Season’s greetings! With another year upon us, it is good to take time to reflect on the lessons and blessings of the past year, set new goals, and consider the ways we can best renew and revitalize ourselves, our relationships, our work, and our world around us. APS has had a very good year: an exciting annual meeting, a renewed focus for Council on values-driven and goal-oriented plans and activities, a successful journal publishing cutting edge and state-of-the art psychosomatic science, and continued engagement with colleagues and professional organizations from across the world. I so appreciate this Society, the work that it promotes, and the opportunities it creates for meaningful, engaging scholarship.
In my role as APS President, I chair our monthly Council meetings. I want to highlight some of the actions Council has taken and discussions we have had in the last few months. As I noted in the last newsletter, there is particular energy amongst our leadership team to provide more opportunities and recognition to mid-career members. Accordingly, Council recently approved a new Fellows program that is being implemented in 2020 to recognize sustained excellence in scholarship and/or professional contributions to the field of psychosomatic science and commitment to the American Psychosomatic Society of members who are more than 10 years past their highest academic degree or clinical training. The idea for this new Fellow of the American Psychosomatic Society program, or “FAPS”, originated out of the Membership Committee, led by Drs. Erin Costanzo and Ian Kronish, and with the leadership of our Council liaison to that committee, Dr. Gail Ironson, and Council input, evolved into a means of honoring our accomplished members who are mid-career and beyond who especially have contributed to making our Society and the science we represent rigorous and impactful. More information about FAPS and details on how to apply for this recognition will be available soon.
The Membership Committee also proposed, and Council unanimously supported, a new category of Early Career Membership for persons who have recently completed their training (e.g., post-doc or residency) and are in the early phase of their independent career. Specifically, this new category of membership offers discounted annual dues for up to 2 years for persons transitioning from Associate Membership (offered to those in training roles) to Regular Membership. The goal of this new membership category is to maintain a vibrant, diverse membership, in line with our APS Strategic Goals, by encouraging retention of Associate Members within APS who are moving into their independent careers.
To support our strategic goal of translating our scientific findings for clinical application and relevance, Council has discussed establishing a Clinicians’ Committee. Simultaneously, the Professional Education Committee (PEC), co-chaired by Dr. Dianne Lattemann and Dr. Vanessa Hux, while reviewing their committee’s scope and responsibilities, suggested ideas for ways in which the PEC can support clinical translation of the terrific science that is done among our members. Given their ideas, we may not need a separate Clinicians’ Committee, per se, but will work with the PEC as they seek to re-align their focus and activities in line with our strategic goals. Furthermore, the time is right to evaluate the current educational and professional development needs of APS members, since the ways in which we work and generate and share knowledge have been transformed since the PEC originated. A short survey is being designed to gather this information and Membership will be polled within the next 6 weeks to gain input on what members are seeking in these areas.
Additionally, we are very excited to report that Council voted unanimously to join the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS), which is a consortium of behavioral science and brain science societies that was formed nearly 40 years ago to represent and advance the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior. APS’ membership in FABBS begins in January 2020. There are benefits to individual members as well as to the Society as an organization. In particular, the advocacy work that FABBS does will help us in our strategic goal to promote and sustain scientific excellence in psychosomatic medicine. As described to me by Dr. Roxy Silver, the President-elect of FABBS, “FABBS seeks to promote scientific research and training in these fields, seeks to educate the public about the contributions of research to the health and well-being of individuals and society, promotes communication among scientists, and recognizes scientists who have made significant contributions to building knowledge. Importantly, FABBS also serves a critical role in communicating about behavioral and brain science and lobbying the government to support funding for our science and for policies informed by the best possible scientific bases.” Please see https://fabbs.org/fabbs-foundation/ for more information about the organization. To learn more about the benefits APS members receive and have access to by virtue of our Society’s membership in FABBS, please see this document, provided to me by Juliane Baron, Executive Director of FABBS.
Council also voted to retain a 2-year model for the Program Committee chair and is pleased to note that Dr. John Ruiz, in addition to leading the efforts in planning the 2020 meeting will be at the helm again for planning the 2021 meeting. Council also voted to increase our speakers’ budget for the annual meeting for the first time in over a decade.
These highlights showcase many of the important “behind the scenes” activities of the Society. I view Council as the leaders “steering the ship” but it really is the vibrant membership from across disciplinary lines that make up the heart and soul of this Society. We are looking forward to a wonderful meeting in Long Beach. Stay tuned for more details about the meeting in the next edition of the newsletter.
As President, I also Chair the Nominating Committee for APS and am pleased to have a terrific slate of candidates for 2020. Please watch your email for details on the voting process.
As ever, if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me.
Sue Everson-Rose, PhD, MPH
President, APS 2019/20