Statement for Members of Division 28
Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse
Mary Ann McCabe, Ph.D., ABPP
Candidate for APA President-Elect
Serving as President of APA would be a continuation of my life's work – which has been promoting psychology and breaking down silos. I was the first in my family to graduate from college, and I have acquired rich training and experience in psychology because of hard work and opportunity. I am a clinical psychologist and have held leadership roles in science, education, and public policy. I have a longstanding record – both inside APA and other organizations - of working on interests beyond my own and for fostering collaboration and consensus.
I have learned that in every crisis there really is opportunity. We have several before us, including the health and mental health effects and inequities of the pandemic and racial trauma (with rising rates of addiction). Never in our lifetimes has psychology been poised to make such significant contributions to public wellbeing. Yet we need to showcase psychological science and practice that contributes to public health. We need to persist and partner to promote race and gender justice and equity. We need to promote psychology as a STEM science in K-12 education and collaborate with other disciplines to promote science literacy. We need to elevate psychological science as a hub discipline and expose students to the full range of subfields and careers in psychology. We need to support all teachers of psychology - who serve as our ambassadors. We need to advocate for funding basic and applied psychological science and innovation and harness technology. And we need to concentrate on growing a diverse psychology workforce and leadership pipeline and measure our progress.
As APA President, I would emphasize evidence-based, two-generation and culturally-responsive prevention across the lifespan. Based on our science, we know that what happens early in life – both positive and negative - affects adult health, communities, and society. This is especially true for the developmental trajectories for substance use disorders, where early environments, trauma, and brain development can constitute risk factors for substance abuse. I was fortunate to be introduced to this area of science and policy when I served as Director of the Office for Policy and Communications for the Society for Research in Child Development. I was heartened by the developmental emphasis, and the burgeoning science regarding the risk of addiction with exposure during adolescence, in my meetings with Dr. Volkow, Director of NIDA. This was reinforced during meetings of the Friends of NIDA coalition. A number prevention programs have been shown to be evidence-based or promising (See, for example, https://www.blueprintsprograms.org/program-search/?localPageSize=5000&programType%5B%5D=896&keywords=) and, increasingly, prevention programs for youth substance abuse are being subjected to study for cost:benefit ratios for state policy making (see, for example, https://www.wsipp.wa.gov/ReportFile/1562/Wsipp_Preventing-Youth-Substance-Use-A-Review-of-Thirteen-Programs_Report.pdf ). Prevention scientists in this area are partnering with neuroscientists, psychopharmacologists, and others in an effort to address, "What works best for whom, why, and under what circumstances." This work may gain further momentum since substance use disorders are a priority for the current U.S. Surgeon General.
In short, this is a critical time to shift our gaze to population health and prevention. APA will, of course, need to work across disciplines, sectors, and systems to promote and sustain funding for this science, grow policy support for prevention, and advocate for valid measurement of returns on investment to accommodate lifespan benefits.
I have earned a reputation, within and outside APA, as someone who is collaborative, hard-working, strategic, and who demonstrates integrity and respect for others. It is within our reach to enable a new generation to live healthier lives in a safer world. Thank you for your support.
William W. Stoops, Ph.D.
telephone: (859) 257-5383
Departments of Behavioral Science, Psychiatry and Psychology
Center on Drug and Alcohol Research
University of Kentucky
Regulatory Knowledge and Support Core-Center for Clinical and Translational Science
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