January 9, 2018

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.”



Have you or a colleague recently published an article or book, received grant funding, or another professional accomplishment? If so, please email info@wvpsychology.org so that we can include it in our next monthly communication.


Save the Dates!

WVPA Spring Conference: Friday April 27, 2018

Marshall University Campus, Registration and Details Forthcoming!


WVPA Fall Conference: Friday-Saturday, October 12-13, 2018

Stonewall Jackson Resort and Conference Center