2017 Task Forces

APA Refugee Mental Health Resource Network Steering Committee

Chair: Elizabeth Carll | Vice-Chairs: Carl Auerbach and Betsy Gard

Forced migration due to wars, conflict, and persecution worldwide continues to unfold, with the number of people displaced within their country or having fled internationally has reached unprecedented levels recorded  by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  In response to this humanitarian crisis, an APA interdivisional initiative was developed to create a database of volunteer psychologists and mental health specialists as there does not appear to be a cadre of trained psychologists for services to the overwhelming numbers in need. This project will identify psychologists with experience working with immigrant populations in the US and abroad, as well as those interested in training, and conducting research. The database will include relevant organizations and agencies working with refugees and immigrant populations. This will enable volunteer psychologists and mental health providers to proved support to immigrant populations and agencies.  Webinars will be provided for volunteers in the database and information for additional training will be available. This project is an interdivisional initiative (Divisions 56, 35, 52, 55) supported in part by an APA interdivisional grant. Additional Divisions are welcome to collaborate.

Continuing Task Forces

Task Force on Addressing Trauma in General Medical Health Settings

Chair: Terri deRoon-Cassini

The impact that trauma can have on health has been well established; however, the incorporation of psychologists in medical settings to address trauma related issues and improve overall health has only now been developing. For example, there are only a few psychologists across the country who provide care to injured trauma survivors as integrated members of the medical team. The purpose of this task force is to evaluate the role of psychologists in multiple medical environments and develop job descriptions for psychologists in multiple medical departments. This will likely involve developing connections between APA Division 56 and those professional organizations (ie, American College of Surgeons) to discuss ways that psychologists could improve trauma focused care for specific populations of patients.

Task Force on Assessment of Trauma Sequelae

Chair: Judith Armstrong

This group will explore and identify the range of methods for assessment the sequelae of trauma in both children and adults, as well as assessment in international settings. A goal of this group is the development of comprehensive materials to guide psychologists conducting assessments in a range of settings.

Task Force on Child Trauma

Co-Chairs: Julian Ford and Carla Stover

This Task Force will identify, and as needed, develop informational materials for pre-professional trainees, as well as practicing psychology clinicians and researchers. The information produced will be based on current empirical knowledge related to the screening/assessment and treatment/prevention for post-traumatic stress impairment and resilience in children and caregivers.  The task force will collaborate with Division 56 task forces and committees addressing Practice and Education, Assessment of Trauma Sequelae, and Treatment of Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in order to develop value-added guidance and resources for educators, practicing clinicians, and researchers who want to be informed about the latest developments in the traumatic stress field related to children (from infancy through adolescence) and caregivers (including kin, adoptive, foster, as well as birth parents and other primary caregivers). Resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network will also be accessed through task force members' active involvement in that Network as Center directors and lead faculty.  Informational materials for policymakers designed to increase awareness of and support for psychological services and research designed to better the lives of traumatized children and their caregivers and families also will be developed.

Task Force on Developing Web-Based Trauma Psychology Resources

Co-Charis: Vanessa Simiola and Amy Ellis

This Task Force is responsible for executing a recently awarded Committee on Division/APA Relations (CODAPAR) grant in collaboration with Divisions 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology), 20 (Adult Development and Aging), 27 (Society for Community Research and Action: Division of Community Psychology), 33 (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities/Autism Spectrum Disorders), 44 (Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues), 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race), and 53 (Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology) to create web-based, empirically-informed materials (e.g., printable fact sheets, videos, and suggested reading lists) on trauma and its impact in underserved health priority populations. These resources will be designed to serve as valuable resources for clinicians, researchers, and the public. This project will help to meet APA's goal of educating professionals and the public about psychology's role in health and well-being.

Task Force on Facilitating Male Trauma Survivors’ Meaningful Involvement in Health Research

Co-Chair: Christopher Anderson and Joan Cook

The goal of this task force is engage male sexual abuse survivors and researchers in a participatory and inclusive dialogue about health care research. Survivors and researchers will share their perspectives on important research topics, relevance of outcomes, how results can best be applied, and barriers to engagement.This project will generate relevant research priorities and testable questions with the intent to improve both the quality of research into male victimization issues and also the participation of male survivors in that research.

Task Force on Meeting the Needs of Veterans in the Community

Co-Chairs: Sonya Norman and Jessica Hamblen

This task Force will work to identify specific knowledge, skills, and abilities recommended for effectively treating Veterans in the community. A goal of this task force is to develop a comprehensive list of resources for psychologists treating Veterans, including on-line trainings, educational materials, written and web-based materials to share with Veterans and their family members, and consultative resources.

Task Force on Practice and Education

Co-Chairs: Bethany Brand and Janna Henning

This presidential task force aims to improve education about trauma-related topics. Its current specific project is to examine the content of undergraduate and graduate psychology textbooks for accuracy, adequacy, and breadth of coverage of trauma-related topics. The task force will educate the textbook publishers, authors, educators, students, and the public about the trauma-related content in textbooks, with the aim of improving information about trauma in undergraduate and graduate textbooks. The task force will publicly honor the textbook that provides the best and most accurate coverage of trauma with an award for excellence in teaching about trauma. Finally, the task force will share trauma-related research and resources with textbook publishers and authors, as well as educators and students.

Task Force on Treatment of Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Chair: Christine Courtois

This group is a collaborative effort with the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. The goal of this task force is to provide practicing clinicians and other health professionals guidance on the treatment of complex posttraumatic conditions that result from repetitive and chronic interpersonal trauma over the lifespan, specifically but not limited to developmental trauma beginning in childhood. Watch the division listservs and social sites for announcements, as the guidelines will be available in 2016.