Presidential Message






SPP Presidential Column – June 2024        

Happy summer, SPP! It’s always nice to enjoy the sunshine and outdoors this time of year. Summer is also busy with celebrations like graduations and weddings, as well as Pride month and Juneteenth. I learned from Rikard Wicksell, PhD, that our EPPN colleagues in Scandinavia just celebrated Midsummer, their most important holiday of the year, which involves festivities and dancing around a maypole to ensure a good harvest. I hope you all have some fun adventures and relaxation planned in the coming months too!

Partnership with EPPN: Speaking of EPPN, our respective boards have been discussing how to strengthen our relationship and communication across organizations. Ann Davis, PhD, has served as an SPP liaison to the EPPN board for several years and will be stepping down this summer. (Thanks for your service, Ann!) We will soon appoint a new liaison to promote shared goals and activities with EPPN, as we continue to support the growth of pediatric psychology globally. A recent discussion has centered on how to best support those affected by the war in the Middle East, much like EPPN did in providing resources for the Ukraine. We know that we will always have a greater impact through our valuable partnership.

SPP Townhall on Advocacy: On June 27th at 4 pm ET, we will hold a virtual townhall to invite member input on our advocacy efforts. As you know, advocacy is one of the four primary pillars in our SPP strategic plan. We would like to know how you envision SPP’s role in advocacy and what areas should be a priority. How can we best support the advocacy efforts of our members and formally engage in organizational efforts to drive policy and change in support of our mission? Please join, and we look forward to your thoughts!

Advocacy Task Force: Feedback from the townhall will be shared with our new Advocacy Taskforce. This group is comprised of several individuals who have been in formal roles and closely involved in advocacy efforts on behalf of SPP. In the coming year, they will be asked to determine the ideal composition and format of the taskforce, as well as goals and priorities for SPP’s advocacy efforts. More to come as we get started on this important work!

APA Convention: APA Program Chair, Colleen Stiles-Shields, PhD, and Co-Chair, Siddika Mulchan, PsyD, have been planning a wonderful slate of Division 54 content at the annual American Psychological Association Convention. This year’s meeting will be held in Seattle, WA on August 8-10. Register by June 30th and save $50 through the Advance Registration option. SPP also holds our August Board of Directors Meeting at APA. While you’re in Seattle, please stop by the SPP Business Meeting to hear updates on the state of SPP, ask questions, and share your ideas.

Board Composition: As SPP has grown, so has our leadership and committees. Over the last year, past President Melissa Santos, PhD, has led a taskforce to streamline our board composition and reporting structures. Recently, the board approved a motion to create an awards committee that will oversee all SPP’s awards and honors. In addition, we are working hard to align our elected positions and roles with the SPP strategic initiatives.

Finances: As you may know, SPP relies heavily on revenues from our membership dues, SPPAC, and our journals. Treasurer, Gayle Chesley, PhD, has led the board in being good stewards of our funds to help SPP remain financially strong. We had record attendance at SPPAC and have continued to engage in thoughtful cost-cutting measures. Consistent with our mission, we have ensured a majority of our investments support socially and environmentally responsible or minority-owned companies. As we look for more opportunities to increase our revenues, the board has also led the way, with nearly 100% participation in personal donations to SPP. I am proud of what we have accomplished and am grateful for the support of EDI in these efforts.

SPP Elections: Lastly, I want to congratulate our newly elected board members for 2025! They include President-Elect: Lori Crosby, PsyD; APA Council Representatives: Elizabeth Getzoff, PhD and Christina Low Kapalu, PhD; Member at Large for Diversity: Naadira Upshaw, PsyD, ABPP; and Member at Large for Student/Trainee Development: Jeanette Iskander, PhD. We look forward to all you will do on behalf of SPP!

I hope you enjoy the summer! As always, please reach out to me or the board with any thoughts, suggestions, and questions.


Cindy Gerhardt, SPP President