Advocating for research in geropsychology

APA members discuss psychology and aging with members of Congress in their home districts.

Congress may have been in recess during August, but that did not stop members of the American Psychological Association from continuing to promote psychological science to their federal legislators.

Members of APA’s Division 20 (Adult Development and Aging) took advantage of the recess to meet with legislators in their Congressional district offices, while others invited legislators to tour their labs.

These psychologists spoke about how psychologists are working to better the lives of the nation’s aging population and the need for further federal investment in psychological research.

Here are a few highlights from the visits:


 

Dr. Katherine King (William James College) and her student, Michelle Jolson, met with Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) in his district office where they had an in-depth discussion on mental health research and cost-effective interventions. Dr. King thanked Rep. Kennedy for all he has done in support of mental health research and encouraged him to continue along this path in the future.

From left to right: Michelle Jolson, Joe Kennedy, Katherine King

From left to right: Michelle Jolson, Joe Kennedy, Katherine King


 

Dr. Walter Boot (Florida State University) provided a tour of his lab to staff from the office of Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL). Throughout the tour, Dr. Boot and his team emphasized the importance of behavioral research on aging and technology and the role of psychologists in supporting aging individuals.

Walter Boot (left) demonstrates a computer system, specially designed for older adults at risk for social isolation, to staff members of Rep. Dunn’s office (from left to right: staff members Will Kendrick, Meghan Myhill, and Amanda Daughtry).

Walter Boot (left) demonstrates a computer system, specially designed for older adults at risk for social isolation, to staff members of Rep. Dunn’s office (from left to right: staff members Will Kendrick, Meghan Myhill, and Amanda Daughtry).

Dr. Boot, along with Dr. Neil Charness (Florida State University), also met with a staff member in Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) office, to discuss the need for increased funding of behavioral research in aging and challenges in preparing the workforce, including psychologists, to meet the needs of an aging population. They highlighted efforts by APA’s Committee on Aging to encourage interest in geropsychology, including the release of the Careers in Aging Roadmap.

In addition, Drs. Boot and Charness demonstrated to Sen. Rubio’s staff the software their team developed for older adults at risk for social isolation, as well as their driving simulator and virtual reality equipment.


 

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) toured several labs at the University of Florida’s College of Public Health and Health Professions at the invitation of Dr. Michael Marsiske. Marsiske’s team (along with faculty from the clinical and health psychology and neurology departments) focused on the importance of federal investment in clinical and biomedical research.  As an example of the outcomes of such investment, they demonstrated to Rep. Yoho how their work to better detect early changes in cognitive function and postpone cognitive decline has the potential to improve daily functioning in older adults. 

Read Dr. Marsiske’s blog post about Rep. Yoho’s visit.


 

Dr. Lisa Brown (Palo Alto University) and her student, Tristan Hansell, met with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) in her district office for a discussion of that focused on how psychology can inform disaster response for older adults.

From left to right: Lisa Brown, Anna Eshoo, and Tristan Hansell

From left to right: Lisa Brown, Anna Eshoo, and Tristan Hansell


 

Dr. Katherine Judge (Cleveland State University) met with the district director for Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), for a broad discussion of the value of the federal investment in behavioral and health research. Rep. Judge, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has a particular interest in diabetes, nutrition and obesity.