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Student Division Update

Hello from the Student Division. We are excited to give an update covering the last year’s events. First, I would like to start by introducing myself. My name is Bronwyn Neeser and I am a third year PsyD student at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. I was elected co-chair of the Student Division my first year in the program. My predecessor, C.J. Swanlund, left very large shoes to fill but am glad that I took on the challenge. I took my first year to learn what MPA is all about, how the association works, and what it can offer students.

Needless to say, I am honored to serve on the General Council. The way in which the council strives to have open and honest communication with the board and members--offering information, opportunities, and news--is impressive. I obtained a co-chair, Erika Brink, in January of 2017. She is also a third year PsyD Student at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Together, we decided that a mission statement and a revamp of goals would benefit the Student Division. Although we missed the opportunity to represent the division at the Annual MPA Convention, we look forward to participating in 2018.

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Rural and Greater Minnesota Division Update - April 30, 2017

The mission of the Rural and Greater Minnesota Division of the Minnesota Psychological Association is to enhance rural practice through advocacy, representation, and education. Rural psychological practice is highly rewarding as practitioners have a significant impact on their own communities and the state. Psychologists working in small communities are part of the first responders for critical incidents, emergencies, and the emotional well-being of rural residents. Rural psychologists often observe the direct impact of behavioral health services on their communities, while helping to maintain a productive rural workforce. It is this workforce that provides the agricultural and manufacturing resources that support larger cities in the state and nationally.

Recent Rural & Greater Minnesota Division activities include the on-going planning of the Rural Behavioral Health Conference by Coordinator Dr. Kay Slama, and co-chairs Dr. Scott Palmer and Dr. Willie Garrett. The conference is web-based and offers all practitioners rural-specific training. The conference is inexpensive and high value, with national speakers, for up to 7.5 CEs. Past training topics have included integrated behavioral healthcare ethics, substance abuse, GLBT, diversity and cultural minorities, suicide interventions, the Affordable Care Act, school based interventions, and military deployment and reintegration. Rural students and educators also present poster session research. Attendees cross seven time zones and offer diverse perspectives on rural practice. The next Rural Behavioral Health Conference is October 6, 2017.   

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New MPA Division: Psychologists in Healthcare Organizations (PHO)

The Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) is pleased to announce the formation of the new division, Psychologists in Healthcare Organizations (PHO). The PHO division was developed to serve as a resource for psychologists employed in health care settings or interested in working in health care settings, and to assist with the growth and integration of behavioral medicine services into medical practices, clinics, and centers.

The landscape of health care continues to change, and as part of it, delivering effective, yet affordable and safe health care has received greater emphasis. This has been a focus of both government agencies and the private sector alike. Behavioral medicine has attempted, with mixed results, to address this area for years by forging relationships with medical practices. In primary care settings, psychologists screen medical patients for mental health conditions and triage to appropriate mental health care. In neurology groups, psychologists assist with diagnosing patients and making treatment recommendations. In Sleep Centers, psychologists treat insomnia patients, in lieu of prescription sleep medications. Despite these additions, the overall integration of psychologists into medical centers has been slow, uneven, and mostly untapped.

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Marginalized Populations

The social revolution of the 1970s coined the word “marginalized” to describe the experiences of those who live on the fringe of mainstream America.  Such persons are systematically excluded from full participation in the American dream and consequently lack the self-efficacy to improve their life situation.  In the end, society pays the costs when people encounter barriers to achieving their potential.  The term marginalized has expanded from originally referring to minorities and persons from poverty, to include a long list of cultures and populations.  Here is a sample of the most common marginalized groups:

  • GLBT
  • Senior citizens
  • Racial/Cultural minorities
  • Military Combat Veterans
  • Persons of below average intelligence
  • Hearing, visually, and Physically  Challenged Persons
  • Persons with a serious and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI)
  • Persons with Cognitive Impairments
  • Gamblers and Substance Abusers
  • Autism Spectrum Persons
  • Gifted and Talented Persons
  • Persons with disfigurements
  • Persons Living in Poverty
  • Sex Offenders
  • The Homeless
  • Felons

While this is only a listing of those most commonly referred to as marginalized, there are other individual people who just do not fit into mainstream culture, and suffer the same consequences. Such persons are all around us but virtually invisible…unless they cause problems or disrupt the lifestyles of mainstream persons.

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Rural & Greater Psychologists: How They Connect, Protect, and Serve

Most psychologists practice in the seven county metro areas of Minnesota, where approximately half of the state’s five million-plus residents live. The other eighty counties represent the greater land area of the state, where the population is more dispersed and people live in smaller or rural communities with fewer mental health providers and services. The psychologists in rural and greater Minnesota are a hidden and valuable resource who not only provide high-quality behavioral health services to their communities, but in many ways benefit the entire state.

Rural and greater psychologists are quite resourceful, but may face considerable challenges such as longer traveling distances, fewer revenue streams, smaller client base, less mental health and other resources, fewer career options, and less training opportunities. While most of the state has some practitioners, there are nine Minnesota counties with no mental health professionals, and several counties with only one. In such areas, practitioners have to be broadly trained, and have the professional skills necessary to manage extensive and often complicated community relationships.

Concerns such as diversity, poverty, and sexual preference are ever growing issues. As you know, every rural county in the state has diverse groups. There are African Americans and       bi-racial persons living in every county, even in many remote areas. Other rural residents of color include Native Americans, South East Asians, Somali, and Latino cultures. In addition, there are “low profile” gay and lesbian families just trying to have a quiet life without harassment. Some rural persons of color are permanent long-term residents who have lived in the community for generations. Others having arrived in the past 20 years, working low-wage jobs in packing or manufacturing plants, or working as seasonal agricultural workers. Some may be more recent arrivals seeking a new life and others are mobile people who are less invested in the community, and trying to escape their past troubled life in large cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, or Kansas City. The new arrivals often have different behaviors and values, and may not participate in local celebrations. Such persons may burden a small town’s social service resources as the community attempts to accommodate high-need families who may require specialized services.

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MPA's Rural Conference Goes National and Adds Group Webcast Sites, Requests Posters

October 11, 2013, will be the first day MPA presents a conference with national partners!  Advances in Rural Practice: The Fifth Annual Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference, still has MPA’s Rural and Greater Minnesota (R&GM) Division as its principal partner.  Other partners are joining us this year:  The Committee on Rural Health of the American Psychological Association, the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education, the Illinois Psychological Association, and the University of Minnesota-Morris Psychology Discipline.

The other big enhancement for the 2013 conference is group webcast sites to facilitate interpersonal networking.  The conference will be available in-person to participants in Morris, MN, and to individuals in their homes or offices, as in previous years.  It will also be available to participants who gather for group webcasts, available in St. Cloud, Fargo, and northern and southern Illinois sites (and perhaps other sites TBA).

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My Experience as a Prescribing Psychologist

It was a frigid February day in Grand Marais in 2006 when I received a flyer with a picture of Fort Lauderdale and the Nova Southeastern campus. The flyer was advertising a master’s degree in psychopharmacology created for doctoral level psychologists. It required the students come to  Fort Lauderdale for a 6-day weekend every other month, for two years. It must have been psychologists who thought of sending this flyer to me in Northern Minnesota in the dead of winter.

While the palm trees caught my attention, what kept my interest was gaining further training in psychopharmacology. Due to the remote location of my practice, it was difficult to get psychiatric care for my patients. Instead, I worked with the five local family doctors to obtain psychotropics for my patients. The doctors, by their own reports, did not have advanced training in mental health disorders nor in psychotropic medications. The idea behind obtaining this advanced training was to return back to my community and share the knowledge obtained.

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Diversity Committee

The Diversity Committee gave out the 2013 Outstanding Career Achievement in Black Psychology on February 1, 2013.  The award went to Iris Cornelius, Ph.D., L.P.  Dr. Cornelius is the President of Cornelius & Associates and a business consultant with 30 years experience working with businesses, community leaders and family organizations. Dr. Cornelius specializes in Collaborative Consulting, working with clients and their existing advisors to develop their values, goals and vision. She focuses on clear communications and interpersonal relationships. It is from this base that clients can best reach their strategic goals. She received her undergraduate degree from Brown University, her Ph.D. from the University of Washington and post-graduate training in mediation and management. Dr. Cornelius is a former faculty member of the University of Minnesota and Macalester College. She is a Trustee of the College of St. Benedict and a Board member of Catholic Charities and Jeremiah Place. She was formerly a Regent of St. John’s University, the St. Paul Foundation and the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners. She is affiliated with the A.K. Rice Institute for Study of Authority, Leadership and Group Process; American Psychological Association; Minnesota Psychological Association; Family Business Alliance; and Metro Independent Business Alliance.  Congratulations Dr. Cornelius!

 G. Zachariah White, Psy.D. and Thomas Carrillo, Ph.D., L.P., Co-Chairs