WVPA December Newsletter

Dear Colleagues –

Happy Holidays! I am approaching the end of my year as President of WVPA, and I’m feeling so grateful for this experience. In that spirit, I’d like to reiterate some of the remarks that I made at the Fall Conference banquet about our association, and some of my hopes for the future of WVPA.

We psychologists need each other. While national and specialty guild organizations have their value, I hope that my colleagues do not lose sight of the value right here. WVPA is the association where the rubber meets the road for those of us practicing and teaching in West Virginia. We have a responsibility to our patients, and to our professions. Your decision to support WVPA has been critical. And there are more hurtles ahead. There will be hurtles as new accreditation standards and licensure models are created. There will be hurtles when more legislation and policy is proposed that hurt the patients we treat, or even hurt us as providers. There will be hurtles when future policy undermines good science. When you join and support WVPA, you are addressing these hurtles. Your support ensures that WVPA can continue to be the premier association to offer the highest quality, evidence-based trainings to mental health providers in the state. Your support ensures that we have a presence with our policy makers and legislators. If we are not at the table, we are on the plate. And your support will provide incentives for your own career, from research to referral networks to leadership.

But I still don’t think those are the BEST things about WVPA. I think our relationships with each other, collegiality, and fellowship have the highest value. Many of my WVPA colleagues have transformed my career. My greatest hope is that our members will experience this incentive. I hope the WVPA family continues to grow.

Leading this association has been an amazing growth opportunity for me. In that spirit, I’d like to thank the people who have helped me to craft my identity as a leader over the past two years, served as role models and guides, and many who have stood out as WVPA leaders in their own right.

–              Dr. Jeannie Sperry, my dear friend who helped me to navigate the challenges of being a leader and a mother.

–              Two of my favorite female mentors from my internship, post-doc, and early career faculty year: Dr. Holly Cloonan and Dr. Susan Walker-Matthews. These women have been role models to me, danced at my wedding, and visited my child when he was hospitalized in the PICU. I am ever grateful. 

–              Dr. Jack Berkeley, who has an exquisite ability to think critically and consider all points of view. He has been a gracious counselor to me with leadership in WVPA.

–              Dr. Scott Fields, who has been my primary mentor during my year of WVPA Presidency. Who always answers my phone calls and has helped me to navigate difficult situations. He has truly helped me to stay afloat.

–              Dr. Marty Amerikaner, who I have always admired for his integrity, composure, and clarity in his communication (even when we disagree!). 

–              Dr. Shelia Robinett, who lovingly and clearly communicated with me and other WVPA leaders that we have a long way to go when it comes to embracing and supporting diverse membership within our association, and the lived experience of members of minority groups as related to policy and politics.

–              Dr. John Linton, who has been a mentor to me for a decade now, once my internship training director and now the Dean of the Health Sciences Center at WVU School of Medicine – Charleston DIvision. He has demonstrated in word and deed the impact a psychologist can make in academic medicine and on the international stage. He has been a shoulder to cry on, a trusted teacher, an ethics expert, and a friend to me.

–              Dr. David Clayman, who has always encouraged me to be my most authentic and boldest self.

–              My colleagues across the nation who are also leading their state associations, especially Michael Ranney, Dr. Bobbie Celeste, and Dr. David Hayes, who “raised me” in the Ohio Psychological Association.

–              My family, especially my partner Chris and my kids (3 year-old Quinn and 1 year-old Beau). I am ever grateful for their steadfast support and cheerleading.

–              And the MVP, Dr. Jocelyn Burum, who has literally been tasked with putting together a 5000 piece Jackson Pollack puzzle when she does not possess all of the pieces. Jocelyn has been an incredible partner during my time in leadership. She has taken a close and diligent look at our systems within the organization and made vast improvements, leading to a record number of members, outstanding communication with legislators and policy makers, and phenomenal customer service. My friendship with Jocelyn is one I will value forever. And she was the happiest bride at her wedding last month!

The 2019 Membership Drive has begun my friends, and I sincerely hope that you will remain committed to our state psychological association in coming years. Renew or join today at https://wvpsychology.org/2019-membership-dues/.  I will do everything possible to ensure that Dr. Penny Koontz has the warmest welcome as our 2019 leader; she is a star!

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

2018 WVPA President

Update from the Executive Director, Dr. Jocelyn Burum

Wow – what a year! 2018 has been a very successful year for WVPA and that is all thanks to you – the members! We’ve also welcomed quite a few new members over the past year, increasing our membership by nearly 20%! Many of us joined together, along with many of our colleagues in related professions, this Spring for an exciting training in Huntington provided by Dr. Lisa Najavits on Seeking Safety. Many members also gathered together for our Fall conference – Psychology: Part of the Solution – in Roanoke, covering topics including prescription privileges for psychologists, workplace violence in healthcare, and the impact of parental opioid use on children, just to name a few. Members have also been busy meeting with government officials, advocating for psychologists at the local, state, and national levels and sharing essential legislative matters with the association. While 2018 has been a great year, we are already gearing up for our 2019 slate of events. Our Spring conference will take place on Friday, April 5 in Morgantown and our Fall conference will take place in Charleston. These four conferences (2018 and 2019 Spring and Fall conferences) have been scheduled in four different cities with the goal of reaching all of our members throughout West Virginia. We hope you will join us for our 2019 events and also take advantage of the member discounts by renewing your membership today! All members are also invited to take part in our committees – Association Management, Membership, Governmental Affairs, and State Assistance. We are thankful for your continued support and ongoing involvement in WVPA and hope to see you all in 2019! Have a happy and safe New Year!

November Newsletter

Dear Colleagues,

Autumn is here, albeit a bit late! WVPA Board Members, Committee Leaders, and Staff are still recovering from a very energetic, stimulating 2018 Fall Conference last month at Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, West Virginia. As our conference reviews demonstrate, this was a phenomenal event with high quality speakers and presentations, relevant discussion, and the camaraderie that many of us have grown to expect with our friends and colleagues at WVPA. Many of the speakers were new to our conference; topics ranged from children to substance use to self-care. We mingled with exhibitors, attendees recorded their observations at our podcast booth, and we hopefully learned a lot.

In addition to the CE programming, this year Dr. Koontz and her leadership team decided to start some new traditions at the Fall Conference. Various board and committee leaders donated baskets to a Silent Auction, and proceeds benefit student scholarships for future conferences. We had a hilarious time attempting to guess our colleagues’ pseudonyms during the resultant bidding wars that took place! It was a smashing success, as over $365 was raised. And the excitement was palpable during the student poster session, where we welcomed nine student projects from across the state. After the banquet, awards ceremony, and officer induction on Friday evening, many of us were delighted to discover a DJ (complete with karaoke) at the Early Career Psychologist Mixer. Let me just say that some of us have some serious dancing/singing talents!

The 2019 Membership Drive will kick off in short order, and I sincerely hope that you will remain committed to our state psychological association in coming years. 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

2018 WVPA President

Important Update on Mandatory Reporting of Overdoses from the WV DHHR

Thanks to the WV Board of Examiners of Psychology for the important information on new requirements for mandatory reporting of overdoses. The attached letter, code and rules outline the reporting requirements for the Office of Drug Control Policy that were established by the West Virginia Legislature and became effective on June 5, 2018.  Under the law, psychologists are required to report their responses to suspected, reported or confirmed overdoses.  If you have questions about this you can contact the Office of Drug Control Policy at (304) 558-8886.

Joint Taskforce on Child Abuse Autumn Updates, Dr. Jen Mills-Price

With a number of changes to state and federal legislation regarding child welfare cases, 2018 has been an interesting year for psychologists working with maltreated children and at-risk families in West Virginia. Chapter 49 of the West Virginia Code was updated to clarify reporting mandated requirements for adults working with children. A statute was amended to require WV DHHR to petition for the termination of parental rights when a parent has not seen his or her child for a continuous period of 18 months. In federal law, the Family First Prevention Services Act was passed. Family First will go into effect next fall. Family First provides for federal reimbursement for mental health services, substance use treatment, and in-home parenting skill training for families at risk of entering the child welfare system. It provides incentives for States to reduce the number of children in out-of-home residential placements. WV DHHR has formed the interagency Child Welfare Collaborative to determine, among other objectives, how Family First will be executed in West Virginia. For more information, please contact mills126@marshall.edu.

Fall Updates from the State Legislative Affairs Committee, Dr. Scott Fields

  1. Fall Legislative Day Cancelled – After phone conversations with trusted contacts at the legislature, it was determined that a fall meeting with legislators would not be feasible.  The Senate and House are busy with articles of impeachment issues and thus were unavailable to schedule appointments ahead of our target meeting dates in mid-November. We will be rescheduling for December 2018.
  2. Future Legislation – Plans are underway to join with Fairness WV on bills for 2019 that would ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy on youth in our state. We will continue to monitor upcoming legislation on substance use disorder treatment and child abuse policy. This fall, Drs. Jess Luzier and Chantel Weisenmuller will be working with Fairness WV to expand services and training for providers when working with transgender people.
  3. West Virginia Psychology Workgroup – Meeting took place in Charleston in October with leaders from both WVPA and WVAPP.  The group discussed  inter-group communications and relationships, child abuse/neglect policy updates, and the APA decision to develop accreditation and model programs for Masters Training.  The group will re-convene in April 2019 in Huntington with the President and President-Elect from each organization.

For more information or updates, please contact sfields@hsc.wvu.edu.


 Congratulations to the 2018 WVPA Fall Conference Student Poster Award Winners, with special thanks to Clayman and Associates for their generous sponsorship!

1st Place: “Associations between Fear of Positive Evaluation, Social Anxiety and Eating Disorder Symptoms in a Clinical Eating Disorder Sample” by Alexandra Thiel, Nicole Della Longa, Katie Kriegshauser, Andrew Jarrett, & Jessica Luzier from the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Behavioral Medicine & Psychiatry/Charleston Area Medical Center

2nd Place: “Medical Care of Postpartum Depression Following Miscarriage” by Sarah Reynolds & Brittany Canady from Marshall University

3rd Place: “Modifying Parental Self-Efficacy and Stress in Incarcerated Populations Using Group Behavior Parent Training” by Thomas Holland, Morgan Minute, John Muncy, Alaina Carter, Jennifer Tiano, & Penny Koontz from Marshall University

Many congratulations to Stephanie Cox, Ph.D., ABPP who was awarded her Board Certification in Clinical Health Psychology in October 2018. We are so excited for this great achievement!

Many congratulations to Dr. Marianna Footo-Linz, Chair of the Department of Psychology at Marshall University, who was awarded the Cynthia D. Belar Education Advocacy Distinguished Service Award from the American Psychological Association Board of Educational Affairs!

WVPA October Newsletter

Dear Colleagues,

I am so eager to welcome many of you to Stonewall Resort for our 2018 Fall Conference next week (registration is still available on our website www.wvpsychology.org). I hope you are ready for a stimulating, relevant, high-quality lineup of continuing education presentations. Many of the topics covered were a direct result of member feedback, including attention to political issues, prescriptive authority for psychologists, wellness and self-care, ethical issues, and treating substance use disorder in the Mountain State. We will be recording member voices for our podcast, celebrating our outgoing and incoming board and committee members, sending well wishes to our Executive Director as she prepares for her wedding the following week, and having some fun and fellowship with the silent auction, poster session, and ECP Mixer on Friday evening. We can’t wait to see you.

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

2018 WVPA President

Lend Your Voice! Billy Rutherford, Psy.D.

In a few days, the West Virginia Psychological Association will hold its Fall Conference at the Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, WV. I am personally looking forward to re-connecting with colleagues, improving my knowledge and skills, and taking in the beautiful setting at a wonderful time of year. Among the many great activities in store for attendees at the conference will be a new experience…the chance to lend your voice to the mental health community by stopping by our Appalachia: On the Mind webcast booth. We are excited to talk with you about your reactions to and ideas for this latest platform to share information about mental health care in Appalachia. If you would like, you can also step up to the mic and share your experiences at the Fall Conference, and your input may be shared on a future episode of Appalachia: On the Mind. If you have not had a chance to listen, you can access the first episode here:   Appalachia: On the Mind. Whatever your interests, I encourage you to become engaged with our association. From my perspective as a representative-at-large over the past year, I can tell you that WVPA is full of people who are ready to welcome your talents and ideas to keep our organization current and vibrant.

Many Congratulations to our 2018 WVPA Fellow: Dr. Scott Fields

Dr. Scott Fields is Professor and Director of Behavioral Science in the West Virginia University – Charleston Division Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Fields earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Ohio University in 2002 after completing an American Psychological Association approved internship at Charleston Area Medical Center/West Virginia University School of Medicine – Charleston Division.  He became a member of WVPA in 2010.  In his first few years of membership, he testified in WV legislative hearings related to veterans affairs and psychology licensure laws. Dr. Fields also gave his first presentation at a WVPA conference in 2010.  He has since participated in twelve more WVPA spring and fall conference workshops, seminars and posters.  For the past three years, he has presented the annual Psych Bowl at WVPA Conferences in an effort to carry on the fun, quiz bowl style tradition that Dr. John Linton started. In 2013, Dr. Fields was elected Representative at Large for WVPA and began working more closely with our organization’s advocacy efforts. This included his attending WVPA state legislative days at the Capitol.  Dr. Fields has attended every legislative day since then, including the now infamous “snow day” in February a few years back. Dr. Fields has also been active in federal advocacy, attending Practice Leadership Conference (formerly State Leadership Conference) and advocating on Capitol Hill three times (2014, 2015, 2017), the latter time as Acting Federal Advocacy Coordinator.  In 2014, Dr. Fields’ time as representative at large was cut short by his appointment as president-elect.  In 2015, while president of WVPA, he assumed State Government Affairs co-chair responsibilities with Dr. Marty Boone.  Dr. Fields continues to serve as chair of State Government Affairs and his efforts in advocacy are on-going   He, along with a team of Dr. Jessica Luzier and lobbyist Frank Hartman, was instrumental in helping get WV House Bill 4594 passed in 2016. This bill eliminated a required postdoctoral supervised year of training for qualified psychologist candidates seeking licensure, paving the way for more early career psychologists to work in West Virginia. Last year, as a WVPA nominee, Dr. Fields received the 2017 American Psychological Association’s Karl F. Heiser Award for Advocacy.

We are honored to present the 2018 Fellow Award to Dr. Scott Fields. Many congratulations!


WVPA September Newsletter

Dear Colleagues –

September is here, and our 2018 Fall Conference is right around the corner. Board members, committee chairs, our Executive Director and I have begun preparations for our final board meeting of the year in October. As I round the bend for the last few months of intensive leadership within WVPA, I am excited to formally and publicly recognize Board Members and Committee Chairs for the incredible efforts they have made throughout the year on WVPA initiatives.

Our Fall conference presentation lineup is outstanding. The topics are relevant to our state, and provide 12 APA-approved continuing education credits (including 3 Ethics CE and up to 3 Veterans CE). Practitioners, academics, and students who serve in many different contexts will learn something new. I hope to see many of you at the Business Meeting on Friday at lunchtime, then again at the evening Awards Presentation.

I can guarantee that you’ll have a good time as a participant (p < .001). Stonewall Resort is a gorgeous place to visit in the autumn, and mid-October will be during the peak fall colors. And this year, we are holding a silent auction on Friday evening, in addition to the Student/ECP mixer (where all are welcome!). Plus, you can record your very own chunk of the next WVPA Podcast between sessions at our booth for Appalachia: On the Mind (check out our first episode hot off the press!). Fellowship is one of my favorite parts of the Fall Conference, and this year will be no different.

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

2018 WVPA President

Fall Conference Registration is Open! Join Us! Dr. Penny Koontz

Greetings Colleagues!  I hope, that by now, you have had the opportunity to review the program for the WVPA fall conference and that you are making plans to attend!  The conference will take place on Friday & Saturday, October 12-13 at the beautiful Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, WV.  The theme for this year’s conference is Psychology: Part of the Solution and I could not be more excited about the events that we have planned!

We offer 12 APA-approved CEs for psychologists, including 3 Ethics and 3 Veteran-related CEs. Practical tools, innovative and evidence-based approaches will be offered through experiential workshops, learning symposia, and panel discussions that will inspire you to be an agent of change for your clients and within your communities.  Again, this year, a poster session is scheduled to showcase some of the great research that folks are doing, and perhaps, provide some opportunities for collaboration with your colleagues.    Plan to enjoy dinner and have a good time at the ECP/Student Mixer on Friday evening.  And, please plan to bring an item or two for the Silent Auction, which will benefit student scholarships to our conferences.

Please register by September 24th for the best rate!  You can easily register online at www.wvpsychology.org. Please feel free to contact me or Dr. Jocelyn Burum with questions. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

Update from our APA Council Representative, Dr. Martin Amerikaner

In early August, the APA Council of Representatives held its summer meeting in conjunction with the Convention in San Francisco.  Council acted on a variety of issues and proposals; the highlights include these:

  1. A key issue concerned the future organizational structure of APA. Council voted to go forward with a reorganization into an integrated c3/c6 model, whereby all members of APA will be members of both units, and both units will work to strengthen APAs capacity to educate and to advocate on behalf of all of Psychology. For the first year of the new model, member dues will be allocated 60% to the c/6 and 40% to the c/3.
  2. The issue that generated the most discussion and affect was a proposal from military psychologists to reverse current policy and again allow military psychologists to provide health services to detainees. Current policy allows and encourages the military to provide psychological services to detainees by allowing access to independent (non-military) psychologists. After intensive debate, Council voted 105-57 to maintain the current policy, which prohibits military psychologists from providing such services at sites that are not functioning in accordance with international law. In the spirit of open communication, I want you to know that I argued for and voted with the majority position.
  3. APA’s stance regarding video games continues to generate conflicting positions, and so Council voted to support development of a new task force to thoroughly review the literature in order to inform debate about the current Resolution regarding these games. (I voted “yes”)
  4. Council voted to remove from APA’s website the page focused on the Independent Review. The prominence of the page has been controversial because APA has been awaiting a revision of the Review that has been held up due to legal issues. Proponents of the motion argued that quite a few errors have been noted in the original report, and keeping the report in its current form in a prominent place seems to continuously endorse it as accurate “as-is.” Instead the web material is being reorganized to include a link to the Review, along with an extensive timeline of related events and links to a range of related documents. The Review is still easily accessible, but not featured as prominently as it was.  (I voted “yes”)
  5. In the spirit of more transparency, Council voted for a 3 year trial in which all members’ votes on agenda items will be published and accessible to all APA members. There was some concern expressed that this may have a negative impact on some members ability to vote according to their overriding fiduciary responsibility to the entirety of APA rather than their own constituencies, but ultimately the proposal passed. (I voted “yes”)

I’ll be glad to expand on this brief report and answer members’ questions at the Business Meeting in October.

Notes from the Treasurer, Dr. Susan Walker-Matthews

                I am nine months into my three-year role as treasurer, and I have learned a lot from my fellow board members about what has worked well in the past and what could be done to improve the process of managing our funds. Thanks to the careful budgeting of prior treasurers, executive board members, and our executive director, WVPA has been able to maintain a safe cushion while providing wonderful opportunities for continuing education through our spring and fall conferences. The Board takes their fiscal responsibility very seriously. Although there is one treasurer, the budget and basic account management for WVPA is clearly a team effort.

While learning about the finances of our organization, I have been working to streamline and standardize the format for maintaining sound accounting practices. Our external, paid accountant, has been a valuable asset in setting up online book-keeping that can be easily maintained by future treasurers and allows access by the president, executive director, and treasurer at any time. This new format made our yearly filing much easier and I expect our 3-year audits will also be streamlined when we are finished.  I am currently working with our accountant on an audit that will provide an objective assessment of our accounting history over the last three years. It is my expectation that the results will provide valuable information to further enhance the management of WVPA funds.


Scott Fields, Ph.D., former President of WVPA and catalyst for important legislation that has made our state more welcoming to highly trained psychologists, has been named the 2018 WVPA Fellow. Many congratulations to Scott on a well-deserved honor!

Multiple members of WVPA are actively pursuing American Board of Professional Psychology Accreditation – We will celebrate with them at the culmination of their journey!

WVPA August Newsletter

Dear Colleagues –

Summer is winding down, indeed. You’ve probably noticed that the days are getting shorter. We even experienced some cool mornings in Charleston a few weeks back. I am pinching myself as I prepare my oldest son to begin preschool. All the while, your WVPA Board of Directors and committee members have remained engaged. In mid-July, all members of the Board met via conference call to discuss some important developments for WVPA. We have provided important updates for the membership on our website (https://wvpsychology.org/committees/), and we continue to add resources for psychologists and the public (https://wvpsychology.org/resources/). Plans are moving along for the Fall Conference as well, just a few short months away.

I want to thank the majority of WVPA members who voted in our recent election. I could not be happier with the nominees for 2019 Board Member positions, who were willing to volunteer their time for their state psychological association. Jen Mills Price, Psy.D. has been selected as the President-Elect, Emily Selby-Nelson, Psy.D. will serve as the Early Career Psychologist Representative at Large., and Britany Canady, Ph.D., ABPP will serve a 3-year term as Secretary. Chantel Weisenmuller, Ph.D. will take the helm as our representative from West Virginia to the APA Council of Representatives. As I round the corner during my year leading this organization, I have full faith that these incredible colleagues will continue to grow WVPA. Furthermore, our By Laws change passed in a landslide, which means our organization can upgrade our committee structure and systems for the sake of greater effectiveness, sustainability, and efficiency (see new By Laws here https://wvpsychology.org/links-of-interest/).

In preparation for the 2018 Fall Conference at Stonewall Resort, we will be asking members to complete two important surveys. These will be sent to you from our Executive Director, Jocelyn Burum, via email. One will be assessing attitudes toward Prescriptive Authority for psychologists. The other survey will allow our Colleague Assistance Committee to better understand the needs of psychologists in our state. Please take a few minutes to complete these surveys, as the results will be reviewed during various CEU sessions at the Fall conference. And remember, there is still time to submit your poster presentation (cash prize for students!, see https://wvpsychology.org/2018-fall-conference-poster-proposal/).

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

2018 WVPA President

Psychologist Self-Care and Well-Being

Chantel Weisenmuller, Ph.D., WVPA Colleague Assistance Committee Chair


As psychologists, we are very attuned to the emotional and support needs of the people we work with and care about – our clients, co-workers, colleagues, and students.  Away from the office, we also support the emotional and instrumental needs of our friends and loved ones in our day-to-day life.  Too often, we leave ourselves off the to-do list or put others’ needs before our own.  Over time, this can contribute to mounting stress and feeling overwhelmed.  Indeed, a growing body of research supports what psychologists have long suspected: practicing self-care is an essential aspect of our practice and our well-being as individuals.

Developing an effective (and flexible) self-care plan can help us be resilient practitioners, by buffering daily stressors, reducing the likelihood of burn-out, and mitigating compassion fatigue. A number of excellent resources to help us do so are available online, such as this resource from the APAPO and this from the American Counseling Association.  As an additional resource, the WVPA Colleague Assistance Committee will present a symposium during the WVPA Fall 2018 Meeting (Psychologist Well-Being and Competent Practice) that will include developing self-care plans and learning more about the benefits and roles of Colleague Assistance Programs.

State Psychological Associations support psychologist well-being and self-care through Colleague Assistance Programs.  WVPA’s Colleague Assistance Committee is currently developing a formal Colleague Assistance Program to offer additional support and consultation for psychology professionals at all stages of their careers (graduate school through retirement).  If you would like to participate in the WVPA Colleague Assistance Committee, to support psychologist well-being and self-care in WV, please contact us via email.

The West Virginia Psychological Association would like to invite you to complete a survey related to Colleague Assistance Programs (CAP).  WVPA is currently in the process of re-developing a CAP and would appreciate feedback from all current psychologists and future psychologists in the state.  If you would like to participate, the survey can be found at: https://marshall.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3k3OcXhR5n6Wk3X. You may also contact Dr. Brittany Canady at b.canady@marshall.edu for more information.  This study has received approval from the Marshall University IRB (#1299643-1).

The Rise of Podcasts – In the Country, and in WVPA

Jennifer Storer Hughes, Ph.D.

Did you know that podcasts are one of the fastest growing media trends in the country?  According to dictionary.com, a podcast is defined as “a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.”  The Infinite Dial media survey in 2018 highlighted that twenty-six percent of Americans report listening to podcasts at least monthly (compared to only twelve percent in 2013), and seventeen percent report weekly listening.   Podcasts tend to be particularly appealing to Americans ages eighteen to thirty-four, and to college graduates.  Educational podcasts are second only to those in the comedy genre in terms of popularity (via entrepreneur.com).  Some advantages of the podcast format is that they can be consumed virtually anywhere (in the car, at the gym, while making dinner or walking the dog), that they are generally short duration (20-30 minutes, versus an hour-long television program, for example), that they present content in an easily-accessible format (versus reading a journal article or newspaper), and that the user maintains control over what content is downloaded (unlike email communications or television/radio news programs).  This is a trend worth our attention.

The WVPA Communications Committee is in the process of starting production on our own podcast.  Content will include psychology in the news, professional issues, local concerns, and upcoming events.  If you have content ideas, or want to volunteer (yourself or an outstanding colleague) to be interviewed, feel free to email us at WVPAcomm@gmail.com.  Apart from our own podcast, it’s important to be aware that this is a medium that many of your patients are consuming.  It may be worth talking with them about the podcasts they listen to, and how the content affects them.  You might even find some content that is positive, encouraging, or health focused that you can recommend to them (in lieu of or in addition to tried and true self-help literature).  I’d encourage you to explore the options available if you haven’t already.  The range of content is incredibly diverse; there really is something for everyone.

ECP Representative at Large, Dr. Rebecca Denning

I would like to invite WVPA members to increase their engagement in the breadth of opportunities presented by membership and active involvement in the organization.  Members are likely to be most familiar with the formal benefits offered.  For example, I suspect the predominance of the membership experiences the CEU events as a primary benefit of the organization.  Members are also likely to recognize the value of the unstructured time during conferences in connecting with colleagues and networking for professional development.  Perhaps some of our members intend to capitalize on those connections to contribute to the advancement of psychology in our state through the strategic initiatives of the newly reorganized committees. 

While I value these formal professional development experiences, I find greater fulfillment in the less formal possibilities that result from involvement in WVPA.  It is this type of professional enrichment I want to emphasize.  There seem to be rich opportunities to build upon the connections forged through the organization to strengthen individual professional practice.  For example, I have found the organization helpful in linking with others who share specialized interests.  While I have the advantage to working in an organization with a large behavioral health department with a wealth of knowledge and expertise, when I need collegial feedback in my own specialty interests or areas not represented in my department, it can be helpful I turn to colleagues with whom I have connected through WVPA.  There are opportunities for those who serve particular patient populations or presenting concerns to connect.  There are opportunities for those who work in particular settings to connect.   For example, a specific interest of mine currently relates to collaborating to build an integrated practice within a Federally Qualified Healthcare center.  I both regularly meet with colleagues within my organization to identify goals, monitor progress, and problem-solve and I find it invaluable to link with colleagues in FQHCs throughout the state to share ideas and experiences. There are also opportunities to utilize this network of colleagues to advance wellness, such as clinicians gathering from diverse areas of the state of several clinicians for a day of mindfulness practice. 

I invite members with broad ranges of interest and expertise to access the linkages among members to advance their professional development in similar or other creative ways.  Doing so seems a way to highlight and strengthen the talent that exists amongst our membership and to disseminate and expand this expertise. 



Keith Beard, Psy.D., April Fugett, Ph.D. (professors of psychology, Marshall University), Britani Black, M.A., and Carrie Dean, M.A. (doctoral students, Marshall University) presented their research at the 2018 Comic-Con International in San Diego, CA in July. Their presentations were titled: From Mickey Mouse to Mary Poppins: How Does Personality Influence Our Favorite Disney Characters? and Psychology and Shipping: Factors that Influence Character Pairings.


Congratulations to the multiple WVPA Members who are presenting at the 2018 APA Convention in California this week!


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: https://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 (https://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 (https://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 (https://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 https://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 https://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.”