Phipps has maintained an active research program, with over 15 years of consecutive NIH funding for his work. His interest is in the area of children’s coping and adaptation to stress, particularly that associated with chronic or life-threatening illness. More recently, he has focused on psychological growth and resilience, applying positive psychology models to identify pathways and mechanisms for healthy outcomes in seriously ill children.
Phipps serves on the editorial board of several journals, including the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. He has been a member of two NIH study sections, as well as several ad hoc grant review panels.
It is an honor to be nominated as president of SPP, which has been my professional home throughout my career. Our organization has grown in strength and stature, thanks to the enthusiasm of its members and the guidance of past and current leaders. My goal would be to maintain and build on this strength moving forward.
An issue I believe is important for our organization to address relates to gender, and the paucity of young men that have been entering our specialty. I hope I will not be considered a misogynist for raising this issue, but I believe this is a potential problem for our group. In recent years, female applicants for our pediatric internships and postdocs have outnumbered males by 20 to 1 or more. As a clinic director, I have experienced the pragmatic challenges that can ensue from a shortage of male clinicians (because we all recognize clinical circumstances where gender does matter). The contributions of women to our field have been enormous, and we will undoubtedly remain a specialty where women are the majority, but I believe we must find ways to encourage more young men to view pediatrics as a viable career option early in their psychology training. Ensuring that a critical mass of talented male clinicians and researchers continue to enter our field will help to maintain the vitality of our specialty.