Early Career Professionals Corner: Support, Collaboration, and Impact: The Early Career Professionals Council Looks Forward

Elizabeth K. Seng, PhD

Elizabeth K. Seng, PhD

Elizabeth K. Seng, PhD
Yeshiva University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Early Career Professionals (ECPs) have been hard at work making significant contributions to the Society for Health Psychology. ECPs are providing valuable contributions on every committee and taskforce within the Society for Health Psychology, representation which is vital to the ongoing health of the organization. ECPs provide a perspective from members in the thick of early career transitions and inject the organization with energy and enthusiasm. Further, ECPs have been at the forefront of the movement to foster local communities within the Society for Health Psychology. In my new role as Chair of the Early Career Professionals Council, I look forward to continuing to support the ongoing roles ECPs play in the Society for Health Psychology.

Society for Health Psychology President Dr. Dawn Wilson has put forth an ambitious agenda to increase the visibility and impact of behavioral science on both healthcare and health policy. ECPs are working in the trenches of healthcare and health research, and have valuable firsthand experience about how policy impacts patient care. Further, ECPs have a vested interest in increasing public awareness of the benefits of health psychology, and promoting health policy informed by high quality behavioral science. A large portion of our careers lie ahead of us. The scope of our impact is, in part, determined by the policies that shape our science and practice. I look forward to mobilizing ECPs to contribute to regional and national conversations about behavioral science and health.

The early career is a critical developmental stage that can determine the trajectory of the rest of an individual’s career. Society for Health Psychology offers several initiatives to support ECPs in their career development and provide a professional home for ECPs in health psychology. The Congratulate Your Graduate program welcomes health psychologists who have recently graduated into the society. The Health Psychology Connections program offers a brief mentorship model to match individuals with clinical, research, or professional development questions to members with expertise in the area. The Early Career Professionals Council has also produced numerous resources including this column, podcasts and conference calls, which provide an important space for discussion of issues particularly pertinent to ECPs. The Early Career Professionals Council looks forward to continuing to produce content to remotely support the professional development of ECPs in the Society for Health Psychology.

Health psychology hinges on collaboration. ECPs have an intimate knowledge of this truth. We serve on interdisciplinary clinical and research teams. We are often members of multiple organizations focused on intersecting areas of psychology, medicine, and a particular disease state or behavior of interest. Some ECP members of the Society for Health Psychology are the only psychologists in their department, team, or professional organization. During my time on the Early Career Professionals Council, I hope to provide increased resources and support to ECPs who are relatively isolated from other psychologists in their professional environments. I also hope to foster ECP initiatives to promote health psychology within professional spaces where health psychology could be critically useful, but is currently underrepresented. In these ways, the Early Career Professionals Council of the Society for Health Psychology can support ECPs in this foundationally collaborative pursuit of furthering the science and clinical care of health psychology.