Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe, Ph.D.
I am honored to be nominated for President of the National Academy of Neuropsychology. I am currently a Herbert L. Eastlick Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at Washington State University. For the past 24 years, I have been committed to training students in the field of neuropsychology. Since graduate school, NAN has played an important role in my professional development. I presented my first poster and received my first research award as a student at NAN. Since then, my career in academia has included (a) training over 25 accomplished doctoral and post-doctoral students who are actively contributing to the field of neuropsychology; (b) serving as PI or Co-PI on more than 12 million dollars in funded research and training grants that have advanced work in neuropsychology; (c) serving as author or co-author on more than 150 publications investigating cognitive changes, everyday functioning and interventions for individuals with traumatic brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases; and (d) serving in numerous leadership (Chair, Director, Board Member) and service positions (e.g., NAN, NIH and CMS panel committees), where I have advocated for the work of neuropsychologists. These experiences have provided me with the skills, knowledge-base, understanding of the NAN organization, and passion for our field’s mission to serve as an effective president. My current transdisciplinary work with computer scientists and engineers developing smart technologies for health assessment and assistance is one of many examples of how neuropsychologists are moving health care forward and creating new opportunities for neuropsychologists. I will advocate for continued investment into training opportunities (DistanCE, webinars) and research opportunities (Clinical Research Grants program). I will promote NAN efforts to bring together diverse groups of professionals and organizations, like the Geriatric Summit, to develop collaborative solutions for important societal issues. I will enthusiastically support the NAN committees that play an important role in advocating for our profession. These efforts include both direct advocacy, efforts to educate the public, and the writing of policy papers. I have been inspired by the growth in our profession and expanding career options, which reflects the work of organizations like NAN and their members. I want NAN to play an important role in the professional development of all academy members and future generations of neuropsychologists. I feel strongly about giving back to our field and would embrace the opportunity to move the mission of NAN forward by serving you as president.
Dr. Schmitter-Edgecombe is a member of the following organizations:
- American Psychological Association (Member) - Divisions 40 (Neuropsychology) and 22 (Rehabilitation Psychology)
- International Neuropsychological Society (Member)
- The International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment (Member)
- National Academy of Neuropsychology (Member - Professional)
Candidate Positions on the Issues:
How does your background qualify you for this office?
Over the course of the past six years, I have had the opportunity to learn about the academy governance, missions, and directives through my involvement in committee work and participation in the biannual NAN Board meetings. I am currently the program chair for the 2018 NAN Annual Conference in New Orleans. Prior to that, I served as a member and then in a 3-year term as Chair of the NAN Clinical Research Grants Committee. My familiarity with many of the current NAN initiatives will allow me to immediately begin working on behalf of the NAN membership. I am confident that I will be supported in these efforts, given my work to date with many dedicated NAN members who enthusiastically volunteer their time and talents to further the mission of the academy. My years of experience as principal investigator of multiple large research and training grants, my work with students, and my service and leadership roles on university and national committees have honed my problem-solving skills and my ability to communicate clearly, negotiate effectively and facilitate moving efforts forward. My multi-disciplinary team work and experience training students in the field of neuropsychology have taught me how to advocate for the role of neuropsychology. My work and that of my students has also provided me with a diversity of perspectives that will allow me to consider multiple viewpoints when discussing important issues facing NAN. It would be a privilege to apply these skills and years of experience on behalf of the academy.
What do you see as the major challenges to neuropsychology in the next 5 years? How do you believe NAN, under your leadership, can be effective in meeting these challenges?
Our population is both aging and becoming more diverse. Technology is changing health care. Furthermore, we have entered an era of health care reform and integrated health care. Our profession must keep pace with these societal changes and with technological advances to provide quality services and to flourish. Our training as neuropsychologists makes us uniquely qualified to be both leaders and collaborators in health care reform efforts. It is important that we take advantage of technological advances and be involved in the development of technologies that can improve our assessment and intervention efforts. We should strive to make certain that our instruments can accurately assess individuals from diverse populations and that we understand how implicit biases may impact our work. We must continue to educate and demonstrate the value of neuropsychology, especially in emerging areas of specialty and within collaborative care models. We must also ensure that the new generation of neuropsychologists has the training and tools to advance our profession. To meet these challenges, I will continue to support NAN efforts to invest in research, advocacy, continuing education and training, as well as to provide public education. I will advocate for efforts that promote diversity, collaboration between professions, and innovation within our field. I will also encourage discussion around technology and how we can best train and prepare the next generation of neuropsychologists to meet the changing landscape within neuropsychology.
How would you promote professional practice?
NAN currently fosters many important programs and has several committees designed to promote and support professional practice. For example, an impressive amount of advocacy, often requiring time-sensitive responses, occurs through the NAN Legislative Action and Advocacy Committee (LAAC). I will continue to support the efforts of committees like LAAC to advocate at the state and national levels and to build an active network of academy members who can assist with advocacy. I will also work to facilitate growth in two recent NAN initiatives that will foster new opportunities to further promote professional practice. These include the Ambassadors program for training the next generation of leaders and the NAN Online Community. I will encourage NAN committee chairs and board members to use the Online Community to solicit information and feedback from academy members thereby promoting involvement and interaction among members around important professional topics. NAN, along with the NAN foundation, have developed educational materials for consumers and have numerous efforts in place to educate policy-makers and the public about the role of neuropsychology. As an educator, I know how important it is to support such efforts along with continuing education opportunities for academy members. I will support investment in quality educational opportunities that reflect the latest research and practice standards at the annual conference and through DistanCE, webinars, and the posting of up-to-date educational materials on the NAN website. I will also advocate for opportunities to better prepare academy membership to discuss their work with the media.
How do you plan to bridge science and practice?
I am currently a professor in an APA-accredited scientist-practitioner doctoral training program. Throughout my career, one of the primary goals of my research program in neuropsychology has been to bridge the gap between science and practice. My current work aims to promote the everyday functional independence of individuals with cognitive impairments by developing interventions and technologies that can promote proactive health care and real-time intervention. My involvement in clinical work and training and the clinical experiences of my students have consistently informed the research being conducted in my laboratory. To bridge science and practice, I will encourage dialogue and collaboration between NAN researchers and clinicians so that laboratory work can be both relevant and better translated into everyday practice. I will support efforts to invest funding into innovative research projects that can translate basic research findings into meaningful neuropsychological tools and interventions that will enhance human health. At the national level there have been increasing efforts to establish large registries for research purposes by educating the public about the importance of contributing to research. I will encourage involvement of NAN and academy members in such efforts. I will also support the continued development of varied NAN mechanisms, including the academies journal, book series, CE programs, webinars and the NAN bulletin. These efforts are of significant importance as they allow NAN members to stay current and confidently practice based on knowledge gained from recent empirical research.