President’s Update Spring 2023

Isn’t it strange how time can be perceived as crawling at a snail’s pace or flying by at lightspeed? Somehow, it is the end of March already and spring is right around the corner—I mean, I hope it is…but it’s the Midwest, so you never can tell…

Another strange thing: I’m writing my first President’s Update in my fourth year as a licensed psychologist. When I joined IPA in 2019, I had just moved to Iowa after completing my postdoc at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston. I was new to Iowa, new to independent licensure, and new to group practice. Just a few months later, the pandemic started and, well, that was more newness. When I joined IPA, I imagined I would run for President Elect maybe eight or 10 years down the line—you know, after I was comfy and firmly established in my career, had acquired a decent amount of IPA institutional knowledge, and was more familiar with Iowa. But in the summer of 2021, I was asked about my interest in running for IPA President Elect. The call to run came early. Really early.

I remember feeling flattered and intrigued but mostly overwhelmed and underprepared. I mean, I hadn’t even been a member for two full years at that point--how could I possibly run for election to join the Presidential Triad?! But the need for someone to run was there. I had long conversations with the Triad at the time (Drs. Benge Tallman, Valerie Keffala, and Nicole Keedy). I asked a lot of questions about IPA, its history and culture, and its leadership. It seemed to me that IPA had been shifting toward a more collaborative, servant leadership model. That appealed to me. I was further assured that there would be plenty of onboarding support, and the primary purpose of the President Elect year was to learn about and assist in
leading the organization. 

I reflected on my values, and service is one of them. If I were elected, I could serve an organization that had provided me with countless invaluable benefits as an early career psychologist and a new Iowan. IPA helped orient me to professional practice in Iowa, provided me with a professional community, referral sources, and advocated for me on my behalf regarding many issues such as telehealth, reimbursement, and maintaining the highest standards for test data and test instrument security. Long story longer, I agreed to run, and here I am writing this update.

I’m pleased to report many good things have been happening in this first quarter of 2023. Our operating budget has been bolstered by a $10,000 Small State Grant from APA to support the salary of our Executive Director, as well as by the Iowa Psychological Foundation to support the salary of our Director of Professional Affairs. I’m grateful to APA and IPF for their contributions. The Program Planning Committee has been planning a new and different type of event for the Spring Conference (April 28-29, 2023). This year, the focus is on improving provider wellness and decreasing burnout. Please see this blog post for more information on this exciting event. There are some other excellent continuing education opportunities later this year, too. The Trust Ethics workshop is scheduled for June 9, 2023 and the topic for the Fall Conference on October 6, 2023 is therapeutic assessment with IPA’s own Dr. Krista Brittain.

There have also been some significant changes in IPA leadership this year. Dr. Sally Oakes Edman retired from the Executive Council (EC) after 22 years(!) of service. Most recently, Dr. Oakes Edman had been serving as our delegate to APA’s Council of Representatives (CoR) for the last six years. Dr. Paul Ascheman, who previously served IPA as State Advocacy Coordinator (SAC) for many years, was elected to take Dr. Oakes Edman’s place on the CoR. Unfortunately, no one was elected to the 2023 SAC position, so Dr. Ascheman has generously been doing his best to ensure the essential duties associated with that role are fulfilled with the help of others on the Advocacy Team. Additionally, our Student Division Representative, Eric Field, proposed a new position to the EC: Student Division Representative Elect. This position will help facilitate succession in student representation on EC, as well as help orient and onboard the student to the workings of the EC and responsibilities of the role. Our current Student Division Representative Elect is Ashley Banta.

And now a note of appreciation: Prior to attending EC meetings as co-chair of the Diversity and Social Justice committee, I didn’t understand what it takes for associations like IPA to function. Now that I know, my gratitude for my fellow leaders, as well as the leaders who came before me, is immense. Thank you for your service and your support as I was brought into the fold. I am also grateful for our members. It is my honor and privilege to serve you as IPA President this year. I am excited for what lies ahead for IPA this year. Here’s to a wonderful spring!


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Valerie Keffala - Sunday, April 16, 2023

I'm so glad you said YES! Thank you for serving IPA and the people of Iowa. Having served as IPA President late in my career, I can say I truly appreciate your perspective of as an early-career IPA President. Your service is such gift to us all! Thank you!

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