Presidential Message






SPP Presidential Column – April 2024

Hello SPP! Spring is here and that means SPPAC is just around the corner. I’m always excited to see former trainees, catch up with old friends, and meet first-time attendees. The work of the board is also in full swing for 2024. We continue to focus on our strategic initiatives in Membership, Education and Career Development, Science and Practice, and Advocacy. We’ve also expanded continuing education offerings, with a recent webinar from our Jewish Affinity Group on understanding antisemitism and an upcoming webinar on the war in the Ukraine, in collaboration with the European Pediatric Psychology Network Regional Interest Group. These are two timely educational sessions in response to the ongoing conflicts affecting millions of children globally.

SPPAC 2024: Conference Chair, Naadira Upshaw, PsyD, and co-Chair, Lauren Harrison, PhD, have led the SPPAC Planning and Scientific Committees to host an incredible meeting this year with our Association Management Company, EDI. The theme for our conference is “What’s next? Defining the path forward for Pediatric Psychology.” As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and persist in our social justice efforts, it is clear that Pediatric Psychology must evolve in the coming years to best meet the needs of children and families. We must reduce health disparities, advance equity, and advocate for policies that put children first. We look forward to an exciting conference in New Orleans filled with inspiring plenary speakers and programming, as we define the future of our field.

SPPAC Service Event: Desiree Williford, PhD, MPH, has led the SPP Committee for Outreach and Service to coordinate the SPPAC 2024 Service Event (#SPPACService) with the non-profit, Love Your Neighbor NOLA, an organization that supports historically marginalized families exposed to violence and trauma. Members can participate in two activities, including creating hygiene kits during the conference and an off-site community event on Thursday, April 25th from 3:30-5:30PM. At the off-site event, volunteers will utilize skillsets as psychologists to provide educational (i.e., mini coping skill stations) and play-based activity stations with youth and families. Spanish-speaking members are also needed. See the SPPAC website for more information about how you can participate!

Workforce Survey: Over the past year, Melissa Santos, PhD, has led a large task force to develop and launch a new workforce survey for our membership. This information will be used to determine the many ways that pediatric psychologists are serving families across a variety of settings. Obtaining current data on salary, compensation, and job expectations will provide benchmarks to help members better advocate for themselves and for each other. We need a large response to provide meaningful data… so look for the workforce survey to go live at SPPAC, and please participate!

Bylaws Approved: Membership voting on revisions to the bylaws closed on February 12th, and all revisions were passed with a majority vote. These changes included allowing graduate students, with two or more consecutive membership years, to now vote in our elections.

SPP Elections: Speaking of elections, APA will soon send unique links to eligible voters for our open SPP board positions. Candidates have been nominated to fill the roles of President-Elect, APA Council Representatives (two), Member at Large for Diversity, and Member at Large for Student/Trainee Development. Please vote and make your voices heard!

APA Convention: The American Psychological Association Convention will be held in beautiful Seattle, WA on August 8-10. Register between April 24th and May 31st to receive an early bird discount. APA Program Chair, Colleen Stiles-Shields, PhD, and Co-Chair, Siddika Mulchan, PsyD, have been hard at work planning terrific Division 54 content. Don’t miss it!

Job Board: Many of you have probably noticed that we recently launched an SPP Job Board. This was done to reduce postings on the listserv and to provide a more centralized place for members to find employment opportunities. Visit to view postings or to learn how you can post a new position!

Advocacy Wins: I am happy to highlight successful advocacy efforts by APA Council Representatives Terry Stancin, PhD, and Idia Thurston, PhD, who helped support APA’s landmark policy statement affirming evidence-based care for transgender, gender diverse and nonbinary children, adolescents, and adults. You can read the full statement at This involved hard work and collaboration with Division 44 council representatives, as well as the APA Advocacy Office. In addition, many thanks to Amy Beck, PhD, for activating our membership to ask their congressional leaders to support ongoing funding for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program. Funding, which is critical to our trainees, was approved!

As a reminder, members are invited to attend our open Business Meeting at SPPAC to receive further updates on the state of SPP and board activities. You can also reach out to me or the board with any thoughts, suggestions, and questions. We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!


Cindy Gerhardt, SPP President