The Minnesota Psychological Association at the American Psychological Association.

MPA at APA:  Photos from the Front

The first time I attended the American Psychological Association convention was when I was still a graduate student, and I was presenting a poster session of research I had done with my academic advisor.  That was far too many years ago.  Fast forward to 2015, and with many years of life behind me, I attended the APA convention for the second time this past August.

Like 12,000 other psychologists, I boarded a plane to Canada, anticipating that I would experience the APA convention a little differently after so many years in private practice.

What fun it was to see that the APA convention made it on the map of the Toronto airport.  Signs welcomed us!

I am assuming that most of you have been to conventions before.  Hotels, restaurants, academic panels, meetings, poster sessions, exhibitor and vendor booths with free giveaways, social hours, and meals with colleagues.  What was exciting for me above and beyond was that I kept running into people from Minnesota – colleagues from our very own Minnesota Psychological Association.  And so, here is MPA at APA!

One of the first sessions I attended was a presentation by Aaron Beck, age 94!  Imagine what fun it is to sit in a room at the Toronto convention center with a few hundred psychologists listening to the father of cognitive therapy Skyping in to speak about how he has become somewhat of a humanist!

And then imagine what fun it is to have MPA’s very own Steve Girardeau step up to the microphone to talk with Beck!

Not to be outdone, MPA’s Mimi Sa spoke on a panel devoted to the topic of effective psychopharmacological treatment of disruptive mood disorders.  Such an interesting topic!

Can you tell that I was proud to be a Minnesotan at this convention?

Wandering through the exhibit hall, I ran into quite a few fellow MPA’ers. No psychologist could get past Sy Gross as he recruited psychologists to run in Ray’s Race, the Saturday morning 5K for Running Psychologists!

Sy is MPA’s Federal Advocacy Coordinator, and a past president of MPA.

Seen browsing books in the exhibitor hall was Mera Kachgal, former MPA Executive Committee Secretary and Governing Council member, who now serves as a Member-at-Large on the Executive Council for Division 31 State, Provincial, and Territorial Affairs (SPTA) of APA.

Also seen in the exhibit hall…our very own BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya sitting proudly among APAPO staff (APAPO = APA Practice Organization) and strong feminist psychologists!  BraVada is the psychologist from MPA who serves on the APA Council of Representatives.

Okay, they pulled me into the picture too…

This year’s convention came with APA’s Council of Representatives deliberating and voting unanimously to prohibit psychologists from participating in national security interrogations.

MPA’s BraVada was there…

And she spoke with inspiration, being one of few speakers to rouse representatives to applause!

So proud to have witnessed APA history!!

What convention would be without dinner with colleagues? Steve Girardeau, Jim Wojcik from Canvas Health, and Sy Gross.

Even Toronto restaurants welcomed APA conventioneers!

And then Saturday morning arrived – Ray’s Race was up next!  Psychologists met at the convention center just as the sun was rising…

Checking in with Sy Gross before boarding busses to the 5K location…

At the race grounds…

The scenery on the run was fabulous!

Or, maybe not so much!!  Snakes?!??!!

We even met students from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology:  Jessica Carter and Jessica Davis, both student members of MPA!

And did you know that our very own BraVada is now the President of Division 35 Society for the Psychology of Women of APA? Here she is giving her speech at the Division 35 business meeting.

Make sure you put MPA’s 2016 annual convention on your calendar to hear BraVada speak as one of our keynote speakers. You will be inspired – April 15 & 16, 2016.

And finally, on the last day of the convention, Steve Girardeau won an Apple watch for playing APA’s mobile scavenger hunt: The Quest!

I am guessing there were other MPA’ers attending the APA convention in Toronto who I did not happen to run across as I tried to experience as much of the convention as possible.  Send me your pictures and I will see if we can get them on the website as well.  Or post comments here to tell us about what you loved most about this year’s APA convention.  Most of all, put the APA Convention on your bucket list.  Next August the convention will be in Denver, Colorado.  What fun it would be to have a huge contingent of Minnesotans!

Robin McLeod, Ph.D., L.P., is the 2015 MPA President-Elect. She founded and owns a small private practice behavioral health specialty clinic with two locations: Woodbury & St. Paul.  You may email her at [email protected].  Her websites are: and

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Diversity Statement

The Minnesota Psychological Association actively encourages the participation of all psychologists regardless of age, creed, race, ethnic background, gender, socio-economic status, region of residence, physical or mental status, political beliefs, religious or spiritual affiliation, and sexual or affectional orientation.Although we are an organization of individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds, the Minnesota Psychological Association also recognizes our core unifying identities as Psychologists who practice in America. We also recognize that we may hold unintentional attitudes and beliefs that influence our perceptions of and interactions with others. Within this context of unity and self-exploration, we are committed to increasing our sensitivity to all aspects of diversity as well as our knowledge and appreciation of the unique qualities of different cultures and backgrounds.We aspire to becoming alert to aspects of diversity, previously unseen or unacknowledged in our culture. In this spirit, we are committed to collaborating with multicultural groups to combat racism and other forms of prejudice as we seek to promote diversity in our society. To this end, we are dedicated to increasing our multicultural competencies and effectiveness as educators, researchers, administrators, policy makers, and practitioners.