Hello everyone!

A little about me…
For those of you who do not yet know me, I am an APA Fellow and Professor with tenure in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences/Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Like many of you, I am a clinician at heart. I have spent almost 30 years providing evidence-based treatment as part of an integrated team, building a large integrated psychology service across a health system. I have developed a successful model ofinterprofessional team integration that has been utilized by other professions to integrate practices and build care teams. Like many of you, I am also a scientist and investigate the outcomes of an integrated psychology service on the clinic level (outcomes of our pediatric sleep clinic and weight management/bariatric surgery clinics, for instance) but I am especially interested in system level out comes. My integration process model has led to high rates of patient satisfaction on specific indicators of patient- and family- centered care, increasing levels of team integration, high co-provider (physician and non-physician) satisfaction with the psychology service and enhanced patient health outcomes. More recently I have been working institution-wide to develop, implement, and evaluate faculty and clinical staff development that teaches interprofessional collaboration skills via active learning and supports the clinical integration process across the institution. I have been working for many years on other faculty affairs/development efforts--professional wellness programming, a strategic professional development curriculum, leadership skill development, mentor training, unprofessional conduct remediation, and quality improvement programming that supports transformational changes within an institution. As a culmination of my work, I was recently appointed as Associate Provost for Faculty serving the faculty’s diverse needs from recruitment to retirement across all colleges and campuses at UAMS. I strongly believe that pediatric psychologists can rise to diverse leadership roles at our institutions and recognize many SPP members have done so! I hope to encourage all of you to think about your own career development and opportunities over this coming year.

About the society…
I am thrilled to be starting my Presidential year in service to the Society of Pediatric Psychology, a society that has been my professional home since 1993. I remember attending my first conference and a cocktail hour at a pool where Dr. Drotar came over and spoke to me (to me!?) and welcomed me into a discussion with others. Suddenly, SPP was not just a community but my community. To be completely candid, I was not trained in one of the premier pediatric psychology training programs, nor did I know any of the early leaders But it didn’t seem to matter. I met many people that day and in the years since, and have found the personal relationships and time together at our conferences (and meeting up at other conferences) has been just as impactful on me and my career as the more tangible benefits of the society like the conference and journals. I am deeply proud to say I am a member of such a thriving, supportive community. So believe me when I say that it is truly an honor to give back to SPP through my Board service. It has given me so much over the years—mentorship by true leaders in the field, a professional network of colleagues and friends that continues to grow, international connections and social media presence, professional development (via the conference, newsletter, and journal), leadership skill development serving in SIG and Board leadership roles, innovative diversity/inclusion/health equity initiatives, and most of all a community of passionate and committed psychologists working together to support child health and wellbeing.

About the profession…
Now is a pivotal time for psychologists. Our nation is in a multifaceted crisis. Political truths and untruths, conspiracy theories, and the inability of many to engage in true bipartisan collaborative effort threatens our democracy and the stability of our nation. Evidence of the extensive structural racism has been painfully discovered and rediscovered as tragic events continue to occur over and over and highlight how much work we have to do to eradicate it. Economic decline and poverty such that many children and families are going hungry, without medicine, and without shelter. A global pandemic where rates of adherence to social distancing and wearing masks is suboptimal, hospitalization and death rates are rising, and vaccine hesitancy threatens our ability to develop herd immunity and a return to relative normalcy. Sometimes it feels as if we are in the midst of a hurricane and powerless to stop it. But if we as psychologists could pause for just a moment in the eye of this hurricane and recognize the skill set that we have been trained in and the evidence-base that supports it, we would realize that these crises are an opportunity for us to make a difference. We as pediatric psychologists have skills in clarity of communication, conflict resolution, collaboration, group/team dynamics, building cultures of respect and equity, and stress management/resilience and these diverse skills could be strategically deployed to meet this crisis. Each and every day we are presented with opportunities. We need to seize these opportunities, large and small, and make a difference in our patients’/families’ lives, in our clinics/hospitals, in our academic institutions, and in our communities. Not only can we make a difference and contribute to positive change, with this skill set we will rise as leaders. Leaders who enhance the actual and perceived value of psychologists and psychological science. Leaders who make a difference.

Next steps…
SPP / APA Division 54 has partnered with Degnon Associates, Inc, an accredited association management company to support the division administratively, improve efficiency and effectiveness, and help us achieve our mission and strategic objectives. Sad as we are to see our longstanding administrator Karen Roberts retire, we are so pleased she is staying on a bit longer to assist with this important transition. We will share more news about her retirement and celebrations of her career in the months to come. Your main contact now is Erin Ross who can be reached at

New contact information:
Society of Pediatric Psychology / APA Division 54
6728 Old McLean Village Drive
McLean, VA 22101

I would encourage all of you to get to know Erin as well as the current Board members’ names and their roles. Reach out to any of us with ideas, questions, concerns, and more. We serve you, and we want to hear from you!

Wendy L. Ward, PhD, ABPP, FAPA, FNAP