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As we approach the election season, I ask that you choose me as your NYSPA President. Being involved in NYSPA has been one of the best experiences within my professional career. NYSPA has become my home, I have developed many friends, and I have developed a strong appreciation for mentorship.
As a clinician and academic, I acquired a core value of “paying it forward.” Students and early career psychologists are essential for the survival of psychology. Part of my passion has been to involve students in research and bring them into NYSPA. This allows them to appreciate NYSPA’s role in representing all members of the psychology community. As president, I would like to pair student/ECP members with mid-to-late career psychologists in order to support career development and provide leadership opportunities.
Also, as an alumnus of the Leadership Institute, I recognize the importance of identification, training, and mentorship of new officers. This program results in fellows becoming officers throughout the organization. As your president, I would be the first fellow to assume this office. I will continue to invest in this program, as I believe it to be vital to the organization.
I have been an advocate for psychology at APA, NYSPA, and local levels. If selected, I will continue to promote the interests of practitioners in independent practice, inpatient, outpatient, and community mental health. My involvement with NYSPA has been reflective of my commitment to diversity. I intend to bring this passion into my presidency, keeping diversity a priority.
NYSPA’s current organizational structure promotes remarkable exchange of ideas and fosters democracy. I will enhance collaboration between divisions and regions though co-sponsorship of events, programing throughout the state, and identifying academics to share their ideas. This will also strengthen relationships between scholar-practitioners, academic institutions, and NYSPA.
I was born and raised in Atlantic City, NJ. I was the youngest of four children in a secular Jewish family. My father was the ultimate Renaissance man. He seemed to have knowledge in virtually any area and instilled me with a love for learning that continues to fuel me. What is most remarkable is that he was self-taught - he was an avid reader and collector of books. My mother made it her commitment to raise us, and she was responsible for shaping my character into what it is today. She taught me what it means to give to another person. She gave everything she had to the family and those around us. So, while my childhood was one that could be described as a continuous struggle for survival, my parents refused to let poverty prevent us from seeking a better life.
I would be disingenuous if I didn’t recognize that growing up in Atlantic City forced me to be exposed to some of the harshest realities of life. I observed how poverty, drugs, homelessness and prostitution are epidemics that plague communities. That experience has resulted in me taking on an advocacy role early on in my life, and I continue to carry these experiences with me.
My life would be forever altered in my senior year of high school. I began to question my purpose in life. This began my personal search for meaning. I started to ponder the nature of existence. However, I had no mechanism for exploration. This changed when I was as Stockton State College (now Stockton University). During this time, I met a Rabbi who would serve as a religious sparring partner. I challenged him on whether God existed, the veracity of the Torah, and the power of the Rabbis to interpret the text. Throughout this year, I started to become more committed to my faith, but Jewish life in Atlantic City is very limited.
I was encouraged to do a year of study aboard. I went to Aish HaTorah and continued my spiritual development. At the end of the first year, I felt that there was still so much to learn. So, what started as one year became two, three, and four. This resulted in a Bachelor in Talmudic Law degree. I also met my future wife and mother of my two children here.
After marriage, we decided to return stateside. However, we were expecting and I was still not in a position to financially take care of a child. So, I enrolled at the College of Staten Island and focused on earning a second bachelors degree in psychology. I had the opportunity to work with Drs. Sarah Berger and Ben Kest. While working with Ben Kest, he encouraged me to graduate studies in neuropsychology at Queens College.
Ben Kest played and continues to play an important role in my life. He was influential in getting me a graduate teaching assistantship at the College of Staten Island. At that time, I had no idea how much I would love teaching. I thought that I would just be a clinical neuropsychologist. I have been teaching 11.5 years and haven’t looked back.
However, working in his research lab would prove valuable in teaching me about myself and knowing my limitations. We were doing research exploring the effects of morphine on pain sensitivity to genetically mutated mice. While this research is valuable, I personally struggled with data collection due to my concern about inflicting pain on the mice. I told Ben that “I don’t think this research is for me” and decided to finish up a terminal Masters degree.
Not wanting to lose a year, I decided to enroll in Walden University for a PhD in Clinical Psychology. This has resulted in diverse clinical experiences at inpatient, outpatient, community mental health, nursing homes, and in independent practice. I gained an appreciation for the value of utilizing diverse interventions (e.g., CBT, Psychoanalysis, Family Systems, etc.) in clinical practice. As someone who recently started an independent practice, I appreciate the growth pains that are needed to be successful.
I became more involved in NYSPA around 2011. I was fortunate enough to be part of the second Leadership Institute class. As part of the application process, we were asked to write a 5 and 10-year plan. This exercise was quite remarkable to revisit. I noticed that in some ways, I met these goals. Yet, in other areas, some of my goals remain in progress. However, I am proud to see that my focus has not strayed to far from my original vision.
For example, I stated that I would like to work in the areas of cultural and ethnic minorities and religious studies. So, I became involved in DCRE during that leadership institute class and I continue to honor this commitment. I also noted that I would like to eventually run for a NYSPA-wide office. As can be seen below, I have been involved in over a dozen different NYSPA entities and several external roles with the American Psychological Association and The Association for Psychological Science. These leadership experiences, along with my background giving me the ability to see from many perspectives, make me well prepared to be your president.
In my capacities as NYSPA’s APA Diversity Delegate, and as a member of the legislative and prescriptive authority committees, I have advocated for psychologists in Washington, D.C., Albany, and in Staten Island. As your president, I will continue to advocate for the protection of the practitioners in independent practice, inpatient, outpatient, and community mental health.
I have spent the last 6 years in NYSPA involved in a number of divisions with dedication. Balancing my practice, teaching, research, and my NYSPA responsibilities with parenting a teenage daughter and a son on the autism spectrum has been a challenge that I have appreciated. With each passing year, I have grown and I look forward to encouraging others to take on leadership and mentorship roles and become more involved in NYSPA, as well as the field itself.
NYSPA LEADERSHIP POSITIONS:
- Division Representative to NYSPA Council: Division of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity
- Associate Editor and Contributor NYS Psychologist
- Executive Committee
- Legislative Committee
- Bylaws Committee
- Convention Committee
- Division Committee
- Psychopharmacology Committee
- Executive Director Search Committee
- Diversity Committee
- Internship Crisis Committee
- Leadership Institute Fellow
- Diversity Delegate, American Psychological Association
- Executive board, Association for Psychological Science Student Caucus
List of Supporters
We, the undersigned, strongly recommend that you give your vote to Dan Kaplin, PhD as President-Elect of the New York State Psychological Association.
Andrea Allen, PhD
Adi Avivi, PsyD
Sharon Brennan, PhD
Frank J. Corigliano, PhD
James Dean, PhD
Florence L. Denmark, PhD
Deborah DeSantis-Moniaci, PhD
Leah DeSole, PhD
Veronica Fiske, PhD
David Glenwick, PhD
Heather Glubo, PhD
Vivi Wei-Chun Hua, PhD
Barbara Kapetanakes, PsyD
Edward J. Korber, PhD
Julie Lehane, PhD
Artemis Pipinelli, PhD
Dianne Polowczyk, PhD
Deborah Lazarus, PsyD
Bonnee Price Linden, PhD
Barbara Meehan, PhD
Sarah Nolan, PhD
Evelyn Rappoport, PsyD
Shibani Ray-Mazumder, ScD, PhD
Robert Raymond, PhD
Cherie Ruben, PhD
Shara Sand, PsyD
Christopher A. Sbaratta, PhD
Charles Silverstein, PhD
Janet Sigal, PhD
Vernon Smith, PhD
Carolyn Springer, PhD
Barbara Trilling, PhD
Lori Wagner, PsyD
Virginia Waters, PhD
Keith Westerfield, PhD, MSCP
Ann Winton, PhD
To add your name to this list of supporters, please send your request in writing via one of the following: email firstname.lastname@example.org, fax to (518) 437-0177 or mail to NYSPA, 3 Pine West Plaza, Ste 308, Albany, NY 12205.