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Nota Bene : 



1st electronic issue !! We need YOUR contributions! It’s REALLY EASY and FUN! E-Newsletter can help us stay in touch; archive and find useful material, and share insights and experiences!

Inside this issue: President Message


YOU the Reporter!


Mid Winter


AVAPL E-News Letter from the President :

AVAPL E-Newsletter May, 2011: Vol 1, Is 1

Greetings Psychologist Leaders,

of my membership in AVAPL are the relationships I have formed. I I am so proud to introduce you to am writing this while greatly anticiour new electronic newsletter. This digital format will be easy to print out pating seeing many of you at our if you wish, but should also be usable yearly conference, for example. in electronic form on multiple platWhen I go to APA’s conference I forms. I would like to thank Dr. Peter see you there, when we attend the Graves, E-Newsletter editor, for all his mental health conference, I see work in establishing this new format many of you there. I rarely attend a and the individuals who submitted VA sponsored event or training where articles for this edition. I hope you find there aren’t multiple members present. it informative and entertaining. One of the most impressive strengths of our organization is communication. There are few organizations in which members have both the willingness and means to communicate with one another such as we do. In just a short look at the traffic on our listserv, it is easy to see the strength of this community. We use AVAPL as a source for information distribution, discussion, and solutions. One of the goals I set for us at the outset of my Presidential year was to build on our strong foundation of affiliation by expanding the use of our website and other modern means of communication. My hope is that our newsletter serves the purpose of facilitating those benefits and enhancing them by adding the goal of strengthening personal relationships among our membership.

Some of the greatest benefits

I love finding a familiar face at these conferences and meetings and it enhances my experience on conference calls when I feel I know you, even just a little bit. Wouldn't it be a wonderful testament to our commitment to one another if we were to use the venue of this newsletter to facilitate our interpersonal affiliations?

There are many, many venues for our professional discourse, but I propose we use this newsletter to share more. Personally, I'd love to hear more about the interesting things you are doing both at work and elsewhere. I'd love to hear that you received an award or promotion, that you are having an art exhibition, or of your charitable work in your community. I’d love to have the opportunity to congratulate you upon your retirement, and to know of the wonderful plans you have to use your time, or not to. In order to accomplish this, we will need your help. The Newsletter Committee and the E-Newsletter Chair will need you to contribute these items. Please consider sharing them with us as you can. If you have an idea for an article or simply have an announcement to share with your colleagues, please contact me or Dr. Peter Graves with your submission. Of course, our Newsletter may serve a multitude of purposes, but please do consider using it to help us know you and your fellow psychologist leaders in a more personal way. Help us bring you an enjoyable experience that will facilitate our personal affiliations with one another. I am so excited to see what we can make of this opportunity together. Sincerely, George Shorter, PhD AVAPL President

Meeting Report Training, — History


Resources Reviews


Letters to the Editor


Fun + Humor


Links & Contact


Golden Nuggets


What’s Hot: AVAPL “on the spot” REPORTERS — May Conference 2011’s Annual VA Psychology Leadership Conference May 18-21 (click here for more information) promises to be the best ever! Your E-NewsLetter needs YOU as an AVAPL “on the spot” REPORTER. It’s really easy and fun! Just contact any of your E-NL staff (see list on last page). We’re looking for informal, brief summaries of event segments for our next E-NL edition. It’s both simple and fun for the reporters, and your readership. We’d love to include a “head shot” of contribu-

tors who agree, or any photos you take that might enliven the summaries. Those who are not able to attend will certainly appreciate the updates, as will many who mine archival material in years to come. We look forward to the unique and lively reportorial styles of our Newshawks. So please contact any of your E-

NL staff right away if you might be interested in this fun and easy way to explore your inner journalist! Beyond the May Conference we will continuously appreciate reporters for other events of interest to VA Psychologists — APA and other meetings or happenings, interesting speakers, events, or anything else newsworthy. Contact us with your ideas any time!

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AVAPL E-Newsletter May, 2011: Vol 1, Is 1

Interview: AVAPL Mid Winter Meeting Report We caught up with AVAPL’s Executive Committee who were in Washington, D.C. on our behalf March 7-11. The range of topics covered and information is more than this article can capture. So click here for the more complete report on the AVAPL website. Here are just a few highlights.

Among the many topics raised by APA in discussions were encouraging psychologists to be actively involved in APA’s various committees, awards process, and other activities; psychologists being replaced by master’s level clinicians in VA; privileges for psychologists in all VA facilities; APA’s Task OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH Force on Telehealth, including SERVICES WORKING CLOSELY social networking and related WITH 10N UNDER REORGANIZED issues. VACO STRUCTURE. Training related issues were After meeting with Drs. Toni discussed, with appreciation for Zeiss and Mary Schohn, the group the role of several VA psycholofelt their shared vision for improv- gists in APA’s Training Directoring efficiencies between Patient ate and committees. The PracCare Services and 10N offices is tice Directorate leaders disrefreshing and gave hope of the cussed development of Treatreorganization’s positive impact ment Guidelines via Committee on the mental health field, with which includes VA representatechnical assistance to the field tion. Telehealth was noted to now being completed in collabo- include both APA and State and ration across 10N, OMHS, and Provincial Psychology Boards in field operations with policy linked the process of Task Force dismore closely to implementation. cussions presently. Research initiatives and budget were Among specific topics disdiscussed in some detail, with cussed were Compensation and Pension examinations, preserva- APA, noting various versions of upcoming budgets. tion of gains made in important Mental Health services in recent years, discipline specific workload guidelines, psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery service issues, Veterans Justice Outreach programs, Inpatient and Outpatient care specific issues, Substance Use Disorders services, Family Services, and Academic Affiliations.

Finally, the Caregiving Bill specifics were discussed by APA’s Government Relations office, as was pending legislation about disability compensation for individuals with PTSD related to MST. In each case, the Executive Committee was informed of highlights of the key legislation.



APA’s leaders shared several goals from APA’s strategic plan, including 1) maximizing organizational effectiveness, 2) advancing psychology as a health profession, and 3) increasing the visibility of psychology as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field.

In meetings with several “Hill” offices, our primary issues to address included: 1) the concern about the impact of C&P examinations on clinical care, 2) reduction of funding of VA research in the proposed

budget, 3) the ability to maintain strides in expansion of mental health services in a time of budgetary constraint, and 4) education on the multiple roles of psychologists in health care systems, including involvement in the PACT and integrated care settings. It became evident that many of the staffers were relatively new to VA and psychology, so the benefit of these and other meetings to continue the flow of information and education are very valuable. A number of specific issues and questions were discussed, as more fully set out in the report. VETERANS SERVICE ORGANIZATION REPRESENTATIVES HIGHLIGHTED MANY ISSUES OF CONCERN TO VETERANS. Several mutual concerns of the organizations were noted,

including the limited coverage for caregivers in implementation of the current Caregiver Support Act; C&P examiners having appropriate time for examinations; freezing and postponing of new mental health hires and not maintaining hiring strides for mental health; and reports about frequency of mental health visits. SUMMARY The packed DC days were well spent in presenting the concerns of the membership to those who need to know. We are appreciative of the trust of the membership in allowing us to represent them in these critical meetings and look forward to continuing to foster these relationships in the future for the benefit of each of our members in their vision of continuing to expand and improve mental health care for our nation’s heroes.

We think YOU Have something to contribute to your AVAPL E-Newsletter.

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AVAPL E-Newsletter May, 2011: Vol 1, Is 1

Read any good books lately? Share your thoughts on books, videos or training experiences in a short review for your AVAPL E -Newsletter.

Training Program News: This space available in future to share about training related information and opportunities. Input is welcome from the Training Directors or any Psychologist with information of general interest

about what’s going on in your training program or region or nationally. Just call or email any of the editorial board with your input or ideas.

Resource Review: Your input here ! This space (or more) available in future for your ideas about resources of all kinds to share!

Books, courses, articles, movies. Just let us know.

Letters to the Editor:

We’re looking for the latest from YOU! Consider a quick and easy story for the AVAPL Newsletter. We’d love to put your report and ideas in print!!

This space (or more) available in AVAPL E-Newsletter most useful and future for your feedback, follow-up, enjoyable for all. We look forward or suggestions to help make the to hearing from you!

History: Here AVAPL members, and particularly those closely connected to our history, are invited to share stories, photos, and other material.

tained on the AVAPL website, or elsewhere.

settlement of an untimely Grand Jury investigation, Dr. Gresen’s work continues to EXAMPLE: inform future generations of Shown here is Dr. Bob Gre- morale boosters. Dr. Gresen sen’s early work on improv- could not be reached for Using our “linked” approach, comment and continues to ing staff morale through allows short articles to be judicious administration of deny any involvement in this linked to an ever-larger colnear-fatal doses of electrical research. lections of written and pictoshock. While this paradigm *** PS: this is a JOKE! *** rial archival material mainhad to be abandoned during

AVAPL E-Newsletter May, 2011: Vol 1, Is 1

Links & Contacts * Here we’ll include links to any material of general and ongoing usefulness. As in the rest of the E-Newsletter, the electronic reader need only click on the link (generally underlined) to be taken to the cited material within the AVAPL website or elsewhere. * Information for Contributors link here. * E-NewsLetter Editors, Contributors & Consultants — contact us ANY time! (click here for full contact information): Peter Graves, Jennifer Adkins, Laura Phillips, Elizabeth Valentine, Steve Lovett, Dan Kivlahan, and YOU our “on the spot” reporters, THE vital link to what’s happening in VA Psychology. THANKS!

Buried treasure… Got Questions? Have Answers/Tips for all of us? Here’s a wonderful opportunity to ask and get some ‘golden nuggets’ from your AVAPL colleagues! This column will be a forum to ask broad-based questions that may apply to many different VAMCs. Your newsletter editors can help connect questions of general interest with those who know. And if more detailed information may be helpful, it’ll be a “click” away on the AVAPL website for future reference as well. those who need the nitty gritty. This is especially a good opportunity for newer members to ask questions and receive feedback (anonymously if desired).

Psycholo-BINGO Cross off each of these as you experience them at t he Conference, until the complete board is accomplished. The first person completing will know that they are far better at this t han anyone else, and that getting there was pretty much all the fun. Note: do not shout “BINGO” during conference presentations. Speaker uses the word “Motivational”

You consider becoming an AVAPL ENewsletter Reporter

Speaker uses the word “Insight”

Hand in completed Conference Evaluation Form

Att end Poster Session

Wear your name badge on Day 1

Int roduce yours elf to a firs t-time conference att endee

Att end Same Breakout Session twic e

Wear your name tag on Day 3

Someone uses phras e “win-win”

Someone asks you which VA you’re from

VA/ Military crossover language (e.g., Duty Station, Tour of Duty)

No FREE space: Introduce yours elf t o someone new

Have breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a trainee

Identify something that will influence your work

Speaker uses word “Leadership”

Wear your name badge on Day 2

Speaker referenc es VACO or Central Office

Shake hands with someone from VACO

Speaker uses word “Behavioral”

Attend a Panel Discus sion

“Reorganization” is referenc ed in a s ocial conversation

Someone uses >2 acronyms in one sentence

Speaker references “best pract ic e”

Give someone your business card

And if you’ve found something really useful, please consider sharing your golden nugget with your AVAPL colleagues.


Clinical reminders (CRs) for MH have been a major focus, as a significant portion of our paSo, whether it’s a question or tip, just keep those cards tients are seen in a group setting this posed a problem for cliniand letters coming to: cians to complete group notes We’re looking for your questions – and and reminders quickly and effiall of us have a “golden nugget” ciently. Click here for a copy of the handout I developed for use or two to share! in outpatient MH to quickly adHere’s a “golden nugget” minister CRs to multiple people example that comes to us from – and captures the information Temple, Texas, courtesy of for “Positive” screens – improvLaura Phillips: ing timeliness measures. While not part of a clinical reminder, there are 3 items regarding H/I as well for safety. Additionally, our administrative support staff created a “forward looking” re-

port that can be sorted by stop-code to notify clinicians of which patients in group have a clinical reminder due (requires appointment to be scheduled and CR to be due/ near due at time of report development). These two tools used in conjunction have resulted in a significant improvement in our rates - Clinical reminders covered: MST, Tobacco, Alcohol, Depression, PTSD (and positive reminders of these last 3). For further information: contact Laura at THANKS, Laura!

AVAPL E-Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 1  

AVAPL E-Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 1

AVAPL E-Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 1  

AVAPL E-Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 1