Presidential Update Summer 2023

headshot of Dr. HolmbergIPA’s mission is to promote the science and practice of psychology for the benefit of all Iowans. Our volunteer leaders and paid contractors have been working hard in 2023 to carry out that mission in alignment with our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan. I’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the important developments from the first part of the year and the people who have been generously donating their time and energy for all our benefit.

Education and Training

IPA’s Training Director, Dr. Matt Cooper, has spearheaded the effort to expand the number of internship and postdoc training sites in Iowa. He reports that Iowa has retained 100% of postdoc trainees over the last three years! He is working hard to establish a training consortium, which will increase the number of internship sites available in Iowa. This consortium will be a new region of the National Psychology Training Consortium, which has three regions in the US and trains an average of 70 interns per year. He expects the number of predoctoral interns in Iowa to double in the next 5-10 years. This bodes well for increasing the number of psychologists in Iowa because many students at ISU and U of I would like to stay in Iowa but historically have struggled to find training sites in state.

The Program Planning Committee held a successful Spring Conference and is preparing for the Fall Conference. This October 6th, we will be welcoming IPA’s own Dr. Krista Brittain who will present Following the Breadcrumbs: The Basics of Collaborative/Therapeutic Assessment and How It Can Enhance Clinical Practice at the West48 conference center in West Des Moines. Later that month, IPA’s Diversity and Social Justice Committee will be hosting Dr. Allison Momany who will present Gender Identity and Expression in Neurodiverse Youth on October 27th (registration will open very soon!).

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

I have some bittersweet news to share regarding our Diversity Liaison and Diversity and Social Justice Committee (DSJC). Dr. Joy Goins-Fernandez is resigning from IPA leadership as of August 31st to pursue a new professional role. She served as Interim Diversity Liaison in 2020 and was elected to the role in 2021 and has been serving since then. She has also been closely involved with the DSJC since 2016 and formally served as chair and co-chair until 2022. She was a key voice in creating and updating our Social Justice Policy that delineates procedures for how IPA addresses social justice issues and in adding a statement to our website that communicates the association’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She and the DSJC created a Graduate Student Diversity and Social Justice Award to recognize IPA student members for community-based social justice projects. She also started the DSJ Book and Film Club. IPA is a more informed and multiculturally aware organization because of Dr. Goins-Fernandez’s efforts. I cannot thank her enough for the significant impact she has had on IPA and its members, as well as the Iowans they serve.

As hard as it is to let Dr. Goins-Fernandez go, I am thrilled to say that the Executive Council approved Dr. Jennifer Kauder to serve as Interim Diversity Liaison for the remainder of the year. I am grateful for Dr. Kauder’s willingness to step into this important role and am confident she will excel in it. Dr. Kauder has previously served as IPA Treasurer and DSJC member.

Building Connections and Community

The Spring Conference featured a student poster session during which graduate and undergraduate students presented their research. It was heartwarming to see all the engaging conversations the students were having with conference attendees. There was also an impromptu pizza party held Friday night of the conference. Our Executive Director, Suzanne Hull, and Dr. Nicole Keedy’s husband and daughter, Morgan and Naya, helped gather supplies and arrange the food. Seeing attendees connect and laugh with one another was incredibly rewarding.

Our IPA Representative, Dr. Ashley Freeman, assisted by Dr. Sarah Fetter, has coordinated additional opportunities for IPA members to connect with one another. They have organized two socials in West Des Moines; the first was in May and was well attended, and the second is scheduled for September 14th at 5 p.m. at The Hall. All IPA members are invited, as are your non-IPA psychologist friends. Please invite them to tag along and see how much fun IPA is!

The Early Career Psychologist Committee and chair Dr. Maggie Doyle also organized a couple of social events in June. Early in the month, they held a gathering at Jethro’s BBQ in the Des Moines metro. Dr. Jenna Paternostro extended an invitation to an ECP Committee-sponsored family-friendly strawberry picking event at the Berry Basket Farm in Iowa City.

I believe efforts such as these, as well as other strides made by our Membership Committee, have positively impacted the sense of professional community and connection among members. You can read more about how our Membership Committee has been successful at increasing membership here.

I also want to thank Dr. Jenna Paternostro for heading up the Marketing Consultant Workgroup. This group is assessing the feasibility and process of updating the IPA logo and making our website more user-friendly and accessible. This group is composed of folks from the Membership, WEB, and Finance Committees. I think we will all benefit from this much-needed project.


Our Advocacy Team achieved some important wins for psychology this legislative session: $10 million increase in Medicaid mental health rates, a total of $35 million increase in substance use treatment funding from state and federal sources, continued funding of the internship program, banning non-compete clauses in mental health professional contracts, preventing PsyPACT from coming to Iowa, and removal of some barriers to becoming a prescribing psychologist in Iowa. It should be noted that this is an especially significant triumph for Dr. Bethe Lonning, who has been a tireless champion of RxP since 2006.

The Advocacy Team’s achievements are particularly noteworthy because, as some of you may know, we did not have a State Advocacy Coordinator (SAC) this year. Thankfully, our current representative to APA’s Council of Representatives, Dr. Paul Ascheman, who served as IPA’s SAC for many years, worked double duty performing many of the duties of the SAC. Serving in these two roles, in addition to having a career and family, was a generous but unsustainable contribution to IPA. The SAC is a crucial role for IPA and professional psychology practice, and unfortunately, we do not yet have a candidate willing to run for SAC in the next IPA Executive Council election. If this is something you would consider or would like to learn more about, please contact me.

Financial Stability

Our Treasurer, Dr. Sarah Fetter, and Finance Committee members Drs. Benge Tallman and Dan Courtney have been thoughtfully exploring ways of making IPA’s investment account work better for us to further solidify IPA’s financial health. Dr. Fetter is also collaborating with members of IPA’s Advocacy Team and APA to apply for an APA Legislative Grant to supplement the 2024 budget.


I am incredibly grateful for and proud of all that IPA leadership is doing for the membership. The association could not function if not for the generous donation of time and energy of its members. If you’ve enjoyed the many benefits you receive as part of your IPA membership, please consider contributing to the efforts that make those benefits possible. Many hands make light work, and many hands also create an engaged and fulfilling community.

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