Michele D. Ribeiro, EdD, ABPP, CGP, AGPA-F

It was 2002 when I was sitting in Carnegie Hall feeling the goosebumps on my arms when Sweet Honey in the Rock performed to mark the 20th anniversary of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.  Our APA President, Dr. Thema Bryant, recently started a townhall singing one of their memorable songs…“We are the ones, we are the ones, we are the ones we’ve been waiting” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHsJHZpOJCc  In preparing for this year’s convention and Council meeting, we are reminded that restorative justice is in our hands, and groups are a key mechanism to making this happen.  Leaders within our own division, Drs. Whittingham, Marmarosh, Mallow, and Scherer, are moving group work forward through their recent contribution in the American Psychologist (2023) on Mental health care equity and access:  A group therapy solution.  Let us keep remembering, We are the ones that can guide our profession into the utility of groups and group therapy as a vital imperative for healing and reconciliation.  This is our time as a Division, and as an APA, to forge forward with intentionality towards health equity and dismantling systems that uphold racism, and other oppressive systems, in place.  Let us continue to hold groups as an essential in this imperative…

APA President Updates

Dr. Bryant has been busy on many fronts to advance our work as an organization.  To read more about her work for APA, please visit https://www.apa.org/about/governance/president/updates/thema-april-2023  Also notable, is recent work on adolescents and social media.  Below is an excerpt that she shared in an email to Council in mid-May: 

“In February, I convened a presidential Rapid Expert Advisory Panel to examine relevant scientific literature and formulate recommendations to empower adults and adolescents to make informed, safe, and positive decisions about using social media.  

The goal was to provide science-backed guidance to educators, parents, policymakers, mental health and health practitioners, technology companies and youths themselves. The result is the American Psychological Association Health Advisory on Social Media Use in Adolescence, which contains 10 recommendations and is making a lot of news. 

Thanks to the leadership around this fast and monumental effort. I wanted first to thank my cochairs, Mary Ann McCabe, PhD, ABPP, and Mitchell J. Prinstein, PhD, ABPP, and distinguished Advisory Panel members Mary K. Alvord, PhD; Dawn T. Bounds, PhD, PMHNP-BC, FAAN; Linda Charmaraman, PhD; Sophia Choukas-Bradley, PhD; Dorothy L. Espelage, PhD; Joshua A. Goodman, PhD; Jessica L. Hamilton, PhD; Jacqueline Nesi, PhD; Brendesha M. Tynes, PhD; L. Monique Ward, PhD; and Lucía Magis-Weinberg, MD, PhD. 

Here are some highlights from the first day of the report’s release. 


The report and materials that accompanied it – including two tip sheets for parents, Keeping Teens Safe on Social Media, What Parents Need to Know and Social Literacy for Teens, a Q&A – were sent out widely to legislators, including all 50 US Attorneys General, Vice President Kamala Harris’ office, the White House Domestic Policy Council,  United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, all Hill chief of staff and legislative directors, key Hill committee and personal staff, the National Governor’s Association, the US Surgeon General, FTC commissioners, and the Mental Health Liaison Group.

The Surgeon General said: “I am thankful to the APA for their leadership in issuing science-based recommendations that can provide guidance to families across the country as they navigate the use of these platforms.” 

Additionally, APA sent the report and additional materials to more than 100 organizations representing a cross section of nonprofits, media literacy, science, technology, social media advocacy, journalism organizations, and the entertainment industry.

This weekend, the PTA’s Weekend Update newsletter (250,000 subscribers) will feature the advisory and include tips for parents. 


As of 12:00 p.m. May 10, my quotes or references to the health advisory have appeared in at least 176 news items (69 TV reports, 12 radio and 95 print or online articles) representing a potential audience of 325 million. Media of note include: 

Upcoming COR Meeting

APA Convention is less than two months away.  The Council of Representatives listserv is starting to become busier with emails going out on new business items, resolutions and of course updates on convention.   However, as I write my column today about the work on Council, there are only a few items posted to date for me to offer a preview on.  These items in the Council Dropbox include a few new business items (NBIs), which are presented in no particular order:  1) Resolution opposing involuntary individual isolation of youth in juvenile justice settings; 2) Resolution on supporting psychologists’ education and research about, and activism against violations of girls’ and women’s rights globally; and 3) Change in Association Rules to include the Committee on Global Psychology in the Council Agenda Planning Group.  Because I also represent Division 49 on the Caucus on Promoting Global and Global Human Rights Perspectives, I will say there are some places where Division 49 experts could offer assistance particularly with evidence- and/or practice-based research on the use of group interventions within global armed conflict environments.  Leaders within this caucus are planning to write a resolution in the next several months that provides practical ideas that members and APA can do to assist and/or support people in various countries where armed conflict is an issue.  As a starting place, we will be focusing particularly on countries within our MOU partnership: https://www.apa.org/international/programs/memorandum-understanding where APA has already built collaborative relationships.  If you have any research on best practices for group interventions within these cultural contexts, please email me to share resources so we can compile them as we begin writing a resolution.  The leaders of this Caucus also recently met with Dr. Cathi Grus, who is the chief education officer at APA.  She shared with us that she is leading a team to advocate for clinical and counseling psychology to be moved under STEM in academia.  Though there would be many benefits to this move, a particular one would be to ease the burden on our international students/colleagues who come to study, train, and eventually work in the U.S.  Dr. Grus’ office plans to have their proposals turned in by August 1, 2023, to the Department of Homeland Security for their review.  Industrial/Organizational Psychology just successfully completed this move after a ten-year period of advocacy, so it may be a long haul to make this move for us as well.

APA President-Elect

Other business at the COR plenary and Convention will be soliciting support for Dr. Debra Kawahara who will be running for APA President-Elect 2024.  I will be strongly supporting her platform and will be volunteering on her campaign team.  Please visit her booth and get to know her.  I promise, you will be impressed with her strong leadership experience and humility that will continue to advance APA as a leader within the US and a global partner within psychological science.  


Finally, a gracious thank you to Dr. Leann Diederich who will be serving as a proxy during the upcoming COR meeting as I am unable to attend this year.  Dr. Diederich will be an excellent representative for us, and as I would normally do, she will be sending out updates and the usual summary after the meeting to keep us all informed of policy and business outcomes.  Okay, there is your brief update of COR happenings and what I know thus far.

To close, thank you for reading and engaging in our division!  And as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Michele.Ribeiro@oregonstate.edu if you have comments or questions about COR and our role as a division within the larger APA.  Thank you!