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Disaster Response Committee: History and Current Activities

On behalf of the Disaster Response Committee, we would like to share some information about our work over the past couple of years. Although IPA had a Disaster Response Coordinator in the past, that position had been vacant for several years prior to the formation of this committee in January 2022. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it highlighted the need for a committee dedicated to supporting IPA members and the Iowa public in times of crisis or disaster. 

Since January 2022, we have worked to establish the scope and goals of the committee and explored how we can best serve IPA. We identified free training resources and encouraged members to obtain training in Psychological First Aid. For psychologists who are able to take a more active disaster response role, we provided information on volunteering with the Red Cross in the area of disaster mental health. The Red Cross continues to have a crucial need for volunteers who are licensed mental health providers. 

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2024 Phil Laughlin Award for Meritorious Service

At the awards ceremony during the Iowa Psychological Association (IPA) Spring Conference in Cedar Rapids on March 23, 2024, Dr. Benjamin Tallman was presented with the Phil Laughlin Meritorious Achievement Award. Many in attendance were moved in hearing both Dr. Tallman's nomination and in his acceptance remarks. While his acceptance was offered extemporaneously at the ceremony, he was kind enough to reproduce his sentiments below. 

First, IPA would like to publicly share Dr. Tallman's nomination submitted by Alissa Doobay, Ph.D., Sam L. Graham, Ph.D., Sarah Fetter, Ph.D., Nicole Holmberg, Ph.D., Nicole H. Keedy, Ph.D., and Valerie J. Keffala, Ph.D., ABPP.  

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IPA Receives Small State Operational Grant from APA Services

IPA Leaders are excited to share with you the letter we received from APA Services:

We are pleased to inform you that APA Services has awarded the Iowa Psychological Association a Small State Operational Grant in the amount of $15,000 to help fund the salary for the Executive Director or to support the cost of hiring an association management firm.

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ISU Counseling Psychology Reunion on the 50th Anniversary of APA Accreditation

On October 28th, several IPA members attended a reunion at Iowa State University to honor the Counseling Psychology Program on its 50th anniversary of APA Accreditation. This event was the first reunion hosted by the department in over 20 years and was spearheaded by ISU Professor of Psychology and Associate Chair, Dr. Nathaniel Wade. The day’s events began with an open house in Lagomarcino Hall. Attendees toured the building, connected with former students and faculty members, and socialized at Della Viti Wine Bar in Ames.

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2023 Ann Ernst Public Service Award

At the IPA Fall Conference on October 6, Dr. Bethe Lonning was presented with the Ann Ernst Public Service Award. This award honors a psychologist who has made, on a pro bono basis, significant contributions of a psychological nature that have benefited society as a whole. The contribution(s) may have been a single major contribution or reflect a consistent history of volunteer service to the community at large.

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From Cows to Values Integrity: Takeaways from the IPA Spring Conference Day 2

This is the second of two blog posts detailing the Iowa Psychological Association's two-day Spring Conference, which occurred April 28-29, 2023.

The Iowa Psychological Association Spring 2023 conference was unlike any other professional meeting I had ever attended! I knew it would be a unique day as I drove to the event from my home in Des Moines. Navigating across parts of Iowa I had never visited with vast farmland and small-towns drifting by, I was deep in thought about the future of our state. Not far from the venue, I turned too early and encountered a herd of cows in a field, with beautiful rolling hills and tiny gravel roads in the distance. I definitely wasn’t in Colorado anymore!

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National Gun Violence Awareness Day - History and Local Events

As you may be aware, June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month. More specifically, the ninth annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day will take place on June 2nd, 2023. 

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2023 Spring Conference Awards Ceremony

Several awards were presented on April 29, 2023 during lunch at the Spring Conference. Read on to learn more about the well-deserved recipients. 

Phil Laughlin Meritorious Achievement Award

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Practice Leadership Conference - Part 1

The American Psychological Association's Practice Leadership Conference occurs and annually per the APA website "is the premier event for APA and SPTA leaders to co-create transformational impact for the psychology profession and critical societal issues." The 2023 conference occurred at the beginning of March and several IPA members were in attendance. 

Our student representative-elect, Ashley Banta attended the conference. She said, "I attended APA's Practice & SPTA Leadership Conference last week in D.C. I was very inspired by this conference, so I filmed a short video discussing my three takeaways. Please take a few minutes to watch the video below. Fun fact: I filmed it in front of the Lincoln Memorial."  Ashley also encouraged members to reflect on their whywhy are you studying to become a psychologist or why are you a psychologist? You can view Ashley's video here

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The Psychology of Mass Shooters

Violence in communities from mass attacks is a growing problem in the United States. Since the beginning of 2023 the number of incidents of gun violence in the United States against groups of individuals has risen significantly, with an average of more than one gun violence act per day. As of this writing, there have been 130 incidents of mass shootings in 29 states (for specific information about incidents this year see:

In January, 2023, the IPA Disaster Response Committee urged IPA members to attend a 3-hour training to learn from psychologist Dr. Peter Langman about The Minds, Lives and Motivations of Mass Attackers. Along with 2000 others, I participated in the training hosted by the Pennsylvania Psychological Association and the Council of Executives and Provincial Psychological Associations (CESPPA) organization. Dr. Langman shared his research on the dynamics of mass violence. While he believes that “no one profile for a perpetrator” exists, he shared some of the knowledge he has gleaned from his research into perpetrators of mass violence. On behalf of the Disaster Response Committee, I am sharing with you some of what he taught us.

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Join IPA Leadership: Enjoy the Rewards of Leadership and Service

Flowstate Health is a behavioral health services company operating in Iowa and Nebraska. We are a collaborative team of mental health professionals providing medication evaluation and management, psychotherapy, crisis evaluation, and other services for adults and seniors. Full- and part-time positions available for onsite and telehealth work for licensed providers.

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In Remembrance of Victims of Gun Violence on the 10th Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Mass Shooting

Today, December 14th, marks the 10-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The shooting took place in Newtown, Connecticut, and resulted in the deaths of 6 adults and 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 years old. It marks the deadliest mass shooting at an elementary school in U.S. history. The deadliest school shooting in history occurred at Virginia Tech University on 4/16/2007 and resulted in 33 dead and 17 injured. Horrifically, mass shootings have continued to increase over the past several years and take place in a variety of locations beyond the school setting. 

More recently was the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs that has been deemed a hate crime targeting the LGBTQ+ community and resulted in the deaths of five people and dozens injured. A recent Press Release from APA noted, “The mass shooting in Colorado Springs followed the horrific attacks at the University of Virginia, a drumbeat that continues without fail. In November alone, there have been at least 27 reported mass shootings with more than 40 victims dead.”

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Disaster Response Resources

The recent shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, along with Thursday's shooting at Cornerstone Church in Ames, IA, leave us all struggling to cope with the violence that impacts our community. These tragic events only serve to exacerbate the effects of the ongoing pandemic and the war in Ukraine. For more details on Thursday's shooting in Ames, IA, please reference this CNN article.
If you are seeking resources to assist clients, parents, educators, and community members who are attempting to make sense of these recent events, please refer to the Google Doc sent out via the IPA listserv last week following the Uvalde shooting. A few resources have been added including general resources for providers. The list is also pasted below.
If you need additional support or assistance, please feel free to backchannel me here.
General Resources
  • Disaster Distress Helpline (SAMHSA)

    • The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.

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IPA Awards Ceremony 2022

The annual awards ceremony occurred on April 5, 2022, in conjunction with the IPA Spring Conference in Des Moines. 

The IPA Phil Laughlin Meritorious Achievement Award is intended to honor an IPA member for outstanding service to the association. All IPA members are eligible to be considered for this award except those currently serving on the IPA Executive Council. The 2022 award was presented to Dr. Kevin Krumvieda, who was nominated by Dr. Karen Nelson:  

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Staying Mentally Healthy in the Holiday Season

This blog first appeared on the PSYowa blog, a public education blog that can be shared on social media or emailed to friends and family. The link for the public post is found here

Holidays are often sources of joy, connection, and celebration for people all over the world. However, we sometimes forget that they can also be reminders of painful losses and loneliness. Even before the pandemic the holidays were often sources of stress for many of us. With the pandemic impacting all of our lives in many ways, holidays haven’t looked like they used to. We have had to connect with loved ones through nursing homes and hospital windows, we’ve had to Facetime friends and family when we normally would’ve joined in person, and many of us have lost friends and family members who have been an important part of our holidays. For some, the holidays will continue to be very different this year. Dealing with this ongoing disruption in the traditions we hold dear can lead to struggles with our well-being and our mental health. 

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Learn More about the Iowa Psychological Foundation

For more than 25 years, the Iowa Psychological Foundation (IPF) has existed as a non-profit organization to raise funds to benefit psychology in Iowa. IPF is a 501c3, so your donations are tax deductible (unlike IPA, which is not eligible for non-profit status because some of its funds pay a lobbyist). 

In a nutshell, IPF’s 8-member board raises money then gives it away. We hope you will consider donating through the webpage or by supporting the upcoming auction at the Spring Conference. 

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IPA Awards Ceremony

On April 10, 2021, IPA virtually held its annual awards ceremony following the Saturday morning session of the Spring Conference, which can be viewed in full here. After the introduction and announcements from President Valeria Keffala, Past-President Benge Tallman began the ceremony by thanking various members who had ended their terms of service in 2019 and 2020:

Ending 2019:

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Meet your IPA Representatives!

Today’s blog post features introductions from IPA’s two representatives. Per IPA’s policies and procedures, we have three representatives elected to serve as voting members of the Executive Council (EC). The responsibilities of these members are to represent the general membership of IPA and act as liaison to members by inviting their input, conveying their requests to council, responding to their requests, and encouraging their continued support of IPA. They also help to identify and recruit prospective members. Representatives are elected to 3-year terms where they will serve as First Year Rep, Second Year Rep, and Third Year Rep; each year has different responsibilities.

If you are interested in serving as an IPA Representative, contact a current representative or any other member of the EC.

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Tribute to Dave McEchron

Today's blog features a tribute to Dr. Dave McEchron, a longtime member of IPA. Part of his public obituary and some of the tributes from psychologists he worked with over the years of his long career also contributed. 

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Serving on the Iowa Board of Psychology

Interested in serving the profession? Enjoy thinking broadly about rules and processes and how to make things work effectively? Willing to make difficult, high-stakes decisions in order to ensure that the public is protected from incompetent or unethical behavior from psychologists? Tolerant of paperwork and meetings? Interested in connecting with colleagues you might not otherwise meet? You should consider applying to serve on the Iowa Board of Psychology! (It occurs to me that I’ve made Board service sound really dry – it’s actually not, it feels more like a group of passionate people getting together to talk about how to ensure that Iowans have access to high-quality, effective care from psychologists.)

My favorite part of serving on the Iowa Board of Psychology has been the opportunity to develop a broader understanding of how the profession functions. The Board is charged with regulating the practice of psychology in the state, which includes establishing rules around licensure and granting licenses, establishing rules that govern the practice of psychology and expectations around standard of care, and reviewing complaints filed against psychologists. The central guiding principle of the board is the protection of the public by promoting ethical, competent practice by psychologists.

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