Andrea Bradford, PhD
I was amused to find out that the Society for Health Psychology and I share a birth year. It’s nice to know that long before I even knew what a health psychologist was, Division 38 was always there – I just had to find my way! With this being my final editor’s column, I’d like to share a little about what SfHP has meant to me.
The gratitude I feel toward SfHP runs deep. When I took my first faculty job after fellowship, I found myself a bit isolated and in need of a new kind of professional home. I took pride (and still do) in belonging to more niche-focused multidisciplinary organizations, but when faced with the realities of being the only psychologist in a subspecialty medical department, I craved a connection to others who “got it.” I joined SfHP, and soon thereafter Zeeshan Butt, then-chair of the Early Career Professionals Council, warmly welcomed me to the fold with not just an email, but a phone call. Imagine that (though now many SfHP ECPs don’t have to!) – a genuine, one-on-one interaction! That phone call made such a difference. When I later volunteered my time to advance ECP-related initiatives in the division, Zee gave me a mission. Within a few months, I was writing the new Early Career Professionals Corner column for The Health Psychologist. This organization has a place for me, I concluded, and for just about anyone who wants to help build and sustain a home for health psychologists.
I’m thankful that opportunities to contribute to SfHP have continued to come my way, especially the opportunity to edit The Health Psychologist over the past 3 years. I’m grateful to my editorial predecessor Lisa Frantsve, who extended her advice, mentorship, and kindness, to SfHP Past President Annette Stanton, who supported my nomination for newsletter editor, and to the ECP Council including Zee and current chair Travis Lovejoy for being the unflagging champions for ECPs in the Society. I owe a debt of thanks to all those who contributed original content to the newsletter, but especially to the regular contributors who responded to every deadline: Vaneeta Sandhu, Graduate Student Council chairs Stephanie Hooker, Megan Grigsby, and Lisa Auster-Gussman, and Past and current SfHP Presidents Kevin Masters, Kim Dixon, and Alex Rothman. And, as for so much of what happens in SfHP, Barbara Keeton has worked with me behind the scenes to assist, mentor, nudge, and facilitate the production of the newsletter each step of the way.
Finally, I’m delighted to hand over the editorship of the newsletter to Adrienne Williams, who coincidentally served as Chair of the SfHP Anniversary Task Force this past year. Adrienne and I have talked about her ideas for making the newsletter the go-to source of news and information for SfHP. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for the next issue this fall!
The vitality of SfHP today is a testament to the dedication of its many members, whose efforts go back even longer than 38 years (for a little SfHP and pre-division history lesson, look no further than here). But if 38 is the new 20 (or something like that), then SfHP is just getting started! In closing, I would like to reiterate, especially to ECPs, that SfHP is a wonderful and welcoming professional home. Rarely have I seen a professional society open its arms and doors so wide to members who are in the early phases of their careers. Thank you for the warm welcome so far. I hope to see you in Denver this summer – and many more times to come.