DeLuca_circle.jpg NAN President-Elect
John DeLuca, Ph.D.

Candidate Statement:

It is an honor to be nominated for President of the National Academy of Neuropsychology. NAN is a very important organization for clinical neuropsychology, and I take the responsibility associated with this position very seriously. I have previously served on the NAN Board as Member-at-Large and was very pleased to experience the dedication of the Board and other committee members to serving the needs and addressing the issues which face clinical neuropsychologists today. In addition to serving on the NAN Board, I have been an active member of NAN since 1990 and have been a NAN Fellow since 1999. I was awarded NAN’s Early Career Contributions Award in 1998. I served on the NAN Clinical Research Grants Committee for 8 years as an original member. I served as a member of NAN’s Task Force on Assessment Issues and Testing Practices, and NAN’s Presidential Commission on the Houston Conference. In 2014-2016, I also served as NAN’s representative to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) work group in the development of quality measurements to be utilized for persons with multiple sclerosis. I have been attending and presenting my scientific work at the NAN Annual Conference for over 25 years. I have seen NAN grow and mature to an active and vibrant organization which today not only serves the professional neuropsychology community, but is actively involved in science, training, advocacy, and public awareness. I look forward to working with the Policy and Planning Committee to continue the significant growth of NAN through new and insightful long-term goals and planning initiatives. I am interested in working with the education committees to ensure we are keeping an eye on the changing training landscape of medicine and neuropsychology, and addressing important issues such as tele-neuropsychology. I will challenge the program committee to look for new and innovative ways to improve the quality of NAN’s annual professional conference. I look forward to working with all of the various committees of NAN to improve the practice, science, education and training for neuropsychology.

Dr. DeLuca is a member of the following organizations:

  • Fellow, National Academy of Neuropsychology
  • Fellow, American Psychological Association, Division 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology), Division 22 (Rehabilitation Psychology), and Division 6 (Behavioral
  • Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology).
  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science
  • Fellow, American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Fellow and Founding Member, Society for Sports Neuropsychology
  • Executive Board Member, International Multiple Sclerosis Cognition Society (IMSCOGS)
  • Member, International Neuropsychological Society
  • Member, Brain Injury Association of America
  • Member, Society for Neuroscience
  • Member, New Jersey Psychological Association
  • Member, Cognitive Neuroscience Society
  • Member, Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers

Candidate Positions on the Issues:

How does your background qualify you for this office?

In addition to my specific activities with NAN (see above), I have been very involved with clinical neuropsychology in general. I served on the Task Force on Education, Accreditation, and Credentialing in Neuropsychology for Division 40 when it was reconstituted in 1993. I subsequently served on the Education Committee of Division 40 from 1995 to 2004. I served as the Newsletter Editor for Division 40 between 1995 and 2001. I recently served on the Executive Board of the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) as Member at Large. I have been on the program committee for NAN, Division 40 and have also served on the Continuing Education Committee of INS. I am also currently on the Editorial Board of numerous journals. I am practicing Clinical Neuropsychologist, specializing in the assessment and treatment of persons with multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injuries. I work actively in the area of sports concussion where I am the team Neuropsychologist for the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the New York Redbulls Major League Soccer (MLS) team. I have been the training director for a post-doctoral fellowship program in Neuropsychology for over 25 years. I also served as one of the delegates for the Houston Conference, which developed guidelines for education and training in clinical neuropsychology. Taken together, in addition to over 30 years of neuropsychological research, I believe my experience in education, training, clinical work and service has provided me with the experiences necessary to take on a leadership role at NAN.

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?

I view challenges as opportunities, and there are many for our field. Neuropsychological researchers are experiencing funding challenges from more traditional federal sources like NIH or NSF, but the war on terror has also produced a variety of other opportunities (e.g., DOD) to continue to develop neuropsychological science and to apply this knowledge through training, education and practice. It is true that clinicians have experienced challenges to reimbursement as well as numerous other roadblocks to practice. However, the war on terror has also resulted in many of our soldiers returning with brain injuries, PTSD and other conditions which affect their community re-integration. Clinical neuropsychologists are uniquely qualified to assess, treat and serve our returning veterans. NAN has been very involved (often behind the scenes) in ensuring that clinical neuropsychologists are key players in working with our wounded warriors. I wholeheartedly support these efforts and will work to strengthen these relationships. Improvements in education, training and teaching should always be a major goal for NAN. I feel that NAN’s Education Committee should be at the forefront of advances in training by looking at new and innovative ways to address education and training, such as the use of tele-neuropsychology. We need to continue to innovate in our efforts to more effectively train the next generation of clinical neuropsychologists. The next 5 years will bring new initiatives and models of training, and I will see that NAN is at the table as one of its leaders.

How would you promote professional practice?

I have been involved in shaping professional practice for almost three decades, mostly through working on committee’s designed to promote the maturation of the education and training of future clinical neuropsychologists. For example, I served as a delegate for the Houston Conference which has paved the way for the next generation of clinical neuropsychologists. However, as part of the leadership of NAN, I will work to ensure that the issues related to practice are one of the top priorities when forging the vision and mission of NAN. Issues related to professional reimbursement policies should always remain a central concern within the NAN Board. I fully support Dr. Puente’s efforts to ensure that CPT codes and reimbursement policies appropriately reflect our clinical practice. This is more important than ever giving the current challenging reimbursement environment. The Professional Affairs and Information Committee (PAIC) is a critically important committee. Its role is to increase practitioner knowledge, provide advocacy services to consumers about neuropsychological services, as well as a host of other services to and for the practitioner. I plan on providing my full and active support to this committee. For example, I will work to ensure that the unique services offered by clinical neuropsyhcologists are fully integrated into the system of care for our returning veterans. I will make sure that the Legislative Action and Advocacy Committee (LAAC) of NAN works closely with APA Practice Organization to pursued congress to include psychologists in Medicare “physicians” definition to increase public access and improve reimbursement rates.

How do you plan to bridge science and practice?

Practice must be built upon a foundation of science. Neuropsychological research should be geared toward addressing a wide range of questions. For instance, research focusing on understanding basic human functioning (e.g., differentiate processing speed from working memory) becomes the “basic sciences” for practice. Neuropsychological research must also be geared toward the actual application and promotion of practice (e.g., how does impaired processing speed affect working memory performance). Lastly, research must also focus on how the neuropsychological evaluation predicts everyday life activities (e.g., how does impaired processing speed predict return to work decisions). NAN plays a significant role in the transfer of such scientific knowledge to clinical neuropsychologists. The NAN Clinical Research grants have also played a central role in funding practice-oriented research projects. I was a part of that committee since its inception and worked to keep the focus practice oriented. However, keeping the practitioner up to speed on scientific knowledge cannot be done through NAN alone. Much falls on the individuals themselves. I am committed to working with the practicing community through the PAIC to find ways to keep practitioners up-to-date on the latest science. For example, clinical neuropsychologists can now bill for clinical work involving functional MRI. However, most neuropsychologists are unaware of such opportunities, although require additional skills to do so. This is an example of how neuropsychologists should be forging a leadership role in this new clinical area. My 30 years of experience in research, training and practice provides me with the background necessary to help bridge the opportunities between science and practice.