Presidential Voice – Summer 2020

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Carolyn Allard, Ph.D. 

Carolyn Allard, PhD

To be sure, 2020 will go down in history (and it is barely halfway through). My hope is that what will earn its place in the history books will be the humanity that shone brightly through the fissures in the fiber of society – fissures that for increasing numbers of us have become impossible to continue to ignore during our forced deceleration and diminished access to distractors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This stillness has provided us with increased opportunities for observation (outwardly and inwardly focused) and attaining clarity about what really matters, what we are doing in the service of what matters, and what we are doing that results in the opposite of what we want.

I am heartened by the mobilization of millions of people in our country and around the globe toward the shared goals of justice, equality, and the liberation of individuals who are Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) from racism and oppression, and indeed of all people marginalized and disadvantaged as a result of White supremacist and related ideologies (e.g., patriarchal, heterocentrist, ableist).

The current Division leadership team shares these goals. As trauma psychologists, we know all too well of the harm caused by the kinds of chronic maltreatment and invalidation perpetrated against people who are BIPOC. We are committed to identifying and dissolving our own individual biases and harmful behaviors and to dismantling racist and exclusionary practices imbedded within the policies and procedures of our division and our other organizations. We have created a taskforce to initiate a deep dive assessment, develop additional actionable steps to continue to address problematic practices, and to elevate BIPOC voices and those of other marginalized individuals. Together with our Student Representative, Ayli Carrero Pinedo, and Early Career Psychologist (ECP) Representative, Katharine Lacefield, the taskforce has already been involved in initiating our Division’s Cultivating Healing, Advocacy, Nonviolence, Growth, and Equity (CHANGE) grant to support BIPOC student and ECP member projects. In addition, several Webinars are being organized to more intentionally center and promote BIPOC academics and their work. The taskforce is also charged with establishing a standing committee responsible for ongoing program evaluation and improvement. Division members who would like to participate in this effort should contact the taskforce organizer, Dr. Bryann DeBeer.

All the while, we have also been working hard to get the Division program ready for you for APA 2020 Virtual. We are very excited about the prospect of having many more participants than what would have been possible at the live venue given the substantially reduced costs of attending in terms of time, effort and money. In addition, once sessions go “live,” they will be available for folks to watch at their convenience. We are also very pleased to be able to offer continuing education units (CEUs) for many of the convention sessions through our own Webinar and Homestudy platform. Attendees will be notified at the start of the presentation if there is a CEU version available with directions for how to access it.

The detailed convention program will be available on our Division Website, and you can look forward to several research symposia, skill building sessions and discussions focused on Advancing Trauma Research, Practice and Policy through Reciprocal Collaborations for diverse populations (e.g., active duty), and don’t miss our keynote panels, which will include opportunities to have live interactions with Rev. Mpho Tutu Van Firth and Ven. Thubten Jigme and the panelists who will be engaging in an modeling a courageous depolarizing conversation (Drs. Diane Elmore Borbon, Laura Brown, Steven Hollon, Ani Kalayjian, Pamela Remer, Anneliese Singh, and Paula Schnurr). You are also invited to contribute to recommendations for promoting and increasing expectations of multi-directional collaborations in academic journals, grant agencies, education and training programs, and policy change advocates, in a town hall with Drs. David Bathory, Thema Bryant-Davis, Marylene Cloitre, Anne DePrince, Dean Kilpatrick, and Sheila Rauch.

And that’s not all the Division has been up to! The COVID-19 Taskforce continues to develop and disseminate resources, COVID-19 Webinar Series trainings are available on our Homestudy platform, and all of our committees continue to work to keep us updated and to make the Division a resource rich, beneficial, and inclusive home for all trauma psychology students, professionals and enthusiasts. Please continue to reach out to give us feedback and let us know how we can best serve you.