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Text of Letter:
America: Psychological Association
December 13, 1994
Kenneth Adams, Ph.D.
Chief, Psychology Service (116B)
VA Medical Center
2215 Fuller Rd.
Ann Arbor MI 48105
I am writing this letter to all members of the Division 40 Executive Committee to bring to your attention four matters prior to our midwinter meeting. By the way, the midwinter meeting of the Division 40 Executive Committee will be in Seattle in connection with the INS meeting. Our Executive Committee session will be from 3-6 PM, Wednesday, February 8, at the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle, room to be announced. You will receive notice as to the place from Ann Marcotte, Secretary. Meanwhile, if you have items which you wish placed on the agenda, please be in touch with Arm and contact her with these no later than January 13, 1995.
APPOINTMENT OF EDITOR TO NEUROPSYCHOLOGY
As you are likely aware, Nelson Butter's health is not good, and he has asked to be relieved of his editorship of Neuropsvchology at the end of 1995. The Publications and Communications Board has therefore opened nominations for the editorship of this journal. Martha A. Storandt, Ph.D. has been appointed as chair of that committee. Committee members are Martha Farah, Sandra Koffler, Arthur Shimamura, Barbara C. Wilson, and myself. Dr. Storandt's invitation to me to join was most welcome, and it came after a long conversation with her. Such an invitation is apparently most unusual since divisions are not routinely invited to be involved in such P & C committees, even when the divisions are in areas directly related to the journals whose editors are to be selected. In my conversation with Dr. Storandt, I made every effort to replace the concerns of the past with a solid working relationship for the future.
You are invited to send your nominations for editorship of Neuropsvchologv directly to Martha A. Storandt, Ph.D., Psychology Department, Box 1125, Washington University, I Brookings Dr., St. Louis MO 63130. You should try to do this by early January (a previously published deadline of December 15 is not an absolute deadline). The first review of names will in fact be conducted in mid January.At this point, you need only to suggest names with addresses and phone numbers, and it is not required that you provide any type of supporting information. It would not hurt to indicate that you are from Division 40. The committee will then gather information from all persons who wish to be considered and will make recommendations to the P & C Board for their action next summer. The P & C Board is expected to make a decision about the editorship of Neuropsvchology at that time.
This item will appear on our midwinter meeting agenda, and I will be pleased to receive your thoughts at that time as a member of the P & C committee.
APA SCIENTIFIC AWARDS
Ann Marcotte and I have both received notification that APA is requesting nominations for APA Scientific Awards of three types as listed on the attachment to this letter. Larry Squire got one of these awards in 1993, and we need to consider other people who could be nominated from our Division. Please look at the nomination form and if you have nominations for any of theseawards, P lease write on phone Ann no later than January 6, 1995. We want to co-ordinate our ef orts through Arm. Ann's address and phone are: Ann C. Marcotte, Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, 111 Brewester Street, Pawtucket RI 02860; (401) 722-0198.
RELATIONSHIPS WITH NAN In early November, I attended the NAN meeting in Orlando on behalf of Division 40. At the kind invitation of Gordon Chelune, NAN President, I spent about one hour with the NAN Executive Board on November 2. During this time, I made a presentation in which I summarized some of the most recent activities of Division 40 in an effort to inform the NAN Executive Board of what we are currently doing. I emphasized some of our more innovative activities such as our Planning Committee work and passed around our Mission Statement and talked briefly about our areas of planning for future work. I then spoke about the current work of the Task Force on Training, Accreditation, and Credentialing, especially on modifications of the definition of a climcal neuropsychologist. Finally, I spoke directly on relationships between NAN and Division 40 and emphasized the many things we have in common in the practice of clinical neuropsychology. I also pointed to ways in which our two organizations complement each other and how working together could do the most for the profession. Finally, I shared how I intended to invite a NAN representative (probably Sandra Koffler who will be president in 1995) to our midwinter board meeting, and how I believed that we were setting a foundation for both relationships and common actions in the future.
I felt that my comments were very well received, and I certainly believe that everyone there was anxious to establish more formal and enduring relationships with Division 40.
While the NAN Executive Board clearly went out of its way to make me feel welcome, this did not prevent the conversation from turning to important issues of relevance to our two societies. The most pressing of these is the definition of a clinical neuropsychoiogisi. The NAN Executive Board feels pressed about establishing a firm definition that everyone can agree with, but Gordon Chelune urged that decisions not be made too quickly. A small NAN task force has been created which will be chaired by Sandra Koffler. This task force has been named to deal with the definitional issue and apparently also with other matters. This raised a potential conflict since our own task force is well down the road in working on the definition. It was evident that the inclusion of the section on board certification was the primary problem with the existing Division 40 definition even though they emphasized that NAN is not and does not want to be associated with any board.
I had a second meeting with the NAN group which included Gordon, Sandra,
and Erin Bigler. This was a more intimate meeting, and we were really able
to get down to brass tacks. The outstanding focus of concern with the definition
of a neuropsychologist. I thought that the work of our own task force needed
to be recognized, and they were happy to do this. It was also evident that
they are generally favorably predisposed to the Division 40 definition,
except for the section on board certification. While that one point will
require discussion, I was very pleased that they are ready to embrace most aspects of our current definition, that the in the NAN bulletin, and tK are not strictly adhering to the multilevel definition published at the fv feel no compulsion to have their task force go through the onerous task of devising a de i&ion. They are most anxious that both of our organizations be able to adopt exactly the same definition of a clinical neuropsychologist. I must say that this is a high priority in my mind as well.
At the end of the second meeting and since that time, a plan has been worked out with Bruce Crosson and with Sandra Koffler which hopefully will help meet everyone's needs. First, Sandra Koffler is to be a full member of our task force whereas previously her status has been closer to being an "observer' from NAN. She will get all information from the Task Force, share it with her own people, and share their concerns with our task force. The task force has been directed by myself to work as speedily as possible, and I in fact have asked them to draw their work to a close as best they can by our meeting at APA this August. To do this: they will certainly be busy, but I did feel that it is possible and that the press of the situation requires it. Our task force would then present to the Division 40 Executive Committee in August, 1995 the best definition it can. It is my hope that the Executive Committee will be able to approve the definition at that point with or without changes. I also hope that we will have been in touch with NAN closely enough throughout this whole process that the people there will also subscribe to it. Whether or not this will actually occur remains to be seen, but I believe it to be within the realm of possibility.
Under the present plan, I would envision that the work of our task force would come to an end in August, 1995 since the definitional issue would be done. The other functions of the Task force would be covered as directed by our long term plan after that date.
LETTER TO MEMBERSHIP
As you may well have guessed, I have received a substantial response to my letter to the membership concerning the definite of a clinical neuropsychologist. At the moment, in fact, I have received 30-35 letters. As you might expect because this was not an unbiased survey, only about three of these were clearly positive about the existing definition. Whereas we need to take these letters seriously, we must also remember this source of bias. My impression is that many of the people writing these letters were not even aware of the contents of the current definition. It was often thought to be a "proposed” definition or even my definition!
Without a doubt, the most common concern expressed in rhe 30-35 letters pertains to people who were trained before formal didactic programs in neuropsychology were available. This issue will certainly have to be dealt with. Thus far, matters pertaining to board certification are important but of secondary concern. At the NAN meeting, I spent time with members of the ABPN board and I also attended a workshop of theirs. Having already been familiar with ABCN, it is clear to me that both boards are interested in certifying above average and in fact high level neuropsychologists, not just average, run-of-the- mill neuropsychologists who are most respects. Also, it seems likely that both boards taken together will never certify more than a fraction of the neuropsychologists in practice, but it appears to me that our definition must have broader applicability. For these and other reasons, keeping the reference to board certification in the definition requires close scrutiny.
I would not be surpised if I have another 10-30 letters in hand after receiving reactions to my column in the December newsletter. When the flow appears to have stopped, I intend to make copies for every member of the task force and also for anyone on the Executive
Committee who requests them. If you want a copy, let me know. I am asking Bruce Crosson to give us an interim report on the work of the task force at our midwinter meeting.
I am sorry to write such a long letter to you, but I really did believe that you needed to be aware of these important matters. Please feel free to be in touch with me about any of these, and I will look forward to seeing you at the midwinter meeting.
Carl B. Dodrill, Ph.D.
Division 40 President
Regional Epilepsy Center (ZA-50)
Harborview Medical Center
Seattle WA 98104
Phone (206) 223-3557
Fax (206) 223-4409
(End of letter text)