What Has MPA Done for You Lately?

MPA offers many benefits to members, some of which are more visible than others. You likely are aware of member benefits such as legal and ethical consultation resources, online journal access through EBSCO, and continuing education discounts. If you’re not aware of these, be sure to check out the website (www.mnpsych.org) for more information! Supplementing these kinds of concrete benefits are less tangible, but no less important benefits.

MPA exists upon a foundation of providing connectionprotection, and growth to its members. This column highlights recent MPA happenings that illustrate each of these areas and constitute some of the more intangible benefits offered by MPA.


In a recent survey (Minnesota Psychologist, July 2012), the number one reason MPA members identified with belonging to MPA was opportunities for networking. Number four on the list was to join the MPA community of psychologists. In the past couple of months, several events have offered opportunities for MPA members to network and connect. One was a meet and greet event in January for early career psychologists hosted by the New Psychologist Network division of MPA. Co-chairs Miriam Gerber and Julia Kidwell organized a very well attended happy hour at which new psychologists could get to know each other and offer mutual support in what can sometimes be a bumpy path to becoming established professionals.

On March 2, the MPA Diversity Committee hosted a Difficult Dialogues, Courageous Conversations event in which members shared good food and good conversation during the screening of the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild. Participants brought an ethnic dish to share and forged or strengthened connections with other psychologists.


Throughout the year, MPA volunteers and our lobbyists worked tirelessly to advocate for and protect psychologists at the state and national levels. In February, MPA had a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on its Medical Assistance consultation bill. Trisha Stark and Willie Garrett testified for this bill, which would allow reimbursement to psychologists for telephone and other consultation with primary care providers. Such a bill would improve integration of care, especially in settings such as rural areas, where having mental health professionals co-located with primary care is not always possible.

Adding to MPA’s legislative efforts, Daniel Christiansen testified in early March to increase Medical Assistance fee-for-service rates for psychologists. On the same day, Trisha Stark testified to support a workforce summit for training providers in children’s mental health. Dr. Stark also recently testified about Minnesota gun legislation. As currently proposed, these bills would require that anyone who has ever been hospitalized for mental health or substance abuse be ineligible to purchase a gun. Such a broad approach would perpetuate the misinformed conclusion that mental illness causes violence and deprives too many individuals of rights while failing to identify those most at risk. It would also likely keep some individuals from pursuing treatment.

In March, several MPA members, including the President, President-Elect, Public Education Coordinator, Diversity Delegate, and Federal Advocacy Coordinator visited nine of Minnesota’s ten congressional officials in Washington, DC. Tabitha Grier-Reed, Steven Vincent, Jenna Bemis, Mera Kachgal, and Sy Gross advocated for psychologists in the areas of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, physician definition in Medicare, and behavioral health information technology issues.


MPA continues to offer affordable, informative, and timely continuing education with its First Friday Forums. In January, Mark Groves, facilities reentry coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, offered a program addressing the Use of Motivational Interviewing to Support Behavior Change in Clients. Participants learned practical motivational interviewing strategies to implement within their practice, especially with resistant clients. In February, Harvey Linder, Interim Behavioral Health Director at African American Family Services, presented Putting Ancient Principles to Practice in Today’s Treatment Environments. Dr. Linder discussed how mental health professionals might apply principles of Africentric philosophy in supporting the process of change. Finally, this past month, Trisha Stark offered important information in the area of health reform. Her presentation, Impact of Health Reform on the Process and Content of Psychologists’ Work: Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Insurance Exchanges, Common Benefit Sets, Bundled Payment, Electronic Health Records, and Quality Measures, featured working definitions for the major state and federal health reforms, implications for methods of practice, and clinical practice changes.

Sandra Sanger, Ph.D., L.P., is co-chair of the Doctoral Level Professional Practice division of MPA. She has a private practice in St. Paul. She can be reached at [email protected] or via her website: www.sandrasanger.com.

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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.