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In Remembrance of Victims of Gun Violence on the 10th Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Mass Shooting

Today, December 14th, marks the 10-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The shooting took place in Newtown, Connecticut, and resulted in the deaths of 6 adults and 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 years old. It marks the deadliest mass shooting at an elementary school in U.S. history. The deadliest school shooting in history occurred at Virginia Tech University on 4/16/2007 and resulted in 33 dead and 17 injured. Horrifically, mass shootings have continued to increase over the past several years and take place in a variety of locations beyond the school setting. 

More recently was the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs that has been deemed a hate crime targeting the LGBTQ+ community and resulted in the deaths of five people and dozens injured. A recent Press Release from APA noted, “The mass shooting in Colorado Springs followed the horrific attacks at the University of Virginia, a drumbeat that continues without fail. In November alone, there have been at least 27 reported mass shootings with more than 40 victims dead.”

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Disaster Response Resources

The recent shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, along with Thursday's shooting at Cornerstone Church in Ames, IA, leave us all struggling to cope with the violence that impacts our community. These tragic events only serve to exacerbate the effects of the ongoing pandemic and the war in Ukraine. For more details on Thursday's shooting in Ames, IA, please reference this CNN article.
If you are seeking resources to assist clients, parents, educators, and community members who are attempting to make sense of these recent events, please refer to the Google Doc sent out via the IPA listserv last week following the Uvalde shooting. A few resources have been added including general resources for providers. The list is also pasted below.
If you need additional support or assistance, please feel free to backchannel me here.
General Resources
  • Disaster Distress Helpline (SAMHSA)

    • The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.

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IPA Awards Ceremony 2022

The annual awards ceremony occurred on April 5, 2022, in conjunction with the IPA Spring Conference in Des Moines. 

The IPA Phil Laughlin Meritorious Achievement Award is intended to honor an IPA member for outstanding service to the association. All IPA members are eligible to be considered for this award except those currently serving on the IPA Executive Council. The 2022 award was presented to Dr. Kevin Krumvieda, who was nominated by Dr. Karen Nelson:  

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Staying Mentally Healthy in the Holiday Season

This blog first appeared on the PSYowa blog, a public education blog that can be shared on social media or emailed to friends and family. The link for the public post is found here

Holidays are often sources of joy, connection, and celebration for people all over the world. However, we sometimes forget that they can also be reminders of painful losses and loneliness. Even before the pandemic the holidays were often sources of stress for many of us. With the pandemic impacting all of our lives in many ways, holidays haven’t looked like they used to. We have had to connect with loved ones through nursing homes and hospital windows, we’ve had to Facetime friends and family when we normally would’ve joined in person, and many of us have lost friends and family members who have been an important part of our holidays. For some, the holidays will continue to be very different this year. Dealing with this ongoing disruption in the traditions we hold dear can lead to struggles with our well-being and our mental health. 

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Learn More about the Iowa Psychological Foundation

For more than 25 years, the Iowa Psychological Foundation (IPF) has existed as a non-profit organization to raise funds to benefit psychology in Iowa. IPF is a 501c3, so your donations are tax deductible (unlike IPA, which is not eligible for non-profit status because some of its funds pay a lobbyist). 

In a nutshell, IPF’s 8-member board raises money then gives it away. We hope you will consider donating through the webpage or by supporting the upcoming auction at the Spring Conference. 

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IPA Awards Ceremony

On April 10, 2021, IPA virtually held its annual awards ceremony following the Saturday morning session of the Spring Conference, which can be viewed in full here. After the introduction and announcements from President Valeria Keffala, Past-President Benge Tallman began the ceremony by thanking various members who had ended their terms of service in 2019 and 2020:

Ending 2019:

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Meet your IPA Representatives!

Today’s blog post features introductions from IPA’s two representatives. Per IPA’s policies and procedures, we have three representatives elected to serve as voting members of the Executive Council (EC). The responsibilities of these members are to represent the general membership of IPA and act as liaison to members by inviting their input, conveying their requests to council, responding to their requests, and encouraging their continued support of IPA. They also help to identify and recruit prospective members. Representatives are elected to 3-year terms where they will serve as First Year Rep, Second Year Rep, and Third Year Rep; each year has different responsibilities.

If you are interested in serving as an IPA Representative, contact a current representative or any other member of the EC.

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Tribute to Dave McEchron

Today's blog features a tribute to Dr. Dave McEchron, a longtime member of IPA. Part of his public obituary and some of the tributes from psychologists he worked with over the years of his long career also contributed. 

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Serving on the Iowa Board of Psychology

Interested in serving the profession? Enjoy thinking broadly about rules and processes and how to make things work effectively? Willing to make difficult, high-stakes decisions in order to ensure that the public is protected from incompetent or unethical behavior from psychologists? Tolerant of paperwork and meetings? Interested in connecting with colleagues you might not otherwise meet? You should consider applying to serve on the Iowa Board of Psychology! (It occurs to me that I’ve made Board service sound really dry – it’s actually not, it feels more like a group of passionate people getting together to talk about how to ensure that Iowans have access to high-quality, effective care from psychologists.)

My favorite part of serving on the Iowa Board of Psychology has been the opportunity to develop a broader understanding of how the profession functions. The Board is charged with regulating the practice of psychology in the state, which includes establishing rules around licensure and granting licenses, establishing rules that govern the practice of psychology and expectations around standard of care, and reviewing complaints filed against psychologists. The central guiding principle of the board is the protection of the public by promoting ethical, competent practice by psychologists.

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A Psychologist at War

In July 2020, a movie debuted on Netflix (originally scheduled for a theatrical release, but COVID required changes to be made to the plan) to generally positive reviews. The Outpost is a somewhat classic war movie: gritty American Soldiers fight against all odds to defeat the enemy. Based on a true story, what made this movie different for me is that it was a story with which I was intimately familiar.

In June of 2009, I was deployed to Afghanistan in support of an Army infantry brigade, the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division. I had been licensed for 5 months, 6 months post-internship, and was responsible for the mental health of 3,600+ Soldiers who were spread out over 15 locations in four provinces of Afghanistan. From the beginning, it was a challenging rotation. Our area of operations was extremely active with troops in contact (engaged by the enemy) daily. I had a home forward operating base (FOB), but spent nearly every day moving between all of the various FOBs and outposts that our brigade occupied either by helicopter or convoy. In the first months of the deployment, we had suffered many losses, including Soldiers killed in action (KIA) or catastrophically wounded. A big part of my job was to meet with groups of Soldiers following traumatic events to initiate a protocol for Traumatic Event Management (the Army’s spin on critical incident stress debriefing).

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