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From the Membership Committee

June 26, 2024

The IPA Membership Committee works hard each year to pursue three driving goals of recruitment, retention, and connection. Current committee members include:
Ashley Banta, IPA Student Representative
Angelica Castro Bueno, Student Liaison from Diversity and Social Justice Committee
Alissa Doobay, PhD, Co-Chair
Suzanne Hull, IPA Executive Director 
Nicole Keedy, PhD, Co-Chair
Jenna Paternostro, PhD, Liaison to Early Career Psychologists Committee
David VanHorn, PhD, Committee Member

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The Gift of IPA Membership

As we quickly approach the IPA renewal date, the Membership Committee would like to highlight a few of the many benefits of membership in this outstanding association.

Our association celebrated another strong year in 2023 and our membership numbers have remained robust. As of January 28, we have 304 members, 52 of whom are student members (quite an accomplishment – IPA has typically maintained a total 30-40 student members in recent history). In fact, IPA was recognized by APA for being one of the states with the highest proportion of licensed psychologists choosing to join their state psychological association - this is a testament to the wonderful community you all provide to psychologists across the state! Student membership has flourished since implementation of our Student Mentorship and Sponsored Student programs; thank you to those who responded to our recent call for sponsored student donations! IPA has continued to offer excellent professional development opportunities to members, including a fabulous spring wellness retreat called “Taking Care of Us,” our fall conference on Therapeutic Assessment, and additional trainings on Providing Affirming Care for Gender Diverse Youth, Ethics and Risk Management, and Clinical Psychopharmacology, among others. Members can access a wide variety of recorded trainings from this past year through our website. After the renewal process has ended, all renewed members will receive their annual code for four free online CEs to use in 2024! 

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Top 5 Reasons Students Should Join IPA

Hello, fellow psychology students! My name is Ashley Banta, and I’m the IPA Student Division Representative-Elect. I am eager to advocate for psychology doctoral students in Iowa. Today, I have the top FIVE reasons you should join IPA! 

The first reason is networking. Student members have rich opportunities to make professional relationships. Everyone gets paired with a practicing psychologist mentor. These mentors can give you important information about practicum opportunities and future internship sites. Even if you don’t intend to stay in Iowa, you can learn from these mentors and take the culture of “Iowa Nice” out into the wider world!  I have personally benefitted from the connections that I have made with other IPA members. 

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Membership Update July 2023

The IPA Membership Committee comprises a group of committed and creative members whose efforts center around three driving goals of recruitment, retention, and connection. This blog post serves to provide a summary of recent membership trends and much-appreciated efforts by the Membership Committee to maintain a trend of growth. Current committee members include:

Ashley Banta                      IPA Student Representative-Elect
Angelica Castro Bueno      Student Liaison from Diversity and Social Justice Committee
Alissa Doobay, PhD           Co-Chair
Eric Field                            IPA Student Representative
Suzanne Hull                     IPA Executive Director
Nicole Keedy, PhD            Co-Chair
Jenna Paternostro, PhD    Liaison to Early Career Psychologists Committee
David VanHorn, PhD         Newly Welcomed Committee Member

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Renew Your IPA Membership



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Letters from the Membership Committee

The following letter was sent to in-state and out-of-state licensees who have been licensed since September 1, 2021. We're publishing here to remind everyone of the great benefits included in your membership. Also, you can share this blog post with anyone you know who you think should consider membership in IPA! A huge thank you to the Membership Committee (co-chaired by Dr. Nicole Keedy and Dr. Alissa Doobay) with a special thank you to Dr. Jody Jones for constructing and updating our recruitment letters to keep IPA thriving. 

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National Preparedness Month

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? In 2004, September was declared National Preparedness Month to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. September was chosen because September is the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season and is historically linked to the September 11th attacks in 2001. 

About the Disaster Response Committee: The IPA Disaster Response Committee was created in January 2022 to increase involvement by Iowa psychologists in disaster-related mental health issues. Initial committee efforts included establishing the committee, identifying goals and scope, and establishing partnerships with local disaster-response organizations as well as relevant IPA committees. Specifically, providing Iowa psychologists with training and education in disaster mental health is a key initiative of the committee. Over the past nine months, we have provided resources to members following the Winterset tornado, the Ames Cornerstone Church shooting, and the Uvalde shooting. To be more prepared for future events, the DRC compiled and published a comprehensive resource list covering several types of disasters. 

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Membership Update 2022

As Co-Chairs of the Membership Committee, we were recently forwarded correspondence by Dr. Bethe Lonning, IPA’s Director of Professional Affairs, that she received from Dr. Lawrence Perlman, Member at Large for APA’s Division 31 (Division for State, Provincial, and Territorial Psychological Association Affairs). Dr. Perlman requested updated information regarding IPA’s membership numbers. In the message, Dr. Perlman stated that his research of state associations found Iowa to have notably high success for recruiting and retaining members with a budget of our size, which he labeled a “remarkable achievement.” He intended to highlight IPA’s accomplishments in a Division 31 presentation at APA’s annual convention.  Dr. Doobay provided the following totals for each membership type to Dr. Perlman, as of August 1, 2022: 

Full Member: 147
Academic:     9
Advocacy-Exempt:     9
Early Career Psychologist:   18
Student Member:   39
Lifetime/retired:   44
Out-of-State:   10
Associate:     6
Total IPA Members: 282

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Updates to the IPA Blog

Although Spring hasn’t quite sprung yet in Iowa, we are in a season of change for the IPA blog! In response to feedback from our members, we’ve made a couple changes.

Having to take that extra step to log in was prohibitive in accessing our content. As of today, the blog is now available without having to log in. This will make it easier to go directly to the posts that interest you and will make it easier to share links to posts. Please note, this also makes blog posts visible on search engines and to the public.

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IPA Service: Get a Great Return on Your Investment

The Membership Committee strives to increase member participation in activities that promote the IPA mission and Strategic Plan. A primary Membership Committee objective is to assist IPA’s standing committees in reaching their desired capacities. Over the past year, our Finance, Psychopharmacology, and Diversity and Social Justice committees have benefitted from the participation of some of the newest IPA members, including student members. This effort has been greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, the majority of IPA committees continue to seek members.

The success of IPA requires each of us to consider how we can best contribute to the association. Prior to serving initially as Co-Chair of the Membership Committee and now, additionally, as President-Elect of IPA, I recall declining repeated requests to increase participation in the association, explaining that my time was too limited. Upon reflection, however, I recognized that IPA only functions as an association due to the volunteerism of a number of dedicated members who ensure that we are able to successfully organize and advocate for the profession of psychology and the well-being of the Iowans we serve.

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The Value of IPA Membership

January is often a time of reflection, prioritization, and rededication to what brings the most value and meaning to our lives. We all have finite time, energy, and resources, and we know the importance of being intentional about how we expend those. Throughout the year, it is easy to get caught up in a multitude of tasks, engagements, and responsibilities, some of which may drain rather than replenish us. This January, I am recommitting to tasks, activities, organizations, and relationships that match my personal values and bring joy and meaning to my life, and I invite you to do the same. 

Being a member of IPA and serving in a leadership role in this organization are excellent ways to develop community, gain leadership and advocacy experience, serve others, and advance the psychological wellbeing of the people of Iowa. I will acknowledge that, although I have been a member of IPA for more than 15 years, it was not until I joined leadership that I really began developing relationships with other IPA members. By serving as co-chair of the Membership Committee, I have had the pleasure of getting to know so many of our fabulous members who are doing amazing work throughout the state. I am so grateful for that opportunity!

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What does IPA do for you?

The Iowa Psychological Association (IPA) has been working diligently on your behalf to promote and advocate for the science and practice of psychology in Iowa. In the past year we’ve made significant progress toward many of our key initiatives and we continue to work tirelessly for all licensed psychologists in our state. In this letter we will provide some updates regarding IPA’s recent advocacy work and victories, recognize IPA psychologist leaders, provide updates regarding strategic plan initiatives, and highlight upcoming continuing education opportunities.  

IPA’s advocacy efforts have been in overdrive the past 18 months. IPA’s Advocacy Team includes the State Advocacy Coordinator (Paul Ascheman, PhD), Federal Advocacy Coordinator (JoAnna Romero Cartaya, PhD), IPA Training Director (Matt Cooper, PsyD), and IPA Lobbyist (Amy Campbell). The newest member of the IPA Advocacy Team is Dr. Bethe Lonning, IPA’s Director of Professional Affairs (DPA). Dr. Lonning has done an excellent job in her unique role which includes advocating for the needs of psychologists regarding the professional practice of psychology and serving as a liaison between IPA and professional associations, governmental agencies, Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), private insurance agencies, and other institutions. Dr. Lonning has been a trailblazer during her inaugural year as DPA. She has served as an invaluable resource for many Iowa psychologists regarding issues related to insurance reimbursement, CPT codes, payer credentialing, and Medicare and telehealth guidelines. IPA is also grateful for the support of the Iowa Psychological Foundation who provided a generous grant to help fund the DPA position and Dr. Lonning’s work.  

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Spotlight on Graduate Students

Since the restarting of the School Psychology graduate program at University of Iowa in Fall 2020, a portion of the first cohort got involved with IPA. Our first spotlight on graduate student members includes Vanessa Chahin, Eric Field, and Gennifer Humphreys, who are all entering their second year in the new program.

What made you want to join IPA?

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From the Membership Committee

I could not be more pleased as I review the membership trends that Dr. Alissa Doobay, Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, diligently updated this year to allow continued tracking of the committee’s outcomes. Two trends immediately captured my attention. First, we experienced the greatest one-year increase in the total number of members, primarily driven by the largest one-year increase in full members with advocacy since we began tracking in 2000. Second, we experienced an increase in student members that returned us to our 2019 number, after a significant drop in student membership from 2019 to 2020 that appeared to be associated with the unfortunate cancellation of the 2020 spring conference. Additionally, we celebrated robust retention across all membership categories this year.

The Membership Committee has implemented a number of tactics in line with the committee’s overarching Strategic Plan goals of Connection, Recruitment, and Retention that have assisted in promoting the notable increases in membership numbers. Additionally, a number of initiatives from IPA’s Executive Council and our fabulous committees have been instrumental in promoting connection, recruitment, and retention.

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Benefits of the IPA Student Mentorship Program

The IPA Membership Committee launched the Student Mentorship program in the Fall of 2020. The primary goal of this program is to increase student engagement in IPA early in their doctoral training by building relationships between current members and doctoral students in psychology training programs. An additional goal for this program is to promote professional endeavors of students and interns within the state of Iowa through their increased engagement. All student members of IPA are provided with the opportunity to be connected with a mentor. At present, IPA has 30 student members, and 35 IPA members have volunteered to serve as mentors.

Over the past month, mentors and mentees participating in this program were invited to share about their experiences, both to highlight the benefits, as well as to identify aspects of the program that may need some reworking. Thank you to those of you who responded!

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What Does IPA Membership Mean to You?

As I reflect on the lessons learned in 2020, what stands out most is a renewed sense of what is truly important to me. The initial images of 2020 may be filled with loss, grief, incredulity, horror, and discontent. However, my memories of 2020 are brightened by quality time spent with immediate family, Zoom meetings with friends and colleagues, home cooked meals, family game nights, handwritten cards, and care packages. While some previously taken-for-granted conveniences and social opportunities were certainly missed, I developed a greater appreciation for the connections I have with the special people in my life. For me, connection was the key to surviving 2020.

The opportunities IPA provided for connection with colleagues this past year have been invaluable. Through connection, support, and collaboration with IPA colleagues, I have commiserated, laughed, and learned. I was so grateful for the Zoom support meetings while I was trying to figure out how to convert our clinic to telehealth services. I grew as a person and clinician through the conversations, trainings, and book clubs led by the Diversity and Social Justice Committee. I earned CEs from incredible psychologists and legal advisors within the state and across the nation. IPA’s advocacy efforts were instrumental in reducing financial strain for my clinic. Over the past year, IPA has offered rich opportunities for community and connection among its members, and IPA will continue to offer those opportunities in the coming year.

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