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Advocate Spotlight: William Walton Stoops

Cite this
American Psychological Association. (2021, October 1). Advocate Spotlight: William Walton Stoops, PhD.

William Walton Stoops, PhD Name: William Walton Stoops, PhD
Home state: Kentucky
APA Division: Division 3 (Society for Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science), Division 6 (Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology), Division 25 (Behavior Analysis), Division 28 (Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse), Division 50 (Society of Addiction Psychology), Division 55 (Society for Prescribing Psychology)
SPTA Membership: Kentucky Psychological Association

How and why did you first become engaged?

I first became engaged in advocacy for psychology at an APA-sponsored Science Leadership Conference that was focused on advocacy and policy for substance use disorder research. It was a fantastic experience! APA took the time to teach us how to advocate with our federal representatives and made sure we were prepared with our specific asks when it came time for our Hill visits. Being able to feel confident in what I was doing and to advocate for something that was important for my field made those Hill visits a real pleasure. It also helped me build relationships with staff in my representative's offices, some of whom I'm still in touch with today.

What is something important you have learned about advocacy that has made you more effective?

It's critical to tie the advocacy “ask” to something that is relevant to your congressional representative's interests. For example, when it comes to research funding, talking about how the work our team does can improve the lives of Kentuckians and how the funding for our research helps create good jobs back in the commonwealth/district is always something our representatives and their staff want to know more about.

Can you give us a key tip in doing successful advocacy that others may not be aware of?

Think about ways to bring advocacy home. You don't always have to go to D.C. to connect with your congressional delegation. They have offices back in your state, so think about visiting them or their staff there. If you're at an academic institution doing research, think about inviting them to your lab (but be sure to tell your institution's government affairs office first).

What would you want APA members who are not engaged in advocacy to know?

APA advocates for the needs of all psychologists. Although we are a diverse organization with disparate advocacy/policy interests, the APA Advocacy Office has the resources and expertise to track and advance policy on behalf of psychology and psychologists in a way that no other professional organization can. By being an APA member, you're helping support that mission. Frankly, the advocacy APA does on our behalf is one of the best member benefits.