Robert Fallows, Psy.D., ABPP
While I have served NAN in various capacities over the past decade, I am now asking for your support as I seek to become the next Member-at-Large given my experience and vision. My priorities as Member-at-Large would focus on improving inter-organizational communication and cooperation, increasing practice flexibility and access, while also focusing on growing our field’s responsiveness to diverse populations. By creating a medical culture where neuropsychologists are viewed as inclusive and responsive, we become essential: treating the whole patient, dramatically helping to improve patient access and care, and creating an even stronger argument for equitable reimbursement.
I strongly believe that our previous leaders have started to pave the way for this work with efforts such as the geriatric summit, engagement in the IOPC, development of the diversity committee, and exploration of collaborative research opportunities. My goal as Member-at-Large is to support the work of our dedicated committees that continue to advance these initiatives. NAN’s committee work is the backbone of our advocacy and education efforts. My leadership skills developed within NAN as chair for the DistanCE committee and co-chair of the student-trainee track of the program committee lend me the ability to help support these committees in the future. My experience working with hospital administration in my role as Director of Neuropsychology has given me a keen understanding of the important function neuropsychology has to play in large health organizations and how we can advocate effectively. As a result of this work, our rural hospital in Oregon is now one of the largest employers of neuropsychologists in our state and continues to make strides in effectively and efficiently ensuring access for our community. Finally, given my start in NAN as a trainee and now in my role as Associate Director of Clinical Training for our medical psychology program, I continue to see the essential need for trainee involvement within NAN to bring fresh ideas and ensure longevity of our advocacy efforts.
My track record in advocacy, education, and engagement makes me a strong candidate for this position. My strong desire to make our field as relevant as possible to the ever-growing diverse populations we serve while bringing in our future leaders through our current trainees will keep us relevant. I appreciate your support and welcome any questions that members may have, encouraging you to contact me through the information provided on the NAN website.
Dr. Fallows is a member of the following organizations:
- Sports Neuropsychology Society, Professional Member
- American Board of Professional Psychology, Member
- Oregon Psychological Association, Member
- American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, Member
- International Neuropsychological Society, Member
- National Academy of Neuropsychology, Professional Member
- American Psychological Association, Member
- Society for Clinical Neuropsychology (Division 40)
- Society for Clinical Neuropsychology (Division 40)
- Psychologists in Public Service (Division 18)
- Society for Health Psychology (Division 38)
- Society for Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues (Division 44)
- Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race (Division 45)
Candidate Positions on the Issues:
How does your background qualify you for this office?
I believe my experience in leadership across multiple areas makes me an ideal candidate for Member at Large within NAN. First, I have served as a co-chair for the student-trainee track of the program committee, a member of the DistanCE committee, poster reviewer/judge, and as chair of the DistanCE committee. I also started a neuropsychology service at a rural community hospital that is now one of the largest employers of neuropsychologists in Oregon. Further, I helped start our training program and am now the Associate Director of Clinical Training for the medical psychology training program that oversees practicum, intern, and residency level training while creating cross training for family medicine and psychiatry residencies.
These leadership experiences, building from the ground up, have instilled me with the knowledge and skill to be able to effectively work with other neuropsychologists, clinical and health psychologists, physicians, administrators, and trainees in a number of different settings. I believe I can leverage this experience to help advocate for neuropsychologists not just within NAN, but at the national level with other neuropsychology and medical organizations. Further, having started my involvement with NAN as a trainee and now developing and implementing training within our health system, I see a tremendous opportunity to continue to advocate for trainee involvement within NAN. Doing so will continue to bring fresh, new ideas to the organization but also continue to ensure NAN remains a significant voice for neuropsychologists in the decades to come.
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 challenge is remaining relevant so we are the go-to, accessible method for accurate cognitive evaluation. Having worked in many settings, I have seen a wide range of cognitive assessment techniques. In areas where neuropsychology was not widely available, providers relied on a number of tools from photo-copied MMSEs to computerized screening programs that pop out a few standard scores and a diagnosis. We are all aware of the nightmares that can surround these measures, but it is not sufficient to walk in and explain the statistical/methodological pitfalls of their approaches. This does little to gain trust, referrals, and ultimately improve patient care.
My response has been to design our practice in a manner that emphasizes community needs through providing triaged levels of evaluation depending on patient circumstances and provider questions. By placing ourselves where our patients are and offering this tailored line of service, we are able to practice efficiently and effectively while delivering high quality care. Yet, neuropsychology must go further and improve our methods, making them meaningful to a variety of diverse populations.
Over the past several years, NAN has been positioning themselves to respond, engaging physicians and insurers to help ensure the role of neuropsychology in patient care and policy planning. Through endeavors like the geriatric summit, interdisciplinary grant funded research, strong and meaningful diversity initiatives, and the IOPC, I feel NAN can continue to keep neuropsychology relevant and engaged. My goal is to support and expand these endeavors relying on my background and vision.
How would you promote professional practice?
Our future as a field lies within our ability to remain relevant to a number of different patient groups, flexible to the times that healthcare operates in, and secure reimbursement that is equitable. Through supporting NAN’s committees as member at large, I believe I can help to facilitate these goals. The work of NAN’s committees may not be known to many, so I would like to specifically highlight a few here. The LAAC and PAIC committees play an essential role in organizing grassroots efforts to promote helpful legislation, intervene on potentially harmful legislation, and work with government and third-party insurers to ensure fair reimbursement. The diversity, student and post-doctoral resident, and WIL committees are helping to focus initiatives within NAN to become more responsive, stay relevant, and promote a wealth of diverse ideas and leaders.
This does not cover all that NAN does for our field, but I write this to address one of the primary responsibilities of the Member at Large position. That is, my goal is to facilitate the work of our committees so that we can improve healthcare. As a chair of a NAN committee, I have seen the benefit that a board member with a strong strategic goal which aligns with NAN’s initiatives can bring. Innovative strategies that I have addressed throughout this Q&A can help support the work of our committees while continuing to propel NAN into the future, becoming more responsive to our diverse patient populations and fighting for fair reimbursement.
How do you plan to bridge science and practice?
For many neuropsychologists, research forms the core evidence on which we base our clinical practice. My prior roles in NAN through DistanCE and the program committee have primarily involved the education of clinicians at all levels of experience, providing updates on new research. This remains a strategic priority and passion of mine as potential Member at Large and I will continue to advocate for the importance of the annual conference as well as mobile training to help latest breaking science inform clinical practice.
However, this work only continues to create a one-way direction for the flow of information. To that end, as Member at Large, I would advocate that grants awarded through NAN are focused on research that is driven by clinical questions neuropsychologists face. I would also push that this research not be restricted solely to clinical neuropsychologists, but open to neuro-focused research teams (preferably with a neuropsychologist) that can publish results in NAN’s Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology and present findings at ours and other annual conferences. This type of cross-discipline research better ensures our future while helping to address key medical problems in meaningful ways. Finally, I would encourage research proposals that focus on serving underserved, but growing diverse groups. By engaging other professionals in this manner and continuing to focus on bridging clinicians and researchers from different disciplines, I believe we can help bridge the gap between science and practice.