President’s Column

Nancy B. Ruddy, PhD
Nancy B. Ruddy, PhD

Nancy Ruddy, PhD

As my tenure winds down, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on what I learned in my year as the President of the Society for Health Psychology. A brief summary:

  1. The Society for Health Psychology truly is the perfect “professional home” for any psychologist interested in the interplay of the mind and body, and the role of behavior, mental health and societal factors on health. Our membership represents a diverse range of career paths and interests. The resources the Society offers – the listserv, mentoring, Health Psychology: the outstanding journal of the Society, etc. – support myriad professional interests and paths. Psychologists who aren’t part of the Society are truly missing out on so many opportunities to contribute to our discipline and learn from our colleagues. Simply look at the amazing Convention programming our Program Committee put together, led by Travis Lovejoy, PhD, MPH. My genuine thanks to all who contribute and make the Society what it is. We are indeed fortunate
  2. Earlier on, I underutilized the many opportunities the Society offers for leadership, mentorship and growth. In my first column I joked about being an “accidental president.” I myself had not fully engaged in the Society, and was pretty shocked when I was elected. What a gift it has been! From this point forward, I will seek out opportunities to work with Society members because I now know what a rich set of resources we have. I took the Society for granted before, if I’m honest. I won’t take it for granted going forward.
  3. The only way to get things done is to be part of a team. I knew this before, but I really know it now. All of us face competing demands. None of us has all of the answers. Diverse perspectives enrich what we do. So, don’t go it alone – engage with others via the Society.   Practice respectful curiosity and humility every day – because it might just be the student or ECP sitting quietly in the corner who has the breakthrough idea. I hope I have helped us broaden our net as a Society, and will continue to work to make sure every voice in the room is heard.
  4. Service to the public is our “North Star.”   The public needs our expertise, but most don’t know what health psychology is, or how it is an essential part of improving health and quality of life. We are making progress though. The Behavioral Medicine Research Council is working ensure that our research output translates into strategies to improve health. Our collaboration with the Addiction and Family Divisions of APA to develop training to enhance psychologists’ pain management and opioid skill sets addresses a gap in our ability to serve. Our social media team has done an amazing job of disseminating research findings and relevant resources. I hope we can continue to illustrate how the Society serves the greater good. If you have ideas on how to move this forward, please reach out and get involved.
  5. We must branch out and collaborate more with other professional groups who share our mission. We already work well with other professional organizations since so many of our members cross pollinate. Everyone benefits when we leverage these relationships to enhance our shared missions. I am happy to announce a new initiative that illustrates this. The Collaborative Family Healthcare Association has agreed to take the lead in managing and disseminating the Integrated Primary Care course. We hope by the end of 2020 the course will be available for free to all Society members as a benefit of membership, as well as broadly disseminated to the health care community. The Psychology training community has embraced the IPC Course, with about 475 programs across 9 countries requesting the materials. Yet, it has been a long time dream of the course creators that it be made available more broadly. It was only by collaborating outside of APA that we were able to make this happen.   Let’s continue to seek and engage in these types of collaborative projects towards the public good.
  6. Barbara Keeton is a rock star!   The Society would not be what it is without the leadership, stewardship and competence of this amazing woman!   When I attended the APA training for incoming division presidents, panic set in as they outlined all of the tasks I would need to manage on behalf of the Society. Then, as she has many times since, Barbara quietly leaned in to reassure me that she would take care of all of it. And she does. Every day Barbara quietly takes care of it all, proactively herding cats to get things done.   If you’ve ever benefitted from anything the Society offers you can thank Barbara Keeton, the hub of our wheel and the sunshine in our sky. THANK YOU Barbara, for your incredible support.

Thank you to the Society for this opportunity to serve as your President. Thank you to our amazing Executive Committee and all who give their time to the Society. Wonderful days lie ahead as I pass the baton to Zee Butt, PhD. Congratulations to our newly named future officers, and a proactive thank you for your efforts. Our future is truly bright. For me, it has been a privilege and an honor to serve as your President. See you at Convention!