Kevin Masters, PhD
All my life’s a circle, sunrise and sundown
The moon rolls through the nighttime
‘Till the daylight comes around
All my life’s a circle, and I can’t tell you why
Seasons spinning round again
The years keep rolling by
– “Circle” by Harry Chapin
The late Harry Chapin wrote some of the most powerful lyrics in popular music. Those of you who are ECPs or students and have never heard of Harry Chapin might do yourselves a favor and check out some of his music. (You may be familiar with “Cats in the Cradle,” his biggest commercial hit.) Harry did not consider “Circle” to be one of his best works. Nevertheless, I dare say we’ve all felt the sentiment in the lyrics above; even our Division’s students and ECPs have probably had a taste of it. And now I am writing my final President’s Column for The Health Psychologist and, like so many before me, I see that the year has just rolled on by. But wait! Not so fast. It is only May and there is still quite a bit more to be done and experienced within the D38 year.
You may recall that the theme of my presidency is “Inclusion and Engagement,” and the topical theme for the APA Convention is the metabolic syndrome, which I view as a rather inclusive disorder in that it touches on a great many areas of health psychology. In my first President’s article I discussed this theme and the topic in more detail. (For a refresher you can click on http://www.health-psych.org/PDF/Fall2013.pdf to view the Fall 2013 newsletter). I can say that it has been an exciting year in this regard. A number of membership and ECP meetings have been held in various cities around the U.S., and both Belinda Borelli and Travis Lovejoy deserve significant credit for their roles in facilitating these events. I believe Belinda even held one in the U.K.!
We also had a fabulous social hour at the Society of Behavioral Medicine meeting in Philadelphia in April. The turnout was terrific in spite of the fact that the room was essentially unmarked and so well hidden and hard to get to that I’m sure it has been used for International Monetary Fund meetings – given that they want privacy (maybe even Brad and Angelina will be married there!). Nevertheless, a number of D38 members and others interested in the Division attended. Many were from outside the U.S. and had an interest in knowing more about the division, others were on the division periphery but desired to get more involved, students attended and socialized with D38 fellows, and the food and drink were EXCELLENT! What a great evening. I was so proud of the Membership Committee, Barbara Keeton, and all of our Division members for making the night an inclusive and engaging success.
Now we look forward to the APA Convention (August 7 – 10) in Washington, DC. The lineup for this year’s convention is amazing. Rick LaCaille, 2014 Program Chair, has done a remarkable job coordinating the convention program. We will have our first Distinguished International Invited Address presented by Dr. Jane Wardle of University College London, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. The title of Dr. Wardle’s presentation is “Putting Behavior into the Genetics of Obesity.” The rest of the invited presentations are equally impressive. Dr. Timothy Smith will present “Marriage and the Heart: An Interpersonal Perspective on Relationship Quality and Cardiovascular Risk”; Dr. James Blumenthal will discuss, “Polemics of Depression Assessment and Treatment in Coronary Heart Disease”; and Dr. Dawn Wilson will present her work entitled “Relevance and Impact of Behavioral and Social Sciences on Health Policy in the Next Decade.” And finally, some guy named Masters will give his Presidential Address, “Influencing Hearts and Minds: Religion and Cardiovascular Functioning.”
In addition to our fine roster of invited speakers, a number of high quality symposia will be presented and there will be many fabulous poster sessions. An innovation, at least for us, that we are incorporating this year is having Division members serve as hosts at the poster sessions. Posters will be thematically and spatially clustered in groups of five. The presenters for each poster will gather together around the first poster and the host will introduce the presenter and allow him/her about five minutes to present orally on his/her poster. Then the group will move to the next poster and so forth. This will take place at the beginning of each poster session and I strongly encourage you to join in the audience for these “progressive poster” presentations. Following the presentations, of course, you may then circle back and talk individually with each presenter. The complete D38 schedule for the APA Convention may be found in this newsletter. Please take a look and bring it with you. If APA is too big for you, here is your answer: Go to D38 events and you’ll have a convention that is just the right size! If APA is not too big for you take advantage of all the unique opportunities that APA provides – and then go to the D38 events.
I would be quite remiss if I did not comment on the amazing job that the members of the Executive Committee perform on a regular basis. During our mid-winter meeting I was, again, struck by the dedication of this group and the hard, but fun and engaging, work that they perform on behalf of the Division. Fortunately, the members of the committee do not always agree with one another and the resulting debate inevitably brings better ideas and solutions to the surface than would be the case if the group simply agreed with every position or statement. It is truly a fine assembly to be associated with. And, in this regard, I continue my theme from my last column of encouraging you to be included and engaged in Division leadership. I promise: the time you spend on behalf of the Division will be some of the best and most enjoyable use of your professional time; you will not regret it in the moment and will look back on it in years to come with fond memories and a profound sense of accomplishment. And the new and renewed relationships with colleagues will give you energy to invigorate the rest of your professional life. Remember what I said in my Presidential Greeting? It really is all about the energy — and you won’t find a better place for replenishment than working with the fine folks of D38.
My best to you all and please, say “hi” at APA.