President’s Message (Fall 2016)

In the inimitable words of Winnie the Pooh: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard!”  In my final column as President of the Society of Pediatric Psychology, I wanted to share my immense gratitude to the Board of Directors, our amazing administrative  officer, Karen Roberts, and friends and colleagues who reflect the best possible in professional psychology! 

SPP Happenings:

SPPAC 2017:  The Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference will be held in Portland, OR, March 30-April 1, 2017.  Please join us for yet another triumphant conference, bringing together over 700 colleagues and students.  In addition to SIG meetings representing specialized clinical and research services within pediatric psychology, there will be pre-conference CE workshops, keynote addresses, diversity presentation, poster sessions, mentoring luncheon, Twitter Team (#SPPAC2017), and the second Internships and Fellowships on Parade held during the Conference. Special thanks to the Conference Chair Chad Jensen, Co-Chair, Erica Sood, Student Representative Jeannette Iskander (who will coordinate both student volunteers and student activities), and Administrative Officer, Karen Roberts, who provides daily coordination and management for the Society! Look forward to seeing you there! Mark your calendars now for the 2018 conference in Orlando, FL, April 5-7, 2018!

Collaboration and Dissemination: The American Academy of Pediatrics has been supportive of our interest in updates from SPP about key research findings and their implications for medical practice.  We are in the process of developing the inaugural update to be distributed to your local pediatric providers.  The AAP also invited SPP to nominate a member to serve on their Guideline Subcommittee to update the Clinical Practice Guideline for the Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Treatment of ADHD in Children and Adolescents.  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will complete a comprehensive systematic review that will be used for the development of the Guideline.  Carla Counts Allan, PhD, has graciously accepted the opportunity to represent SPP on this committee, and currently serves as the Director of Psychological Services, ADHD Specialty Clinic, Children’s Mercy Hospital/Kansas. 

In addition, the SPPAC 2017 keynote speaker, Lee Sanders, MD, MPH, recommended that SPP members partner with the medical APA or Academic Pediatric Association due to our overlapping research interests and connections.  This connection provides endless opportunities to integrate membership, meetings, mentoring, and other related activities of interest. The Academic Pediatric Association has wanted to bring more PhD’s into their organization, and remain open to SPP members joining their APA, posting on their listserv about opportunities to collaborate or SPP activities, and submitting proposals for presentations at the next annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies or PAS ( They see the value and potential for robust research collaborations, and will likely be interested in attending our 2017 Conference in Portland and have invited us to their next annual meeting in 2017 in San Francisco.  The APA also hosts regional meetings, with most held in January through March each year in various locations.  They describe numerous opportunities to mentor, network, and share your expertise at regional and national levels.  The 10 regional meetings offer opportunities to present scholarly work and network with others in your region.  They also sponsor 40 Special Interest Groups!  Although we have not been able to obtain reduced rates for conference attendance, there is interest in an alternate first-time member dues structure for SPP members (watch for further information on this development). 

Check out the website at:

It is noteworthy that former SPP President, Tim Wysocki, PhD, highlighted the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) in his presidential column in the Summer 2014 Newsletter (Volume 28, Issue 2), having just served as an invited speaker at a joint meeting of the PAS and the Asian Society for Pediatric Research, which he noted was “considered to be the main meeting for pediatricians strongly committed to research and evidence-based practice.” Dr. Wysocki also noted significant changes since he attended this meeting 20 years before – with topics of interest to SPP members and a sense that collaborations with pediatric psychologists was normative.   He summarized: “I came away from the conference with the sense that pediatric psychology has had a clear influence on children’s health care, at least among academically inclined pediatricians.” 

I believe it is clearly time for us to broaden this influence by sharing our research findings with the pediatric providers in clinical practice with whom we collaborate on a daily basis.

APA Convention: The 2016 Denver convention was outstanding programming once again thanks to Program Chair, Lizzy Pulgaron, PhD.  In addition to collaborative programming with other divisions, poster sessions, and the joint Social with Division 53 (Internships and Postdocs on Parade), we hosted a keynote speaker with broad appeal to many divisions:  Early Childhood Development Through the Eyes of an Economist, by Rob Grunewald, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank.  We look forward to another stellar program at APA 2017 in Washington, DC!

Journals, Newsletter, and Website: Stay current with research findings and SPP activities through our well respected Journals (JPP and CPPP, under the tremendous editorial leadership of Drs. Grayson Holmbeck and Jennifer Schroff Pendley).  Consider contributing to the SPP YouTube Channel and the Division newsletter (Laura Simons, PhD, Editor).  Likewise, check out the new and improved SPP website, lead by the ever-creative Bryan Karazsia, PhD: