APA Interdivisional Healthcare Committee (IHC) Update

Mid-Year Meeting: An Update

Eileen Chaves, PhD, MSc
Pediatric Psychologist
Assistant Professor
Nationwide Children's Hospital/The Ohio State University

The Interdivisional Healthcare Committee (IHC) is made up of two representatives from each health-related division within the American Psychological Association (APA). These include Division 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology), Division 22 (Rehabilitation Psychology), Division 31 (State, Provincial, and Territorial Psychological Association Affairs), Division 38 (Society for Health Psychology), Division 40 (Society for Clinical Neuropsychology), Division 42 (Psychologists in Independent Practice), Division 43 (Society for Couple and Family Psychology), and Division 54 (Society of Pediatric Psychology), as well as the APA Practice Directorate Liaisons, the APA Board of Professional Affairs Liaison, and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) Liaison. The IHC began 25 years ago as a way to bring all psychologists involved in healthcare through relevant APA divisions together to help devise policy, work on healthcare initiatives related to psychology, and develop a team of experts that can respond to and provide expertise for healthcare related issues through APA. One of the longstanding members of the IHC, and recently appointed Vice Chair, Dan Bruns, PhD, described the IHC as “APA’s healthcare think tank”, as the group provides consultation to the APA on health-related policy and other issues. The IHC has been instrumental in the work pediatric psychologists do, having spearheaded the development of Health and Behavior (H&B) codes, which were implemented in 2002. Currently, the IHC has partnered with ACOEM to include a person’s lived experience and function, not just biological measures, into disability evaluations using the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Once completed, this will change the way medical providers and courts award disability benefits to individuals applying for them. This will have a significant impact on the lives of the caregivers and families we as pediatric psychologists serve, as disability evaluations will take into account an individual’s reported quality of life, experience of pain, and functioning when making a disability determination.

Doug Tynan, PhD and myself serve as the two representatives for Division 54 to the IHC. I have served in this role since January 2021. We represent the interests of the division at both the mid-year and annual meetings, bringing the perspective of pediatric psychologists as well as children, youth, and families to the work the IHC does. As the only exclusive child and youth focused members of the IHC, we have discussed how the initiatives of the committee applies to the work we do as pediatric psychologists, focused on the health and wellbeing of the children and families we serve. The recent mid-year meeting was in New Orleans, LA during the last week of January. Future directions of the IHC include discussions of Pain Psychology as a recognized specialization within the field of psychology, as well as forming a potential workgroup to look at issues related to possible bias at health-related internships favoring Clinical Psychology applicants over Counseling Psychology applicants to help increase the health-related psychology workforce.

IHC Mid-Year Meeting 2024 New Orleans, LA