APA Convention 2016

Strategic Programs

The Office of Strategic Programs (OSP) was created in 2016 to combine programs that play a strategic role in APA’s interface with its members and in planning for the future. These programs include the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS), the Office on Early Career Psychologists, the Center for Organizational Excellence, Staff Initiatives, and Convention and Meetings Services. In addition, OSP staffs the Policy and Planning Board and maintains the APA Council Policy Manual. As a group, OSP is focused on innovation, collaboration and teamwork.

This was a memorable year. APA brought together two groups composed of the next generation of psychologists — APAGS and the Office on Early Career Psychologists — in one office for the first time, with the opportunity to help shape APA for the 21st century and the needs of future psychologists. The Center for Organizational Excellence continued to shine a light on what it takes to create healthy, high-performing work environments. We also organized a highly successful convention in Denver, where thousands of attendees engaged in discussions that move the discipline forward.


The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) aspires to achieve the highest quality graduate training experience for the next generation of scientific innovators, expert practitioners and visionary leaders in psychology. APAGS has a three-tiered strategic plan to help guide its activities: end the internship crisis — APAGS advocates for an APA-accredited internship for each student from an APA-accredited doctoral program; create powerful training opportunities for scientists; and create a culture of leadership in psychology.

Through APAGS’ sustained advocacy and the collaborative effort of many stakeholders, significant progress was made in 2016 in addressing the internship crisis: For the first time in at least 20 years, there were more internship positions (3,800) offered than registered applicants (3,725). Another of APAGS’ initiatives in 2016 was the creation of the APAGS Leadership Institute to support the development of graduate students who aspire to become leaders in psychology. To spread our message more effectively, we increased our social media presence through our APAGS Facebook page, APAGS Twitter account and the gradPSYCH blog.

Connect with APAGS Today

Early Career Psychologists

Established in May 2016, the Office on Early Career Psychologists was fortunate to engage Eddy Ameen, PhD, as its first director, who brings years of experience with APAGS. The office seeks to be a hub where early career psychologists (ECPs) can connect, learn and grow professionally in the first 10 years after attaining their graduate degree. The office supports the policy and issue directives of the seven-member Committee on Early Career Psychologists, centralizing APA’s diverse resources for ECPs, developing new resources to help our members thrive and highlighting the importance of ECPs in APA’s mission.

The office and committee worked steadily in 2016 to advance the needs of psychologists, particularly in terms of postdocs, licensure, mobility and specialty training. As the field begins to have groundbreaking conversations in these areas, we are bringing important data and constituent voices to bear on the future of psychology. ECPs collaborated with APAGS on penning members’ concerns regarding the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards’ (ASPPB) proposed Step 2 licensure exam. We also collaborated with APAGS’ Leadership Institute, pairing five students with five ECPs for a yearlong experiment in project-based leadership development.

Organizational Excellence

The APA Center for Organizational Excellence incorporates the long-standing Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program with a broader scope of promoting employee well-being and enhancing organizational performance, both at APA and for the public. To identify emerging issues and trends in the U.S. workforce, the center conducts two national surveys: Work and Well-Being, which shows the importance senior leadership support plays in workplace wellness initiatives; and Politics in the Workplace, which looks at the effect of political talk in the workplace during the presidential campaign. These surveys, combined with other outreach efforts, help increase public awareness of the benefits psychology brings to the setting where adults spend a majority of their waking hours — the workplace.

The center recognized six top organizations as Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award winners. These award-winning companies demonstrate how the psychologically healthy workplace model supports a healthy, high-performing work environment.


The Convention and Meeting Services office plans and manages the APA Annual Convention. In 2016, the convention, held in Denver for the first time, attracted 10,891 attendees — up 25 percent since 2015. We created and implemented a highly successful strategic and tactical marketing plan to promote the convention via print, digital and social media. A similar visual branding and targeted messaging approach will be used in 2017 in Washington, D.C., with expanded focus on social media communications.

The office handles contract negotiations and logistical arrangements for all of APA’s off-site meetings and conferences. Staff also work closely with division program chairs each year to continuously improve their skill sets and understanding of the goals of collaborative programming and to provide opportunities for cross-divisional interaction to stimulate novel program offerings.

APA Convention Keynote 2016

Staff Initiatives

Staff Initiatives (SI) develops and implements programs and policies that enhance the work experience of APA employees and create an environment supporting motivation, recognition, wellness and engagement. Philanthropic efforts in 2016 included seven “Go Casual for Charity” days, raising $9,113, as well as food and item drives, bake sales, and financial contributions. More than 375 employees participated in one of the 15 weekly wellness programs. To reward staff for their hard work and commitment this year, SI offered employees a free massage, healthy snacks and treats at the end of the year.

SI organized and implemented Active Week, the All Hands staff meeting, a new daily update called APA Today, stairwell “ambushes” (employees caught taking the stairs were surprised with $100), Healthy Hour, Customer Service Week, Recognition Day, two employee newsletters and the staff awards program.