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13th Annual Meeting - Austin, TX

Future Opportunities in Education and Research in Clinical Health Psychology (CHP)

Day 1. 

The 2020 Annual Midwinter Meeting of CCHPTP, held in Austin, TX January 19-20, 2020, was focused on two current issues that have potential impact on CHP training: master’s level training/accreditation and the use/misuse of research results in informing the public about treatment effects. 

Cathi Grus, PhD APA Acting Chief Education Officer presented an excellent talk on current trends and their implications for training.  She reviewed trends in the U.S. population (e.g., aging of the population, increased diversity), education (e.g., technology, competency based education), the psychology workforce, and healthcare (e.g., triple aim, value-based care, interprofessional collaboration).  She then elaborated on some implications such as the opportunity for psychology to advance psychological training at the master’s level and highlighted the current status of APA efforts toward master’s program accreditation.  Much is currently in process with some deadlines for reports from key APA committees due this spring. The decision has been made that the APA Commission on Accreditation will accredit master’s level training and thus efforts are ongoing to distinguish masters from doctoral level competencies.   Slides Part 1  Slides Part 2

This was the theme of Jason Washburn’s, stimulating and sometimes controversial talk.  He has been an active participant (e.g. on the Blueprint Committee) in the APA process of  considering the impact of master’s level training and accreditation and its effect on doctoral training.  He presented some ongoing efforts by related organizations (ABCT) to identify the core competencies of health service psychology that could be acquired in a two year master’s degree program (e.g., Masters HSP Practitioner). He also offered additional implications as they might effect doctoral level training, at the program, internship and postdoctoral levels.  This lead to informative debate and discussion with reactions from a variety of perspectives. He also offered that APA has placed a sense of urgency on moving this process along quickly.  This was helpful to know as most of the future implications are currently unclear and yet have the potential for significant impact on HSP training.   

Robert Kaplan, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Stanford presented a very stimulating and enlightening presentation on his current work focused on the effects of publication bias, hidden data and selective reporting of treatment trial results on the public’s estimates of treatment benefits.  Much of his presentation comes from his most recent book, More than Medicine:  The Broken Promise of American Health.  His presentation was followed by discussion, questions and important implications for training CHPs with a particular emphasis on the importance of CHPs science, research and analytics training.  Throughout his talk it was noted that the scientist emphasis in the doctoral degree in clinical psychology prepares psychologists well to review, critique and effectively challenge reported treatment results.  Few other health care professionals are as well prepared to do so!  Slides

Day 2. 

The second day of the conference began with an excellent, passionate and empirically-informed presentation by Jennifer Callahan (PhD, Univ of North Texas) titled competency assessment 2020 and beyond.  Dr. Callahan combined her work on competency assessment with the themes of Day 1 (master’s level training & “unpacking” the marketing of treatment effects) emphasizing that future competency based training and assessment be informed by data.  She reviewed her, and others recent work that provides an empirical basis for the acquisition of health service psychology competencies, noting how some competencies are easier than others to acquire.  This data could be used as an empirical basis for distinguishing masters and doctoral level training.  She encouraged all attending to use their competency assessment data to continue this line of research utilizing data to guide decisions about training and competency acquisition.  She also connected Dr. Kaplan’s talk from day 1 with the current development of the Enhanced EPPP process.  She first reviewed the ASPPB process of developing the Enhanced EPPP, noting both strengths and significant weaknesses (e.g., distinguishing between validity and validation) and noting how, as with Dr. Kaplan’s approach to “unpacking the marketing” of treatment effects,  CCHPTP members (and other key stakeholders) need to be informed of the marketing efforts of ASPPB regarding the Enhanced EPPP.  She encouraged attendees to become informed and involved at their local/state level regarding the Enhanced EPPP.  Slides

Day 2 concluded with small work groups addressing relevant questions about how these issues and their implications may impact their local context (doctoral program, internship or postdoc).  

Don Nicholas

Co-Program Chair