I hope you are all well in these very strange times. Given the COVID pandemic, recent political and social events, and weather disasters, I know many of us feel discouraged to say the least. The continuing disruptions to practice, research, teaching, learning, and life in general are difficult and can be overwhelming. Please take care and keep well. Given the circumstances of the past year, I’m amazed at what has been achieved by SoAP members, officers, and committees. I’m grateful for the hard work by everyone who has been involved in making SoAP a vibrant and successful organization. Thank you!
I’d like to call your attention to the 9th annual Collaborative Perspectives on Addiction conference that will be held virtually on Wednesday, March 17th through Friday, March 19th (Collaborative Perspectives on Addiction Annual Meeting | Society of Addiction Psychology). Since its inception in 2013, CPA has been a preeminent venue for the dissemination of information about advances in practice and research in Addiction Psychology. This year’s theme is Substance Use and Addictive Behaviors Across the Lifespan. In addition to a virtual poster session highlighting research advances by our membership and a mentoring lunch, the conference features keynote speakers Dr. Sara Jo Nixon and Dr. Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin and a Q&A session with Dr. George Koob, NIAAA Director, that is moderated by Dr. Katie Witkiewitz. I especially draw your attention to a panel discussion on Diversity and Inclusion in Addictions Research: A Discussion about Challenges and Solutions that will be moderated by Dr. Jessica Perrote and Dr. Fiona Conway and brings together an outstanding group of presenters. This panel focuses on important issues facing our field, as well as our country more broadly. I look forward to hearing this discussion. I strongly encourage you to register for CPA and to attend the many excellent sessions that are planned for the conference. Thank you to the 2021 CPA Committee for planning this amazing conference.
Other recent developments of note include an expansion of the student grants to include an award focused on diversity, inclusion, and equity research. Plans are also developing for an award recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in addictions practice and research. I thank the Awards Committee and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for spearheading these efforts. I believe these new initiatives reflect the values of SoAP as an organization and psychology as a field.
We are also in process of revising the SoAP by-laws. The by-laws committee is chaired by Dr. Bruce Liese and consists of representatives from the Executive Committee and other SoAP committees. I thank these volunteers for taking on what is not an easy task. In addition to clarifying and updating the by-laws as needed, some new initiatives are being drafted, including expanding the membership categories to include individuals who are post-baccalaureate and working in the addictions field and chartering a new Student Committee to give more opportunities for students to become actively involved in SoAP. These changes, of course, must be approved by the Board, APA, and a vote of SoAP members, but I think they reflect the direction we should be taking to make SoAP a more welcoming and attractive home for students and other early career psychologists.
As you can tell, SoAP continues to thrive and move ahead despite COVID and everything that has been happening. None of this could happen, though, without the support and involvement of members who serve on committees and in other capacities on a volunteer basis. I again thank them for their support of the organization. I also encourage others, especially students, early career members, and members from groups that have been under-represented in SoAP governance to become involved. Please consider contacting me or committee chairs to explore opportunities become a more active member of SoAP.
Please stay well and keep safe. I look forward to “seeing” you at the CPA conference!