APA Monitor Article Buries the Lead
…and the Spin Machine whirred
On October 3, 2016 I wrote this blog post: APA still hasn’t told APA members something. I noted then that on August 24, 2016 I wrote a blog post entitled “Can you trust APA to be your source for psychology news?” At that time APA still hadn’t published any news about how the VA, one of the largest employers of psychologists, can now hire some psychologists who didn’t have APA-accredited internships (if they’ve obtained ABPP). I first wrote about that on my blog on June 24th in the post “Some welcome changes in how the VA hires psychologists.”
It has now happened, however. The VA’s changes that were dated June 6, 2016 have finally been mentioned in the APA Monitor: the November, 2016 issue. Yes, the VA will now recognize a clinical science-oriented accreditation, PCSAS, that rivals APA’s accreditation (instead of requiring APA accreditation for doctoral programs). In addition, yes, the VA will now hire psychologists who didn’t have APA-accredited internships if they have become board certified. How does the resulting article appear in the Monitor? Why with the a distracting title that focuses on just one of the less-damaging to APA changes and not all of them (including changes that are arguably much more significant). The APA Monitor title is “Now more students are eligible for VA training” and the subtitle “New rules at the Department of Veterans Affairs allow U.S. citizens from Canadian-accredited schools to apply for VA internships.” The patron saint of Spin Doctors was clearly looking out for someone. There are significant changes barely mentioned near the end of the article. These changes may be perceived as less favorable to APA perhaps.
So my readers can have it first (or only if it doesn’t get published), here is the letter to the editor I just sent for consideration to be published in the APA Monitor:
Monitor Article Buries the Lead
The November, 2016 article “Now more students are eligible for VA training” buried the lead; important changes may go unnoticed as a result. The title and subtitle “New rules at the Department of Veterans Affairs allow U.S. citizens from Canadian-accredited schools to apply for VA internships” failed to call attention to other important and meaningful changes. It isn’t until the end of the article in one brief paragraph that readers were made aware that “the new rule also updates and clarifies the qualifications psychologists must have to apply for other VA positions.” The article makes only a meager mention of “board certification,” and readers may have missed a significant change. The VA can now hire psychologists who didn’t have APA-accredited internships if they’ve obtained ABPP. It is unfortunate that this news was buried in an article with an unrelated title so deeply that those who could benefit may have missed it. It means that some psychologists who didn’t have APA-accredited internships can now work at one of our largest employers if they obtain ABPP.