WVPA July Newsletter

Dear Colleagues –

I hope you had a beautiful (hot!) July 4th holiday. July is an important month for WVPA. We are crafting the brochure for the Fall Conference, October 12-13 at Stonewall Resort. Our Summer Board Meeting occurs by conference call mid-month. Plus our annual election takes place from June 30 to July 30.

All non-student WVPA members should have received your personalized electronic ballot (via Election Runner) to vote on two items. First, three offices on the Board of Directors will be determined. Candidate statements are available in the Election Runner pages that were sent to you via email. The winners will be announced in August, and will begin their official duties in 2019.

Second, we are voting on an important proposed change to the By Laws. In short, a By Laws Update Committee has worked for over a year to propose changes that will improve the structure and coordination of committees within WVPA. Our current By Laws require 16 committees, some of which perform duplicative work and often do not work together. The proposed By Laws language will allow for committee chairs and board members to work together more efficiently and effectively. Other updates include correction of grammatical errors, procedure for Board of Director orientation each year, and management of ties in the election of officers. If you have not yet voted, you can access all proposed changes to the By Laws in the Election Runner page that was sent to you. I am so grateful to Drs. Keith Beard, Penny Koontz, Lisa Ryan, and Sarah Jarvis for their work on this committee over the last year.

This vote is especially crucial, because our current By Laws dictate that we must have 2/3 membership support to make any type of change to the By Laws. As of the time I sent this newsletter, we have heard from about 40% of our members. You may be receiving a friendly reminder from our Executive Director if your vote has not yet been registered in the online system.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our Fall Conference – Even though the presentation portal is closed at this time, there is still plenty of time to submit your poster presentation online. As always, if you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at jluzier@hsc.wvu.edu.

Best wishes,

Jess Luzier, Ph.D., ABPP

What can WVPA do for students and ECPs?

Sarah Reynolds, MA and Emily Selby-Nelson, Psy.D.

            Many students and early career psychologists spend energy and effort trying to navigate the field of psychology, searching for their place and identity as a psychologist; all while obtaining their degree and license and building a career and personal or family life.  Membership and participation in your state’s psychological association (SPTA – State Provincial Territorial Association) can act as a catalyst for professional development.

WVPA offers numerous opportunities for students including, but not limited to the following: training and experience in state and local advocacy, opportunities to present at WVPA’s fall and spring conference, consultation with professional psychologists in the state, and invaluable networking opportunities. Proposals for posters and presentations are now being accepted for the Fall 2018 Conference. The conference will take place October 12th and 13th at the Stonewall Resort and Conference Center in Roanoke, West Virginia. The deadline to submit a poster is September 3 and can be done at the following link: http://wvpsychology.org/2018-fall-conference-poster-proposal/. APA also provides significant support to graduate students. Consider visiting the APAGS website for more information from APA (http://www.apa.org/apags/).  Sarah Reynolds is the WVPA APAGS student representative and is available to answer student concerns and needs (contact: reynolds169@live.marshall.edu).

After obtaining one’s psychology degree, psychologists are considered “Early Career Psychologists” (ECPs) throughout the first ten years of their career. Considering the potential growth and change that can occur during these initial ten years, ECPs are offered support and resources by the American Psychological Association and WVPA’s Committees on Early Career Psychologists.  ECPs are encouraged to visit APA’s website for ECPs (http://www.apa.org/careers/early-career/index.aspx) and WVPA’s ECP website (https://wvpsychology.org/early-career-psychologists/).  WVPA has an ECP listserv and hold ECP social mixers at each fall conference event to promote networking among ECPs and other members.  Dr. Emily Selby-Nelson, founder of the WVPA Committee on Early Career Psychologists, will be passing the role of committee Chair onto Dr. Jenna Wallace in January 2019.  They are both available to assist ECP needs that arise for our WVPA members (contacts include enelson@cchcwv.com and jenna.wallace@hsc.wvu.edu).  Of particular interest to Dr. Selby-Nelson are the needs of ECPs working in rural and underserved areas.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to either of these ECP members for more information about how you can get involved.


Dr. John Linton was featured in the July/August 2018 APA Monitor on Psychology in an article titled “Etiquette for Integrated Care”. This article was a wealth of information for psychologists in medical and integrated healthcare settings.

A recent NPR podcast, Inside Appalachia, focused exclusively on LGBTQ issues in our region. It featured both the Marshall University Psychology Clinic and Fairness West Virginia (with whom WVPA partnered with to vouch for legislation opposing conversion therapy in youth). To listen for free: http://wvpublic.org/post/inside-appalachia-lgbt-issues-our-region.


WVPA June Newsletter

Dear Colleagues –

Summer is upon us, and it is a time for transition. In my clinical world (mostly working with adolescents), summer months provide a moment to catch my breath, as many kids are wrapping up the school year and settling into their break. Colleagues and I are saying goodbye to our predoctoral interns and welcoming a new class. In my personal life, I’m preparing my oldest son for preschool and planning some memorable summer activities (please see the phenomenal blog article from Dr. Ashton for vacation tips). In the world of WVPA, your leadership continues to journey along. And our membership numbers continue to swell in this vibrant association.

I want to say a special thank you to Dr. Keith Beard, the Past-President, who valiantly recruited a phenomenal group of psychologists as nominees for 2019 leadership positions. Online voting on both candidates for WVPA Board positions and an important set of By Laws changes will take place at the end of June.

WVPA Committees are stronger than ever. To provide just a snapshot, the Communications Committee is moving forward with the development of a podcast. Our State and Federal Advocacy committees are closely monitoring legislation and policy initiatives. Our Colleague Assistance Committee is working on an instrument to better understand the needs of stakeholder psychologists in West Virginia. And our Child Abuse Task Force will be meeting with key stakeholders for a collaborative session to discuss potential school policies to address student health and safety.

Furthermore, Drs. Burum, Koontz, and I are already well underway with preparations for our next event: the 2018 Fall Conference at Stonewall. I will be working with our Executive Director to solicit exhibitors for this event, so if you have special requests please send them my way (jluzier@hsc.wvu.edu). Dr. Koontz will also be reaching out to solicit presenters for the conference. Watch the list serv and our website for more updates. 

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at jluzier@hsc.wvu.edu.

Best wishes,

Jess Luzier, Ph.D., ABPP

Update from the Prescriptive Authority Review Committee

Dr. Lisa Ryan, Chair

The WV Psychological Association was approached by Delegate Atkinson (R, 11th district) in November 2017 about introducing legislation in the House of Representatives that would grant prescriptive authority to psychologists in our state. His goal was to incentivize West Virginia as a place to draw psychologists and to address access issues (especially in rural areas) to behavioral health specialists. That legislation was never introduced, but given the importance of the topic, the WVPA Prescriptive Authority Review Committee was formed and met via conference call on March 21, 2018. Members on the call included: Jessica Luzier, Sarah Reynolds, Lisa Ryan, Marty Amerikaner, and David Clayman. Neil Morris has since joined the committee as well. While some members opposed the idea of prescriptive authority for psychologists, others endorsed the idea, and still others were neutral, it was unanimously agreed upon that limiting further discussion of the idea by the Board of Directors and the membership of WVPA would be short-sighted. Given that all members of the committee share a passion for the best interests of the future of our profession, the committee recommended that the Board Of Directors further discuss.

At our Spring meeting, Dr. Jessica Luzier, WVPA President, proposed a motion to create a fair and balanced informational packet with the cooperation of multiple stakeholders before presenting a town hall meeting at the WVPA 2018 Fall Conference, which the Board of Directors approved.  Following this opportunity for discussion, we will utilize a survey instrument to evaluate the thoughts and feelings of the membership. If you have suggestions of valuable information or insight you would like to contribute toward the creation of this educational document, please feel free to share your thoughts/concerns with me at lryan@wellspringfm.com. Your thoughts are valuable, and we look forward to hearing from our membership about how best to represent the psychologists in the Mountain State.

How do you take a vacation when you are part of the team? Tips for Psychologists in Integrated Care

Reprinted with Permission from Kathleen Ashton, Ph.D., ABPP

As I look forward to vacation at the end of the month, I also feel some creeping anxiety.  Eight days away from the hospital, with a still fledgling practice.  My team members have become accustomed to warm hand offs, flexibility, on the spot access to psychology services, and building the value of psychology for the practice has been going well.  So what happens when you are not available, and you are the only psychologist for your service?  Here are a few tips to help you take a stress free vacation while taking care of the needs of your team and your patients.

Network. Develop a network of psychologists who can cover your service.  Ideally, these would be psychologists who can handle emergency consults or phone calls, with enough working knowledge in your specialty area to understand the basic issues.

Communicate. Let the team know exactly how long you will be gone and who will be providing coverage before you leave.

Prepare electronically. Set your out of office message on your email and your electronic medical record system, so other providers will be aware why you’re not answering messages and when you will return.

Prepare your support staff.  Remind them of coverage, and ask them to offer appointments when you return.

Prepare your patients.  Knowing in advance you will be gone can help to prepare patients to schedule before and after your vacation.  In addition, having the name of the covering provider can provide reassurance.

Set aside time to wrap up.  You’ll have a better vacation if your notes and billing are complete, phone messages are wrapped up, and projects are finished.  Block at least an hour the day before your vacation just for tying up loose ends.

Set aside time to catch up.  It’s tempting to overbook the day you come back, but set aside at least an hour or two to review email, chart messages, and get mentally focused for your next clinic.

Be generous to others.  Providing quality coverage for your colleagues will make them more likely to be willing to cover for you.

Limit your email/telephone contact with work.  This is why you have coverage.  If you feel you must check email, set aside a specific amount of time (30 min x2) and stick to the limit.

Relax.  It’s important for caregivers to practice self-care.  Remind yourself that a psychologically healthy provider will provide better care and be a better model for her patients.

Full article available: http://kashton4494.wixsite.com/ashtononapapocapp/single-post/2017/06/07/How-do-you-take-a-vacation-when-you-are-part-of-the-team-Tips-for-Psychologists-in-Integrated-Care


Dr. Chantel Weisenmuller successfully completed her first half-marathon in Athens, Ohio. She is already training for her next one!

Dr. Scott Fields was an invited presenter at the American Academy of Family Physicians Update conference in Bonita Springs, Florida earlier in June.

Dr. Jess Luzier was featured on the television show, Vital Signs, which airs on the West Virginia Library Network this month. Her episode focused on identification, treatment, and prevention of eating disorders.

Let us recognize you or a colleague for a professional accomplishment! Please email info@wvpsychology.org so that we can include it in our next monthly communication.


WVPA May Newsletter

Dear Colleagues –

What a month it has been for our organization. The 2018 Spring Conference and Business Meeting was an incredible success. 200+ participants packed the room. Officials from Marshall University, local government, and your WVPA leadership welcomed colleagues from across the country to Huntington for this training. As Mayor Williams explained, Huntington is the “epicenter of the solution”. I am so grateful for the vision of our Program Chair, Dr. Penny Koontz, and the instrumental leadership of our Executive Director, Dr. Jocelyn Burum, to bring this conference to fruition. Because of the skills and interventions taught by Dr. Najavitz, lives will be saved.

Nonetheless, it was a long day, and many members decided to forego the Business Meeting (which started at nearly 5 pm on a Friday afternoon). Thus, I want to provide a brief recap of the President’s report at this time. First, I have worked closely with our Executive Director, Dr. Jocelyn Burum, to improve systems within WVPA by implementing a formal orientation at our Spring Board meeting, improve transparency with monthly communications, and advance our online presence. Sustainability in leadership has also been an important focus; I was thrilled to welcome both former and new board and committee members to our leadership group. Second, I have worked to protect our identity as psychologists among many other providers by aligning with WVBOEP, APA, and APAPO when appropriate. Third, I have supported and cultivated collaboration with outside organizations and stakeholders, including Fairness West Virginia, West Virginia Psychiatry Association, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and Bureau for Health Facilities, and legislators at both state and federal level.

I have one more important topic to share from our Board of Directors meeting on April 26. Late in 2017, WVPA was approached by a Delegate in the West Virginia House of Representatives in hopes that we would support his introduction of legislation to allow psychologists with accredited training to have limited prescribing privileges. Because this was not a topic for which our Board had even discussed in recent years, WVPA was not in a position to formally support this legislation. Instead, the Board voted to create a committee to study the issue and determine recommendations for future steps. Dr. Lisa Ryan is chair of the Prescriptive Authority Review Committee (lryan@wellspringfm.com). In the coming weeks, she will be working with the committee to amalgamate views of those who support, oppose, or have neutral assessments of prescriptive authority for psychologists. We will then be calling for comment from stakeholders and WVPA members. This process will be transparent and fair as we decide how to proceed as an organization. At the 2018 Fall Conference, we plan to have a panel discussion on Prescriptive Authority as well.

As always, if you have questions or concerns or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact me at jluzier@hsc.wvu.edu.

Best wishes,

Jess Luzier, Ph.D., ABPP

Nominations Committee Update by Dr. Keith Beard

It is an exciting time of the year for WVPA. Nominations for several positions are being taken until May 30.

  • President-Elect: The President-elect will serve a term of one year then move into the President position, and finally the Past President position, for a three-year term.  The President-elect serves as presiding officer of the Association and the Board of Directors in the absence of the President. The President-elect is the Chair of the Program Committee and appoint members of that committee in consultation with the President.
  • Secretary: The Secretary serves a three-year term.  The Secretary keeps minutes of all Association business meetings, and all meetings of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee.  The Secretary also notifies members of Association affairs at the direction of the President.
  • Member-at-Large (early career delegate): The Representatives-at-Large shall serve as conduits for sharing the concerns of the membership with the Board of Directors. This is a two-year term.
  • Additionally, nominations are being taken for WVPA Fellows. Fellows are distinguished, senior Association members who have spent significant time working, mentoring, and leading the organization in accomplishing its goals.

Nominations can be made at: https://wvpsychology.org/2019-officer-nominations-2/

We will also be submitting an up-date to the WVPA By-Laws for consideration. This most significant change is in the committee structure for the organization. The changes will streamline the committees so that they may be more effective in reaching the organization’s goals. Another change is an additional Member-at-Large who will be identified as our diversity delegate. Other changes include up-dating the definition of early career from seven years to ten years and some other grammatical changes. By-laws changes will be posted for all members to review for at least 30 days prior to the election.

We hope that you will decide to take an active role in WVPA and consider nominating yourself or someone else.



Special thanks to Communication Committee members, Drs. Jennie Hughes, Billy Rutherford, and Aaron Williams, as they explore options for a WVPA Podcast – Updates will be forthcoming on our facebook page and list serv!

Kudos to researcher, clinician, and treatment innovator Dr. Lisa Najavitz, who presented an incredible 6-hour workshop on Trauma Informed Care and Seeking Safety, having arrived in Charleston at midnight the evening before!


WVPA April Newsletter

Dear Colleagues –

Have you had a moment that truly validated your reasons for pursuing a career in behavioral healthcare? Recently, the universe offered me an epiphany. One of my children was hospitalized for double pneumonia (thankfully he is fully recovered now). I was reminded that relying on health providers to diagnose and treat a loved one can be a difficult experience, leaving me and my partner feeling vulnerable and frightened. Yet already, this experience has made me a better doctor. I listen a little more empathically, and I provide a little more legwork to ensure that treatment is coordinated and collaborative. I also advocate more strongly for my patients who need it, humbly recognizing that my own situation benefitted from privilege. We had a children’s hospital within a 5 minute drive from our home, health insurance benefits to cover my son’s care, a support network of friends / family / colleagues, available leave from work, and even physician friends who were treating my son and offering me their cell phone numbers if I had questions. Events like this bring to mind my reasons for joining this field. I am reminded that compassionate healthcare providers make a difference in the lives of our patients.

Your membership in WVPA is one more way that you are connecting with your profession and your colleagues. This is a big month for our organization: I’m eager to meet with the WVPA Board members and Committee Chairs later in April at our first in-person Spring Board Meeting. The following day, on April 27, we will be welcoming Dr. Lisa Najavits to Huntington, West Virginia, for the 2018 Spring Conference. The response to this topic and speaker have been incredible, as my colleague Dr. Koontz outlines below. We are nearly at capacity – If you have not yet registered, please do so ASAP (http://wvpsychology.org/2017-spring-conference)!

Because of the conference schedule this year, we will be holding the WVPA Business Meeting at the end of the day, beginning at 430 pm. I look forward to using that time to share updates and welcome WVPA committee leaders as they provide information to our membership. There are some important initiatives underway, and I greatly encourage you to stay and attend.

The conference will be here before we know it – I very much look forward to meeting you in Huntington! As always, if you have questions or concerns or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact me at jluzier@hsc.wvu.edu.

Best wishes,

Jess Luzier, Ph.D., ABPP

2018 WVPA President

WVPA presents Trauma Informed Care & Seeking Safety

Penny Koontz, Psy.D.

Researchers have estimated that nearly 60% of WV adults have experienced at least one adverse childhood event, with another 14% experiencing four or more ACEs (WV ACEs Coalition Report, 2014). In addition, among all U.S. states, WV has the highest annual drug overdose mortality rate at 52 per 100,000 residents, or 884 people (CDC, 2016).  There is no denying the toll that trauma and addiction have taken in our state, and we are just beginning to understand the relationship between our patients’ trauma histories and the development and maintenance of their substance related disorders.

In response, WVPA is excited to bring Lisa Najavits, Ph.D. to WV on Friday, April 27th to present a full day of training on Trauma Informed Care & Seeking Safety. Dr. Najavits is professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of medicine and is a research psychologist with the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. Her clinical and research interests are addiction, trauma, comorbidity, behavioral addictions, veterans’ mental health, and outcome research.  She is author of over 190 publications, as well as the books Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse; A Woman’s Addiction Workbook; and Recovery from Trauma, Addiction, or Both: Finding Your Best Self.  Dr. Najavits received her PhD in clinical psychology from Vanderbilt University and she is a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts, where she also conducts a psychotherapy practice.

In conversations with Dr. Najavits, she has indicated her desire to bring a very practical approach to this training event, and she expressed her hope that the information will prove to be an effective tool for combatting the trauma and addiction problems that are so prevalent in WV. In this training, participants will learn of the latest research and clinical issues in treating trauma and substance abuse and will learn how to conduct Seeking Safety, an evidence-based model for these comorbid disorders.  Participants will also receive assessment and treatment resources that can be immediately utilized in practice.

Online registration for the training will be accepted through April 24th at https://www.treatment-innovations.org/store/p195/4-27-18-WV  You can inquire about the availability of onsite registration by emailing Dr. Penny Koontz at koontz7@marshall.edu.  We hope to see you there!!


Dr. Emily Selby-Nelson Named American Psychological Association Citizen Psychologist

Dr. Selby-Nelson of Cabin Creek Health Systems has been named a 2018 APA Citizen Psychologist by the American Psychological Association for her dedication, advocacy, and action to address access, quality of care, and quality of life in rural communities.

“Dr. Selby-Nelson exemplifies the definition of a Citizen Psychologist by using psychology to make her community a better place,” said 2018 APA President Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD. “Helping to improve lives one community at a time is how we can change the world.”

Along with her volunteer activities within the American Psychological Association on rural health issues as an early career psychologist, Dr. Selby-Nelson has also committed herself to raising awareness to the mental health crisis facing rural Americans through frequent public speaking engagements in her community about rural mental health disparities. Aside from her daily work in rural primary care to ensure that health and mental health services remain accessible in her rural communities, Dr. Selby-Nelson extends beyond her role to support her communities.  This was personified during the severe “one hundred year flood” in 2016 when water levels rose above 10 feet devastating the small town of Clendenin, WV.  Dr. Selby-Nelson worked tirelessly with her CCHS team for weeks working out of tent clinics, doing door-to-door house checks, ensuring food and shelter, distributing hygiene and other items during house calls, addressing crises, and participating in community wide disaster relief efforts.  She worked vigilantly with her community over the ensuing months to address increasingly worsened barriers to care, such as access to transportation and money for health care.  “When the community needs her the most, Emily answers the call.”

Launched by Daniel, the Citizen Psychologist Initiative recognizes APA members who engage their communities through public service, volunteerism and board membership. Representing every branch of psychology, Citizen Psychologists serve as long-term volunteers for Habitat for Humanity; participate in church ministries; and volunteer as expert speakers for non-profit organizations, among other roles. “Through their efforts, Citizen Psychologists work toward APA’s mission to use psychology to benefit society and improve people’s lives,” Daniel said.




WVPA March 2018 Newsletter


Dear Colleagues –

Though it looks like winter outside, spring is around the corner! I’m grateful to see that the majority of WVPA members have renewed their WVPA dues for 2018. More and more early career and student members are joining the association, and many have elected to participate in WVPA committees and task forces. Their energy and enthusiasm, plus fresh, new ideas have continued to motivate me this year. We have renewed many of our committees and taskforces, and I look forward to continuing to update you on our goals and targets.

Your WVPA Leadership has been very busy. As you’ll read below, six delegates from West Virginia attended the APA Practice Leadership Conference in Washington, DC this past week. This conference is invaluable for state psychological associations; not only do we learn best practices for managing our associations, but we also visit Capitol Hill to visit with our federal legislators. Suffice to say that the WVPA delegation is exhausted but also quite grateful for this opportunity.

The next significant WVPA event is the 2018 Spring Conference, which will be held on the Marshall University Campus in Huntington on April 27, 2018. Dr. Lisa Najavits is a well-respected and internationally known researcher and clinician, who developed the Seeking Safety program for treating trauma and substance use disorder. This year, Dr. Koontz (President-Elect and Program Chair) has developed an innovative model to train not only psychologists but many other behavioral health professionals. WVPA has partnered with the WV DHHR Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities, Marshall University Department of Psychology, Marshall University Wellness Center, and The Trust to keep costs as low as possible and to offer CE’s to all participants. The conference brochure is attached with all details. Registration is open and there are still spots available (http://wvpsychology.org/2017-spring-conference/).

Many of us have been deeply affected by the terrible school shooting in Parkland, Florida last month. The WVPA Board of Directors voted in favor of WVPA joining many other state and national mental health organizations to support the Call to Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the USA, Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community Violence. Please check our website for helpful and informative information for professionals, parents, and kids as we continue to cope with this tragedy (http://wvpsychology.org/legislative/).

I am encouraged by the energy in WVPA, and look forward to seeing some new faces at the Spring Conference in Huntington. As always, if you have questions or concerns or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact me at jluzier@hsc.wvu.edu.

Best wishes,

Jess Luzier, Ph.D., ABPP

2018 WVPA President

Federal Advocacy Committee Update, by Dr. Emily Selby-Nelson

The APA Practice Leadership Conference (PLC) is the annual advocacy and leadership training conference for leaders in professional psychology practice. The conference brings together psychologists from the states, U.S. territories and Canada, along with APA governance and divisions, to advocate for issues important to practicing psychologists. The conference also fosters leadership and effective governance strategies for participating associations. Participants include students, early career psychologists, diversity leaders, and expert psychologists from across the field of professional psychology.  The inclusion of such a diverse group of psychologists from a range of practice experience and expertise contributes to the breadth and diversity of learning and collaboration that ignites the unique energy and solution focus that characterize the experience.

Over 500 psychologists from all different perspectives in professional psychology attended PLC from March 10-13. The conference culminates in a day of advocacy on Capitol Hill, where psychologists lobby on topics important to psychological practice and issues relevant to the improvement of access to quality behavioral health services. Past Hill visits have brought psychologists face-to-face with legislators to increase the public’s access to psychological services — for example, in achieving true mental health parity and advocating for meaningful health care reform.

This year’s PLC conference theme, “Advancing Practice Together,” provided intensive leadership training focusing on strategies targeting the identification of shared goals and the formation of strategic and effective alliances with other psychologists, health care professionals, systems, and elected officials.  The West Virginia delegation included Sarah Reynolds, MA (APAGS/student representative), Emily Selby-Nelson, PsyD (Federal Advocacy Coordinator and Early Career Psychologist representative), Shelia Robinett, PsyD (Diversity Delegate), Penny Koontz, PsyD (WVPA President Elect), Jessica Luzier, PhD, ABPP (WVPA President), and Jocelyn Burum, PsyD (WVPA Executive Director).  Our advocacy team participated actively in important discussions throughout the conference, shared lessons learned from our experiences in leadership and advocacy in West Virginia, and learned many new ideas to share with WVPA as the association continues to evolve and better meet the needs of our membership.

On lobby day, the WVPA delegation visited each of our Senate and Congress offices to advocate for Medicare and Medicaid legislation that will improve access to much needed behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment.  In the midst of our state’s collective effort to improve the lives and well-being of those individuals most in need across our state, these lobbying efforts could not have been more current.  West Virginian individuals, families, and communities have struggled through hardship triggered by the opioid epidemic, and psychologists are perfect situated to share the voices of the voiceless. The WV delegation was honored to represent other hardworking psychologists across WV who care deeply for our state and citizens, and additionally look forward to continue the mission of “advancing practice together.”

Would you like to get more involved in Federal Advocacy Initiatives? If so, please email Dr. Selby-Nelson at enelson@cchcwv.com.



    • Dr. Shelia Robinett and Mayor Steve Williams accepted a first place award for the Open to All Campaign on behalf of the City of Huntington. The award was presented at the Breakfast Honoring Excellence in Multicultural and Diversity Initiatives by the National League of Cities in Washington, DC on March 12, 2018.
    • Dr. Marianna Linz is featured on page 39 of this month’s APA Monitor for her incredible work advocating for graduate students with West Virginia federal legislators.  http://www.apamonitor-digital.org/apamonitor/201803/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=1&folio=39#pg42
    • Dr. Jess Luzier was interviewed for an article titled Sequence of States: Psychologists Advocate for a Shift in Training Requirements in the 2018 Winter issue of APA Good Practice. This article described the shift in many state licensing law to recognize predoctoral training hours as counting toward licensure requirements.
    • Drs. Chantel Weisenmuller, Brittany Canady, and Jess Luzier had a productive phone meeting earlier this month to revitalize WVPA’s Colleague Assistance Program. This committee is recruiting more members, especially early career psychologists and students. Please contact Dr. Weisenmuller if you are interested in assisting at chantel.weisenmuller@hsc.wvu.edu.
    • Let us recognize you or a colleague for a professional accomplishment! Please email info@wvpsychology.org so that we can include it in our next monthly communication.



WVPA February 2018 Newsletter

Dear Colleagues –

I can’t believe we are already half way through the month. 2018 seems to be flying by! I am grateful to see that more than half the WVPA members have renewed their dues for 2018. Please renew by the end of this month, or you will lose access to this listserv and other important member resources. The easiest way to renew is online at http://wvpsychology.org/2018-membership-dues/.

Already, the generosity of WVPA members and leaders has been truly impressive. Your WVPA Board of Directors is working hard to advocate for the association. At our first board meeting of the year last weekend, we discussed many exciting events and initiatives. Just this week, a group of 11 psychologists and trainees met with state lawmakers, communicating the value of psychologists and advocating for an issue of import. Six leaders plan to attend the APA Practice Leadership Conference in March in Washington, DC, where we will visit our federal legislators on Capitol Hill (more updates to come next month). Committee work is underway, with many new volunteers from across the state who are putting time and energy into WVPA. I’ve already been in touch with state leaders about the feedback from the WVPA Substance Abuse Taskforce on the DHHR Opioid Response Plan (see http://wvpsychology.org/legislative/).  And of course, I couldn’t be more excited about the 2018 Spring Conference announcement (registration is open: https://www.treatment-innovations.org/store/p195/4-27-18-WV); Dr. Penny Koontz has an incredible vision and knack as the Program Chair!

I am encouraged by the energy in our association, and look forward to seeing folks at the Spring Conference in Huntington. As always, if you have questions or concerns or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact me at jluzier@hsc.wvu.edu.

Best wishes,

Jess Luzier, Ph.D., ABPP

2018 WVPA President

State Advocacy Committee Update:

In state government news, our 2018 Legislative Day at the Capitol Building on 2/13/2018 in Charleston was a successful venture for practitioners and students alike. This year eleven people attended, including four practicing psychologists and seven psychology Psy.D graduate students from Marshall University.  Those in attendance made new friends in the legislature and built on existing ones with our state officials.  We were able to provide state senators and delegates with our mission statement at WVPA and field any questions that they had about our organization.  We also had the opportunity to talk about what kinds of health and mental health issues we could assist our legislators with if they should need a professional to testify or educate others at state hearings. Finally, we discussed our strong support for House Bill 4435, the Youth Mental Health Protection Act.  Armed with information from the American Psychological Association, we discussed the negative effects of so-called “conversion therapy” on our youth in WV.  HB 4435 would make it illegal to perform conversion therapy on anyone under 18 years of age.  The bill is, at current time, in the House Health and Human Resources Committee.  We looked forward to its successful passage in the near future!  We also look forward to another WVPA legislative day in 2019.

Those who attended WVPA 2018 Legislative Day were: David Clayman, Ph.D., Scott Fields, Ph.D., Jessica Luzier, Ph.D., ABPP, and Jake Van Horn, Psy.D. The following graduate students from the Marshall University Psy.D. program attended: Carrie Dean, Beth Gentry, Jessica Hunter, Briana McCoy, Jacob Mills, Ashley Sansone, and our WVPA Board of Directors student representative Sarah Reynolds

Submitted by:

Scott A. Fields, PhD

Chair, WVPA State Government Affairs


WVPA January 2018 Newsletter

Dear Colleagues –


Welcome all new and returning WVPA members and Happy New Year! This year, I plan to reach out in monthly listserv communications to update you on WVPA events. Monthly updates will also include updates from members of the WVPA Board of Directors and Committees.

My first order of business is to communicate the value of your membership in your state psychological association. Most of you have seen the emails referencing the 2018 WVPA Membership Drive. This is an important initiative for psychologists in our state, as the climate for both practitioners and psychological scientists is ever changing. Academic budgets are shrinking, research support is dwindling, and teaching loads are increasing. Compounded with these challenges is the importance of timely access to high-quality, ethical, evidence-based psychological care. Psychologists treat patients with complex needs and significant comorbidities. Now more than ever, our state needs us.


When you join WVPA, you are communicating your desire to stand with your colleagues in a collective voice. We are indeed stronger together. Personally and professionally, I’ve found that advocating for my patients and my profession is an antidote to burnout. Let me highlight this with an example from WVPA. Already, the State and Federal Government Affairs committees are preparing for important advocacy ventures. WVPA has formally aligned with Fairness WV to support a ban on conversion therapy for youth. Additionally, we are working with state legislators on promoting the recruitment of psychologists to West Virginia and addressing the substance abuse crisis in our state. A WVPA delegation will be visiting our Federal legislators on Capitol Hill in March as well. Are there other legislative or policy issues that you are passionate about? Consider joining the government affairs committee by emailing Scott Fields, sfields@hsc.wvu.edu.


My pledge to the membership during this year as WVPA President is that I will be present and communicate regularly. If you have questions or concerns or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact me at jluzier@hsc.wvu.edu.


Best wishes,

Jess Luzier, Ph.D., ABPP; 2018 WVPA President


Get to know your new Board Members:

Susan Walker-Matthews, Ph.D. (2018-2020 WVPA Treasurer), completed her internship at WVU Charleston Division, followed by 17 years at the Family Resource Center, and now owns/operates a private practice,  Medallion Psych.

She explained, “WVPA is valuable to me because it gives me a chance to connect with other psychologists who understand the complexities of living and working in a small community, the unique needs of our client population, and who share my goal for staying in the state and improving opportunities for future psychologists. I chose to take a leadership role in WVPA because I would like to support their efforts at the state level and I believe having experience in both a large hospital-based, group practice and now a small, fee-for-service private practice will allow me to provide a unique perspective that would be beneficial.”

Billy Rutherford (WVPA Representative At Large 2018-2019) is a clinical psychologist in the trauma recovery program at the Huntington VA Medical center, and earned a Psy.D. from Marshall University in 2009.

He explained, “WVPA is an accessible organization with knowledgeable, approachable members and officers that provides an enjoyable and informative professional environment for meeting training and other professional needs. The value of WVPA, to me, is the opportunity to stay educated about the dynamic state of the practice of psychology in WV and to be a part of a collective, informed response to changes that affect our practice environment.  I chose to take a leadership role in WVPA in order to make a more active contribution to a professional community that has provided a valuable experience for me, and, to open that experience for others.”

Sarah Reynolds, M.A. (WVPA Student Representative) is a 3rd year student in Marshall’s Psy.D. Program.

She explained, “I believe WVPA is important because it helps psychologists in the state stay connected and up to date on current issues and events in the field. This community becomes even more valuable in a state like West Virginia where many practicing psychologists are in rural, more isolated areas. I was interested in taking a role with WVPA to expand my knowledge and experience with advocacy and leadership within the field of psychology. This has been an important part of my education throughout my graduate career. I also hope I am able to represent fellow graduate students well within the organization and help continue to bridge the gap between current and future professionals.”