Support for members working in the Public Sector and Non-Government Organisations (NGO) has now been formally established within the APS. The Advisory Group on Professional Practice has been formed and is working to meet the needs of psychologists in these groups among others. The Public Sector and NGO Reference Group has also been established.
You may be aware that in late 2006 expressions of interest (EOIs) were sought from interested members to participate in Reference Groups as part of the APS National Office organisational restructure.
This opportunity was drawn to members’ attention via two editions of APS Matters in November and December. Following the first meeting of the Board of Directors in February 2007, the membership of the Public Sector and Non-Government Organisation (PS&NGO)Reference Group was selected from the EOIs and the result produced wide representation nationally.
The Reference Group’s aim is to:
Provide information and advice regarding industrial, organisational and professional matters affecting Public Sector and Non-Government Organisation psychologists;
Identify issues and priorities affecting professional practice in the workplace and provide advice on services provided by the Society related to those issues and priorities; and to
Facilitate communication with members in the various workplace sectors.
This group had its first meeting on April 5, 2007, and will be engaged by email and teleconference periodically through the year.
Nicola Brazil, Chandler Macleod
Leigh Budden, CRS Australia
Janette Gale, Health Coaching Australia
Natalie McCall, Hunter New England Health
Tony Robinson, Encompass Australasia
Peter Murphy, Department of Defence
Carla Day, the Australian Defence Organisation
Roslyn Woodward, Australian National University
Jane Nursey, Austin Health
Linda Scott, Department of Education Victoria
Orania Tokatlidis, University of Melbourne
Allan Dowsett, Victorian Department of Education and Training.
Bronwyn Johnson, Monash University
Kathy Phythian, Department for Victorian Communities
Glen Menezes, Department of Veterans Affairs
Lisa Studman, Disability Services Commission
Rinaldo Minniti, Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia
Jeannette Stott, Department of Health and Community Service Northern Territory
Public Sector Adviser role
The Reference Group is just one mechanism for communication with members. There are other avenues available to all Public Sector and Non-Government Organisation members.
As mentioned in the Executive Director’s report in the December edition of InPsych last year, the National Office appointed a dedicated position in support of members working in Public Sector and Non-Government Organisations.
This position is the Public Sector and Non-Government Organisations Adviser and in that capacity I would like to introduce myself, Kamia Harris. I can be contacted as per the details below.
While there are many issues relevant to psychologists in the Public Sector and Non-Government Organisations, which the APS has addressed and continues to work with, there is now greater opportunity to put forward ideas, areas of concern or suggestions by contacting me.
The position is equivalent to two days per week but due to an additional role I hold, I am generally available to contact five days per week.
The adviser’s role is to establish liaison and consultative mechanisms (including facilitation of formal APS consultative committees) with public sector and NGO groups and individuals with regard to professional and political matters; and develop and manage appropriate initiatives and supports for APS members in the public sector and NGOs.
This position, like that of a similar position established for private practice psychologists, is new, dynamic and evolving.
As the PS&NGO adviser, I am interested to hear of issues affecting your work areas either by phone, email, letter or in person. Furthermore, if you know of a suitable gathering of psychologists that may present an opportunity to enhance or facilitate communication between the National Office and your work area, I would appreciate being advised.
Kamia Harris, APS Public Sector Adviser, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: (03) 8662 3389 or Toll free: 1800 333 497, PO Box 38 Flinders Lane PO, VIC 8009.
Towards the end of 2006, the APS Board called for Expressions of Interest for membership of both the Professional Practice Advisory Group (PPAG) and the Private Practice Reference Group (PPRG).
PPAG will assist the Board by providing expert advice and recommendations. PPRG provides information and advice to PPAG on local and setting specific professional matters and issues affecting psychologists in private practice.
The Board approved the membership of the PPRG on February 2, 2007 and the first face-to-face meeting took place on March 16.
The Reference Group’s role is intended to assume the responsibilities of the recently abolished National Committee for the Division of Professional Practice (DIPP) and therefore to support and coordinate state-based groups of private practitioners.
The Terms of Reference for the group are:
Provide information and advice regarding professional matters affecting psychologists in private practice.
Identify priorities affecting private practitioners.
Facilitate communication with members in various settings.
The PPRG consists of a broad cross-section of private practitioners who nominated for the group as well as the current State DIPP Chairs. Current members are Bruce Stevens (ACT); Nesli Karadeniz, Claire Weightman, Joel Curtis, Gwenda Schreiber (NSW); Tony Franklin, Ted Graham (NT); Anne Thornton (SA); Leonie Coxon (WA); Ashley Wong Hoy, Jeremy Parker (QLD); Penny Brabin, Elizabeth Celi, Michelle Pizer, Michael Burge, Anthony Cichello, Gaynor Perry (VIC) and Christina Anderson, Lib Heyward (TAS).
National Office members are Lyn Littlefield, David Stokes and Bev Ernst, Private Practice Adviser.
As part of the restructure, the position of Private Practice Adviser was created. This is a two-day per week position (Thursday and Friday) and involves liaison between the various consultative committees, private practice groups and individuals with regard to
Professional, business and standard matters;
Developing and managing appropriate initiatives and support for private practitioners, including the establishment of regular, effective communication; and
Liaising with various taskforces, advisory groups and Units within the APS with regard to areas of relevance to private practitioners.
Options for regular communication are being explored including the possibility of a regular column in InPsych as well as a permanent location on the APS website.
The APS is a member-based organisation and, as such, always values feedback from and direct contact with members. Psychologists in private practice now have a dedicated position in National Office, the Private Practice Adviser, to facilitate an understanding of the issues that are particularly relevant to private practice.
As Private Practice Adviser I am very aware of the importance of ease of contact with National Office and I am very interested to hear from Members who would like to raise issues or make suggestions.
I can be contacted directly (Thursday and Friday each week) by phone, email or letter.
Bev Ernst, Email: email@example.com, Tel: (03) 8662 3389 or Toll free: 1800 333 497, PO Box 38 Flinders Lane PO, VIC 8009.
Do you want more information?
1. You should first try the APS website for basic queries: <www.psychology.org.au>.
2. For more complex queries you can contact the Medicare Team at APS National Office.
3. You can also look at the Department of Health and Ageing’s website which has information about ‘Better access to mental health care’:
The APS College of Health Psychologists is actively working to support Medicare funding for psychologists to be extended beyond the current focus on reducing depression to enable the broader goal of alleviating physical health problems.
For some years the APS College of Health Psychologists has been guided by principal aims that include the development and promotion of “the evidence-base for effective health psychology practice”.
Following from these aims the College established a portfolio to review and synthesise the current knowledge regarding the effectiveness of health improvement interventions that have been based on psychological theory, research and practice.
Inclusion and evaluation criteria have emphasised high-quality systematic literature review studies. Evidence for efficacy emphasised improved health outcomes for those exposed to interventions using evaluation designs involving random assignment to a control group and post-intervention follow up. Evidence for effectiveness required, in addition to evidence for efficacy, a demonstration of benefits outside the controlled research context. Evidence was sought by searching the Cochrane collaboration site together with other systematic reviews.
The evidence for health psychology intervention was organised to align with treatment and prevention criteria for a range of health targets including areas that make a high contribution to the burden of disease in Australia.
These reviews have revealed strong evidence for both efficacy and effectiveness in a range of areas. Table 1 below presents a summary of the evaluation evidence located through the present review.
The evaluation criteria utilised in Table 1 uses the following notation.
The symbol O denotes categories where no studies were located. For these areas innovation and formative evaluation may be required to settle an intervention model.
The ◊ indicates areas warranting further research. In these cases an intervention model may be emerging, and process evaluation may be warranted to achieve a safe and effective intervention process.
Evidence for implementation * denotes an intervention manual has been documented and there may be some evidence for efficacy.
The symbol ** denotes evidence for outcome efficacy. This required the weight of evidence to be favourable across two or more experimental and well-controlled trials.
The symbol *** denotes evidence for outcome effectiveness. This required evidence that efficacy could be maintained in realworld service delivery contexts.
Table 1: Health Psychology Intervention Effectiveness Summary
Health Target Treatment Prevention
Evidence for interventions serving market demands.
Interventions important to consumers and health providers.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Digestion, stomach/ bowel disorders
Muscular/skeletal and joint problems
Evidence for interventions addressing health priorities.
Illicit drug use
Health system costs
Evidence for interventions to achieve optimal health.
Positive child and youth development
Wellbeing, wellness and quality of life
Source: Toumbourou, J.W. (2005) The effectiveness of health psychology interventions. Australian Psychological Society, College of Health Psychologists web-publication, pp 1-19.(www.groups.psychology.org.au/chp/resources/)
In reviewing the evaluation literature against various health targets the distinction was made between treatment and prevention. In the present context treatment refers to interventions addressing populations already experiencing the health issue being addressed, while prevention efforts work with either the whole population or vulnerable subgroups to reduce the risk of developing the targeted health outcome.
The strong evidence supporting the application of health psychology in treatment and prevention has been disseminated using a variety of strategies.
Firstly, the review paper that provides the justification for the above synthesis has been made available to members on the College website.
Secondly, update reports have been presented at each of the annual APS meetings.
Thirdly, a summary of this review was prepared as a brochure and this has been disseminated by the APS leadership to advocate for Medicare funding to be extended to health psychology interventions.
The APS College of Health Psychologists argues that Australian public investment in health must be guided by the strongest available evidence. To this end the College will continue to develop, synthesise and disseminate evaluation evidence. As it stands the available evidence presents a compelling case that Medicare funding should now be extended to enable health psychology interventions to be widely implemented.Professor John Toumbourou, Chair in Health Psychology, School of Psychology, Deakin University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org