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Did You Know? Q&A with IPA’s DPA

Hello! As your IPA Representatives, Katie Kopp and Ashley Freeman will be blogging or emailing to highlight an IPA member benefit or informing you of something we hope you might find interesting about IPA. This month we are highlighting the Director of Professional Affairs (DPA) position, one of IPA’s immensely valuable members-only resources.

We interviewed Dr. Valerie Keffala to gather some history on the creation of this role within IPA. Dr. Keffala first became aware of the DPA role in 2020 while attending APA’s annual Practice Leadership Conference. She learned how other state psychological associations were utilizing a Director of Professional Affairs to serve as an advocate and informational resource regarding professional practice issues and wanted to provide a similar service to IPA. She spoke of the increased need for this leadership position during the pandemic when psychologists were facing telehealth parity issues along with other practice-related challenges. While not every state psychological association employs a DPA, and their responsibilities vary, they share the same broad goal: to improve the professional lives of practicing psychologists.

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IPA Service: Get a Great Return on Your Investment

The Membership Committee strives to increase member participation in activities that promote the IPA mission and Strategic Plan. A primary Membership Committee objective is to assist IPA’s standing committees in reaching their desired capacities. Over the past year, our Finance, Psychopharmacology, and Diversity and Social Justice committees have benefitted from the participation of some of the newest IPA members, including student members. This effort has been greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, the majority of IPA committees continue to seek members.

The success of IPA requires each of us to consider how we can best contribute to the association. Prior to serving initially as Co-Chair of the Membership Committee and now, additionally, as President-Elect of IPA, I recall declining repeated requests to increase participation in the association, explaining that my time was too limited. Upon reflection, however, I recognized that IPA only functions as an association due to the volunteerism of a number of dedicated members who ensure that we are able to successfully organize and advocate for the profession of psychology and the well-being of the Iowans we serve.

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From the Membership Committee

I could not be more pleased as I review the membership trends that Dr. Alissa Doobay, Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, diligently updated this year to allow continued tracking of the committee’s outcomes. Two trends immediately captured my attention. First, we experienced the greatest one-year increase in the total number of members, primarily driven by the largest one-year increase in full members with advocacy since we began tracking in 2000. Second, we experienced an increase in student members that returned us to our 2019 number, after a significant drop in student membership from 2019 to 2020 that appeared to be associated with the unfortunate cancellation of the 2020 spring conference. Additionally, we celebrated robust retention across all membership categories this year.

The Membership Committee has implemented a number of tactics in line with the committee’s overarching Strategic Plan goals of Connection, Recruitment, and Retention that have assisted in promoting the notable increases in membership numbers. Additionally, a number of initiatives from IPA’s Executive Council and our fabulous committees have been instrumental in promoting connection, recruitment, and retention.

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Benefits of the IPA Student Mentorship Program

The IPA Membership Committee launched the Student Mentorship program in the Fall of 2020. The primary goal of this program is to increase student engagement in IPA early in their doctoral training by building relationships between current members and doctoral students in psychology training programs. An additional goal for this program is to promote professional endeavors of students and interns within the state of Iowa through their increased engagement. All student members of IPA are provided with the opportunity to be connected with a mentor. At present, IPA has 30 student members, and 35 IPA members have volunteered to serve as mentors.

Over the past month, mentors and mentees participating in this program were invited to share about their experiences, both to highlight the benefits, as well as to identify aspects of the program that may need some reworking. Thank you to those of you who responded!

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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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What Does IPA Membership Mean to You?

As I reflect on the lessons learned in 2020, what stands out most is a renewed sense of what is truly important to me. The initial images of 2020 may be filled with loss, grief, incredulity, horror, and discontent. However, my memories of 2020 are brightened by quality time spent with immediate family, Zoom meetings with friends and colleagues, home cooked meals, family game nights, handwritten cards, and care packages. While some previously taken-for-granted conveniences and social opportunities were certainly missed, I developed a greater appreciation for the connections I have with the special people in my life. For me, connection was the key to surviving 2020.

The opportunities IPA provided for connection with colleagues this past year have been invaluable. Through connection, support, and collaboration with IPA colleagues, I have commiserated, laughed, and learned. I was so grateful for the Zoom support meetings while I was trying to figure out how to convert our clinic to telehealth services. I grew as a person and clinician through the conversations, trainings, and book clubs led by the Diversity and Social Justice Committee. I earned CEs from incredible psychologists and legal advisors within the state and across the nation. IPA’s advocacy efforts were instrumental in reducing financial strain for my clinic. Over the past year, IPA has offered rich opportunities for community and connection among its members, and IPA will continue to offer those opportunities in the coming year.

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