opportunities that enhance the overall health care delivery system
• Recommending initiatives and programs within APA that support the needs of early career psychologists in practice settings
• Educating early career members on issues that impact all practicing psychologists
• Ensuring that early career practitioner’s interests are being represented throughout all of APA’s governance
• Establishing working relationships with all practice related divisions within APA
• Maintaining a working relationship with the APA Practice Organization (APAPO)
• Serving as the liaison to the Committee on the Advancement for Professional Practice (CAPP)
• Attending and actively participating in the APA Practice Organization’s annual State Leadership Conference

Q: Heather, what was your role as an APA Early Career Psychologist Delegate?

Heather: Delegates attended a pre-conference session and several events throughout the conference focused on early career issues, the role of early career psychologists in state/national associations, advocacy, and networking. We then gave feedback to conference planners.

Q: Scott, what kind of advocacy activities did you participate in as part of your role?

Scott: I communicate the concerns of all early career psychologists within our committee, and through our committee to the APA Board of Directors. I also partake in state and national advocacy efforts related to clinical practice. For example, as part of the Practice Leadership Conference last week I was lobbying our Virginia senators and congressmen and women in Washington, D.C., to sponsor and support legislation related to the expansion of Medicare’s telehealth coverage, the protection of the Affordable Care Act, and other bills that would improve access to psychological services across Virginia and the country, particularly in traditionally rural and underserved communities.

Q: Heather, you also participated in advocacy during the Practice Leadership Conference. Can you tell us more about that?

Heather: We were briefed on mental health issues and then participated in formal meetings with members of Congress, senators, and/or their aides in order to advocate for mental health issues, including increasing patient access to care. During these meetings we provided written information about the issues, as well. I also participated in several more informal conversations with the aides about these issues, and we will follow up with the offices of the congresspersons and senators in several weeks regarding the issues we discussed and our request for their support. As you can see from our photos, we were able to meet with U.S. Senator Tim Kaine. We also met with Congressman Denver Rigglemanand several others.

Thank you to Scott and Heather for sharing about their experiences. Congratulations to both for being chosen from a highly competitive pool of their peers to serve as Practice Representative and Delegate!

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