Andrea Bradford, PhD
Circumstances over the past couple of years have conspired against my sincere efforts to attend Division 38 board meetings. That is, until last month, when I finally had the pleasure of traveling to Atlanta to meet and interact with this group of committed, thoughtful professionals who are helping lead Division 38 in a positive direction. The meeting dovetailed with the kickoff of the Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers (APAHC) conference, which is truly one of my favorite professional meetings.
One of the best things about attending health psychology meetings is the sense of community generated among colleagues who “get it.” Although we hold diverse sets of opinions and priorities, we share a common bond as professionals who work at the interface of psychology and health sciences. In this space, we can roll up our sleeves and have substantive conversations about the ideas and obstacles we face, without having to justify our field’s very existence. But indeed, justifying our existence is a challenge and an ever-present reality in a world that increasingly demands accountability, interprofessional dialog, and the exhortation to “do more with less.”
Though talking amongst ourselves will always serve a vital purpose, one our greatest challenges is to also develop an accurate, compelling image of health psychology for the public and for other groups of health professionals who may have little or no awareness of our field. To that end, I am excited by the efforts of the Division 38 Branding Task Force and the recently agreed-upon move toward a new name for our society. In the same spirit, our publications (including our newsletter) are not only vehicles for communications between members, but also represent many opportunities to show who we are and what we do to the world beyond health psychology.
This issue of The Health Psychologist continues with the new features introduced over the past year – the Mentoring Spotlight and the health policy series – as well as one other new type of article for which I’d really like your feedback. As a bit of an experiment, our Research in Progress series is an opportunity for members to describe their research programs and studies that are not quite ready for prime time (ie, a peer reviewed journal) but may be of interest to a wider audience. In the era of open access and post-publication review, is there a place for “pre-peer review” presentations in a forum such as this? You tell me – send your comments to email@example.com for publication in a forthcoming issue.
Wishing you a joyful and productive spring,