APA Advocacy Summit, Oct. 13-15, 2020

Strengthening federal support for psychology trainees during COVID-19

Thank you for participating in the American Psychological Association’s 2020 Advocacy Summit. This summit focuses on increasing affordability of graduate study and ensuring student loan forgiveness for frontline health care workers, researchers, and psychologists in public service. Over the course of three days we aim to provide you with the necessary skills and tools to be effective advocates for psychology. 

Please take the time to review the materials below.

Program Schedule and Speakers

All times are Eastern

Tuesday, Oct. 13

2-2:20 p.m.

Welcome and Introduction

Sandra L. Shullman, PhD
American Psychological Association

Arthur C. Evans, Jr., PhD
Chief Executive Officer
American Psychological Association

Cathi Grus, PhD
Chief Education Officer
American Psychological Association

Katherine B. McGuire, MS
Chief Advocacy Officer
American Psychological Association

2:20-2:30 p.m.

Review of Agenda and Materials

Karen Studwell, JD
Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer for Strategy and Operations
American Psychological Association

2:30-3:00 p.m.

Impact on Psychology Students and ECPs Panel Discussion

Melanie Wilcox, PhD
Board of Educational Affairs, Chair

Blanka Angyal, MA
American Psychological Association of Graduate Students, Chair

Ayli Carrero Pinedo, MA
Advocacy Coordinating Committee

3-3:15 p.m.


3:15-4:00 p.m.

Issue Briefing: Strengthening Federal Support for Psychology Trainees During COVID-19

Kenneth Polishchuk
Senior Director for Congressional and Federal Relations

4-5:00 p.m.

Advocacy 101: Communicating Effectively with Policymakers

Alix Ginsberg, MPH
Sr. Director for Congressional and Federal Relations

Scott Barstow, MS
Sr. Director for Congressional and Federal Relations

Craig Fisher, PsyD
Sr. Science Policy Officer

Brad Fitch
Congressional Management Foundation

Mary Fernandes, MS
American Psychological Association of Graduate Students, Chair-Elect

5-5:15 p.m.

Review of Soapbox Mobile Link and Schedules

Christopher Kush
Soapbox Consulting

Wednesday, Oct. 14
2-2:15 p.m.

Welcome and Overview

Kate Brown, PhD
Advocacy Coordinating Committee Chair

Jennifer Kelly, PhD, ABPP
American Psychological Association

2:15-2:45 p.m.

Digital Hill Meeting Planning by State Delegations

Karen Studwell, JD

2:45-3:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions, Round One

  • State Advocacy: Role of State Psychological Associations

  • Introduction to Psychology Political Action Committee

  • Developing Relationships with Members of Congress

3:15-3:30 p.m.


3:30-4:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions, Round Two

  • Perspective from Former Hill Staff: Live Session with APA Congressional Fellow and Staff

  • How to Advocate with Strategic Communications

  • Questions and Answers with Advocacy Leaders

4-4:30 p.m.

Digital Hill Meeting Practice

4:30-5:00 p.m.

Summary and Wrap Up

Advocacy Staff

Thursday, Oct. 15

Digital Hill Meetings

Refer to individual schedules from Soapbox


Blanka Angyal, MA, EdM, is a fifth-year doctoral student in Counseling Psychology at the University of Kentucky. As a student leader, she brings passion and a strong vision for the role of graduate students in shaping the future of psychology. She has engaged in multiple leadership roles with APAGS (campus representative, state advocacy coordinator, SC regional advocacy coordinator, liaison to the BEA) and Kentucky Psychological Association (student member of the ethics board, KPAGS representative).

Scott Barstow, MS, is a senior director of congressional and federal relations for the American Psychological Association, and has helped lead the organization’s advocacy work in addressing the drug overdose epidemic. Scott began working on federal mental health policy as a staff member for U.S. Representative Mike Kopetski (OR), spearheading the congressman’s efforts to establish the House Working Group on Mental Illness and Health Issues, and subsequently worked for the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association and the American Counseling Association.

Sharon Berry, PhD, ABPP, is a licensed and board-certified clinical psychologist who serves as the associate clinical director of Minneapolis Psychological Services and director of training for the nationally accredited doctoral clinical internship. She has been with Children's since 1996, following 10 years at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago (now Lurie Children's) as a Medical Psychologist. Berry completed her PhD at the Florida State University and internship at the Medical College of Georgia/VA Consortium. She is involved with the national education and training community, and serves on a number of national boards including the American Psychological Association Advocacy Coordinating Committee, chair of the Council of Clinical Health Psychology Training Programs, and past chair of the APA Board of Educational Affairs and Society of Pediatric Psychology. Berry is the pediatric psychology liaison to the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. Placing a high value on community service, she serves on the Board of Directors for CaringBridge.

Kathleen S. Brown, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in health and rehabilitation psychology. She is currently involved in consulting, teaching, and supervision in her independent practice, Health Psychology Associates. Brown received her PhD in clinical psychology from the APA-accredited Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in 1986 following her internship at the University of Alabama, Birmingham Medical Center.

Brown is formerly the director of training of the Clinical Heath Psychology Postdoctoral Program and chief, Integrative Pain Management Center at Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu. Brown is a clinical affiliate faculty member in the Clinical Studies Program, department of psychology, University of Hawaii at Manoa. A fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), Brown has held several leadership roles in APA. She is currently vice chair of the APA Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice and chair, Clinical and Consulting Committee, APA Leadership Institute of Women in Psychology. She has served on the APA Council of Representatives for the Division of Rehabilitation Psychology and the state of Hawaii. Brown has also been active in her state psychological association, the Hawaii Psychological Association, serving in each position on the Executive Committee with her presidential term from 1999-2001.

Brown's areas of clinical and research interest include pain management, mind-body and alternative medicine, interdisciplinary team development, and adjustment/coping responses to medical illness.

Ayli Carrero Pinedo is a doctoral student in counseling psychology at the University of North Dakota. She is a traditional doctoral-level Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) fellow with the American Psychological Association. For her dissertation, Ayli is seeking to understand the role of legal status as a social determinant of health in a sample of documented and undocumented Latinx immigrants. She credits support from the MFP for alleviating costs associated with her research. “MFP has shown me that people who share my identities can be successful. Also, it has pushed me to be more vocal about the importance of diversifying the healthcare workforce, the need for culturally competent mental health providers, and the role of substance abuse in health disparities. I have met senators and their legislative staff (in Washington, D.C.) to discuss these issues.” Ayli’s post-MFP career goals are to provide trauma-informed monolingual and bilingual behavioral health and psychotherapy services to Latinx people and other underserved individuals in rural areas.

Serena Dávila, JD, joined the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2015. She is a senior director of congressional and federal Relations at APA. She manages a portfolio on immigration, aging issues, and ethnic minorities. Her career has focused on broad policy work with a special interest in Hispanics. She has substantial experience representing both corporate clients and nonprofit organizations before Congress, federal agencies and the White House. She has worked for several nonprofits and previously worked for U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman and U.S. Senator Russ Feingold. Since joining the APA, she has helped to successfully increase congressional funding every year for the Minority Fellowship Program. While working at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), she successfully lobbied Congress to increase appropriations by $3 million and she also worked to create a new funding measure into law for Hispanic Serving Institutions. She was a speaker at numerous press events including press conferences at the National Press Club, the U.S. Capitol and for the University of Michigan's National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate. She also worked at Financial Executives International (FEI) where she started a diversity initiative to improve overall diversity for FEI as well as a Capitol Hill day for members.

Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, clinical and community psychologist and health care innovator, is CEO of the American Psychological Association, the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. With more than 121,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students as members, APA promotes and disseminates psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve lives – a mission consistent with Evans' life work. Evans holds a doctorate in clinical/community psychology from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in experimental psychology from Florida Atlantic University, where he also completed his undergraduate work. Before joining APA in March 2017, Evans spent 12 years as commissioner of Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. In that post, he led the transformation of that agency's approach to serving a wide range of individuals with complex needs. The transformation of the $1.5 billion Philadelphia system has relied heavily on public health strategies that contribute to better community health. He emphasized a data-driven, population health approach to improve outcomes for people and increased system efficiency. Over his tenure, the agency saved more than $110 million that the city reinvested in improving and expanding services and employing innovative strategies to reach more people. The work in Philadelphia has become a national and international model, with over 25 states and more than a dozen countries having either visited the city or invited Evans to speak about the Philadelphia model.

Mary Fernandes, MS, is a PhD student studying clinical neuropsychology at Georgia State University, and was recently elected to the office of the 2020 APAGS chair-elect. She is a new American who moved to Maryland from Mumbai, India, in 2008. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Maryland, where she received two Bachelor of Science degrees, one in psychology and the other in animal science. She began her graduate education at Georgia State University in 2016, where she is pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Neuropsychology. She currently studies the neurobiological underpinnings of anxiety, depression, and treatment outcomes for the same. She has a strong desire to impact policy changes in support of psychological research, practice, education, recipients of psychological services, and underrepresented populations.

Craig D. Fisher, PsyD, is a senior science policy officer at the American Psychological Association (APA) who advocates for psychological science priorities on Capitol Hill and at the federal science agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fisher also serves as director of APA's Executive Branch Science Fellowship program. Prior to APA he was a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the NSF Office of Legislative and Public Affairs. Before shifting his career to public policy, Fisher worked as a licensed clinical psychologist in independent private practice and at George Mason University's counseling and psychological services.

Bradford Fitch is president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation. He has spent 25 years in Washington as a journalist, congressional aide, consultant, college instructor, Internet entrepreneur, and writer/researcher. Fitch began his career as a radio and television reporter in the 1980s. He began working on Capitol Hill in 1988 where he served for 13 years. He worked in a variety of positions for four members of Congress, including: press secretary, campaign manager, legislative director, and chief of staff.

Sophie Friedl, MPH, is the director of Congressional and Federal Affairs, Military and Veterans Health Policy at the American Psychological Association. Her portfolio includes issues relating to service members, veterans, and their families as well as the mental health needs of women and girls. Prior to joining APA, Sophie was a professional staff member on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs where she worked on veteran mental health and suicide prevention, women veterans issues, homelessness, VA research, and several other portfolio areas. Sophie worked on several pieces of important veterans legislation, including S. 785, the John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act. Sophie received a master’s in International Public Health from University College Dublin in Ireland, during which time she was able to live and work in both Malaysia and Nepal. She received a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Inequality and Social Justice from the University of Montana, Missoula.

Alexandra "Alix" Ginsberg, MPH, is a senior director of congressional and federal relations for the American Psychological Association. Since joining the organization in 2012, Ginsberg has supported APA’s key training priorities on Capitol Hill, including increasing federal support for the psychology workforce to expand access to high-quality mental and behavioral health services in at-risk communities. Ginsberg received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and master’s in public health from the George Washington University’s Milken Institute of Public Health.

Catherine L. Grus, PhD, is the chief education officer at the American Psychological Association and has been on the staff of the APA since 2005. She was named deputy executive director, education in 2010. In her role as chief education officer, she leads the association’s efforts to promote psychology in education and education in psychology.

Grus has played a lead role in the association’s efforts related to advancing interprofessional education for psychology students, primary care psychology practice, development of models and tools for competency assessment, and supervision. She serves as APA’s representative to the National Academy of Medicine’s Global Forum on Innovations in Health Professions Education, the Interprofessional Professionalism Collaborative and the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions. Before coming to APA, Grus was an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Miami School of Medicine where she served as the director of an APA-accredited internship program.

Grus is the recipient of many awards, including the Paul Nelson Award, the Friend of the Association of Directors of Psychology Training Clinics and the Nova University Distinguished Alumni Achievement award. In 2016 she was inducted into the National Academies of Practice as a distinguished scholar and fellow.

Chuck Hollister, PhD, is a licensed psychologist in private practice and CEO of the Missouri Psychological Association and currently serves as a member of the APA Advocacy Coordinating Committee. Hollister is a past board member of the Council of Executives of State and Provincial Psychological Associations (CESPPA) board member and was named Div. 31’s outstanding staff member of a SPTA in 2018. He is a past Karl F. Heiser presidential award winner. He was a central figure in helping the Missouri Psychological Association be named Div. 31’s outstanding SPTA for 2019. He has been involved in the passage of numerous bills in Missouri, including the use of health and behavior codes under Medicaid, PSYPACT, and the restructuring of Missouri’s post-doctoral licensing requirements based on a recommended APA model.

Jennifer Kelly, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and is board certified in clinical health psychology. She has been the director of the Atlanta Center for Behavioral Medicine since 1994. She addresses a variety of mental health concerns in her practice, with expertise in treating disorders that involve the relationship between physical and emotional conditions.

A native of Gulfport, Mississippi, Kelly attended undergraduate school at the University of Southern Mississippi, majoring in psychology. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from Florida State University in 1987. She currently serves as recording secretary of the American Psychological Association. A past president of the Georgia Psychological Association, she has served as the federal advocacy coordinator of the association for 16 years. She is a past chair of the Board of Professional Affairs with APA, and a past president of Div. 31. Kelly is a graduate of the 2003 class of Leadership Atlanta. Kelly is the 2012 recipient of the APA Division of Health Psychology/American Psychological Foundation Timothy B. Jeffrey Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Health Psychology. For her advocacy work on behalf of psychology, in 2011 Kelly was the recipient of APA's State Leadership Award. In 2011 she was also presented with the Diversity Award from the Committee of State Leaders of APA.

Nanci C. Klein, PhD, is well known in the Salt Lake City, Utah. community as a clinician, educator, and advocate. She has worked in the mental health field since 1973, receiving her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Utah in 1985. Klein has served as the director of professional affairs for the Utah Psychological Association for over sixteen years. In this capacity she has managed psychology’s agenda at the Utah state legislature. She has overseen the passage of legislation providing for psychologist licensing at the awarding of the doctoral degree, passage of a mental health parity law, deterred efforts to subsume psychology licensing under a mental health therapist omnibus licensing act, accomplished passage of a bill giving postdoctoral psychology residents formal status as credentialed professionals, and passage of legislation regulating remote supervision and the practice of remote therapy. She served as president of APA Div. 31 in 2010. Klein has also served as vice-chair of the APA Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP), completing her term in 2007. In addition, Klein served on the Board of Trustees of Psychology’s former national PAC, the Association for the Advancement of Psychology (AAP) and served for fifteen years as editor of AAP’s newsletter, Advance.

Christopher Kush, as CEO of Soapbox Consulting, has trained hundreds of thousands of citizens from all over the United States to effectively influence Congress, state, and local governments. He has helped design sophisticated key-contact networks, Lobby Days, and grassroots training programs for many national associations including the American Cancer Society, Human Rights Campaign, Easter Seals, Goodwill International, United Way Worldwide, and the American Wind Energy Association. Mr. Kush is the author of three books on grassroots organizing including Grassroots Games (ASAE, 2002) and, most recently, The One-Hour Activist (Wiley, 2004). He has appeared on National Public Radio, ABC and Fox-news affiliates, CSPAN's "Book TV," and in U.S. News & World Report, The Los Angeles Times, and on the Sirius Satellite Radio Network.

Katherine McGuire, MS, is the American Psychological Association’s first chief advocacy officer. With more than 25 years of senior-level policy experience in Congress, the executive branch and the private sector, McGuire was most recently assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Previously, Katherine served for five years as chief of staff to Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., advising on science and technology issues. Before that, she spent five years as vice president for government affairs at the Business Software Alliance, a trade group comprising the world’s leading software companies, including Apple and Microsoft.

She served almost 18 years in the U.S. Senate where she held numerous senior leadership roles, including Republican staff director of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She also previously served as staff director for two subcommittees of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and as legislative director for Sen. Mike Enzi, R-WY.

Katherine McGuire holds a BS and an MS from the University of Wyoming. She also received a certificate in executive leadership from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Kim I. Mills is senior director of strategic external communications and public affairs for the American Psychological Association, with responsibility for APA’s public messaging and media relations. Mills led the association’s foray into social media, establishing highly successful sites on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, among others. She envisioned and launched APA’s award-winning podcast “Speaking of Psychology,” which she now hosts. Mills has extensive media experience, including being interviewed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and other top-tier print media. She has appeared on CNN, “Good Morning America,” CSPAN and the BBC, to name a few of her broadcast engagements. Earlier in her career, Mills spent 14 years as a reporter and editor for The Associated Press, based first in New York and later in Washington. She has also written for The Washington Post, Fast Company, the American Journalism Review, The Dallas Morning News, MSNBC.com and the Harvard Business Review, among other publications.

Kenneth Polishchuk, MA, MPP, is the senior director for congressional and federal relations in the American Psychological Association’s advocacy office. Part of his work focuses on student financial assistance, student loans and repayment, and student loan forgiveness programs. He leads APA’s advocacy efforts aimed at increasing affordability and accessibility of doctoral psychology education, particularly as it pertains to federal student financial aid, borrowing, and repayment options available to graduate students. Prior to joining APA, he spent five years in government affairs at the Council of Graduate Schools.

Antonio Puente, PhD, born in La Habana, Cuba, received his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Florida and his graduate degrees from the University of Georgia. He is currently professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and maintains a private practice limited to clinical neuropsychology (ranging from clinical in and outpatient services to forensic assessments). He is the founder and co-director of a bilingual mental health clinic for the poor and uninsured (Cape Fear Clinic).  Puente is past-president of the Hispanic Neuropsychological Society, the National Academy of Neuropsychology, North Carolina Psychological Association, North Carolina Psychological Foundation, and Division of Clinical Neuropsychology of the American Psychological Association (APA) as well as served two terms as a Council of Representatives of APA for the division. He has chaired the Psychology Academy of the National Academies of Practice and several APA boards and committees ranging from the Board of Convention Affairs to the Committee for Psychological Tests and Assessments as well as served on others including the Policy and Planning Board. He currently serves on the Joint Committee for Standards for Educational and Psychological Tests. Puente was APA's representative to the American Medical Association's Current Procedural Terminology panel from 1993 to 2008 when he was elected to the editorial panel of the CPT (voting member). He also served on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid's Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee. Puente was a Fulbright Scholar in 1983 (Argentina) and received the APA's Distinguished Professional Contributions to Independent Practice in 2011.

Angela Sharpe, MG, is a senior director, congressional and federal relations in scientific affairs advocacy, since November 2019, where she advocates for psychological and behavioral science before Congress and federal agencies on behalf of the American Psychological Association (APA). She joined APA in 2018 to serve as the legislative and federal affairs associate in the government relations office, where she represented APA’s education directorate and its constituents. She advocated for psychology education and training and the influence of psychology on federal education policy (K-12 and higher education). Before coming to APA, Angela briefly worked for the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS).

Angela spent more than two decades at the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA), including serving as its deputy director. At COSSA, she lobbied members of Congress and their staff on health and behavior research and represented COSSA to the executive branch agencies, particularly the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She co-chaired two COSSA-led coalitions (Coalition to Promote Research and the Friends of Behavior and Social Sciences Research), led the Collaborative for Enhancing Diversity in Science, and served on the ad hoc Group for Medical Research’s steering committee.

She spent seven years on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant to former Rep. Carrie P. Meek, D-FL, and the late Rep. R. Lawrence Coughlin (R-PA). Before working on Capitol Hill, Angela worked for the Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS/BPH). She earned her master's in government from The Johns Hopkins University. Her BS in industrial relations and BS in psychology are from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sandra L. Shullman, PhD, managing partner, Columbus office, Executive Development Group, LLC, is internationally known in leadership and executive assessment and development and manages large and long-term organizational clients for the firm. Her work has focused on leadership and executive development, executive coaching, strategic planning, and multicultural and diversity initiatives, working with major global organizations and leaders. Shullman is co-author of "Performance Appraisal on the Line," a groundbreaking book on performance evaluation, and has written numerous articles and book chapters on significant organizational performance issues, including foundational work on harassment and hostile work environments. Shullman holds a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College, a master’s degree from Harvard University, and a PhD in counseling psychology from Ohio State University. Shullman has served on APA’s board of directors and previously as a member of the board of directors of the American Psychological Foundation. She chaired APA’s workgroup on executive coaching and is a past chair of the APA Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology. She also serves as a faculty member for a number of leadership development academies, preparing technical and scientific professionals for broader leadership roles. In 2012, she received the APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Practice for her organizational and leadership development work.

Shullman chaired APA’s Good Governance Project, a strategic initiative designed to help the association align its governance structure with its strategic plan. In 2016, she received the Leona Tyler Award for Lifetime of Achievement in Counseling Psychology and the Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in the Practice of Psychology from the American Psychological Foundation, its highest honor. She is a past president of the Ohio Psychological Association.

Abigail Siebert, PhD, received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Rhode Island, and completed internship at the Judge Baker Children’s Center and Boston Children’s Hospital. Her graduate research examined family characteristics of children with learning disorders. Abbie’s clinical practice has focused on multidisciplinary family-based care for weight and health management, as well as family and cognitive-behavioral interventions with children who have neurodevelopmental/behavioral challenges and anxiety conditions. She has practiced in a variety of clinical settings, including hospitals, primary care, schools, and private practice. Abbie holds an appointment to Boston Children’s Hospital, and recently held appointments to Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization. Abbie was a director and president of the Massachusetts Psychological Association from 2011-2017. She was elected to her local school board from 2003-2015 and participates in numerous community activities. Abbie is the 2019-2020 Jacquelin Goldman Congressional Fellow, a position funded by the American Psychological Foundation.

Erin C. Standen, BS, is a graduate student at the University of Minnesota. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychobiology from the University of California at Los Angeles in 2016. Her primary research interests are related to eating behavior and weight stigma. Specifically, she is interested in ways that our beliefs about food and beliefs about weight influence our food choices, as well as ways that experiencing weight stigma complicates these decisions. She is also very interested in the physiological effects of experiencing weight-based discrimination, such as elevated cortisol levels and inflammation. Currently, she is working on projects related to stress eating, weight controllability, calorie tracking, and reducing weight bias. She currently serves as the chair and health psychology representative for APA's Science Student Council. They advocate for the needs of psychology graduate students seeking academic careers as well as for federal funding for psychology research on Capitol Hill.

Karen Studwell, JD, is the deputy chief advocacy officer for strategy and operations at the American Psychological Association. She designs and leads designated advocacy campaigns to increase the impact of APA’s advocacy to advance the discipline and practice of psychology and increase the application of psychological science across both the public and private sector. She leads APA’s advocacy efforts to expand federal funding for graduate psychology education and training programs and inform elementary, secondary and higher education policy. Karen previously worked in the APA Science Directorate Government Relations Office advocating for psychological research funding at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. Karen received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ohio University and her law degree from Seattle University.

Ben Vonachen, MA, is a senior director, congressional and federal relations at the American Psychological Association (APA). He is charged with managing the gun violence prevention, policing, and disabilities public policy portfolios for the association. He has been with APA since 2010. Previously, he served as a Legislative Assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives for Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-CO. He holds a master’s in political science from the University of Colorado– Denver and a bachelor’s in digital media studies/communications from the University of Denver.

Melanie Wilcox, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Augusta University, and an affiliated researcher with their Institute of Public and Preventive Health. She is also a licensed psychologist in Georgia and Louisiana. Her primary areas of research are multicultural psychotherapy (multicultural Orientation, multicultural competencies, multicultural training), whiteness, antiracism, social justice, and professional issues in psychology. She teaches a wide range of courses, and most enjoys teaching multicultural counseling, clinical supervision, group counseling, research methods, psychological assessment, and practica. She speaks and serves as a consultant regarding such topics as addiction, psychological assessment, and multicultural issues. She is active with the American Psychological Association and Div. 17 of the APA, the Society of Counseling Psychology.

Advocacy 101

Federal Advocacy for Psychology: The Basics

This course prepares participants to advocate effectively for psychology on federal policies affecting the profession and discipline of psychology, and the importance of becoming an advocate.