Kristen Triebel (Gerstenecker), Psy.D., ABPP-CN
It is an honor to be nominated for NAN Member-at-Large. I am a neuropsychologist and Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), I serve in clinical, research, and teaching (mentorship and supervision) roles. One of my favorite professional activities is engaging in service activities.
Over the years, I have been part of a number of NAN committees and task forces and these experiences have helped prepare me for this leadership position. For instance, since 2012, I have served on the Membership Committee (2012-2014), been its Chair (2015-2017), and functioned as Board Secretary (2018-2020). I also am currently one of the founding members of NAN’s Leadership and Ambassador Task Force (LEAD) – which is a unique program that aims to enhance the leadership skills of early career professionals, so they are prepared to hold leadership positions in NAN, other organizations in neuropsychology, and in other professional settings. Other service to NAN includes functioning as the Professional Member advisor to the Student Committee (NANSC) (2014-2017), being a member of the International and Affiliation Task Force (2015-2016), and serving as Secretary for the NAN Foundation (2018-2020).
Through these service experiences, I have learned a lot about NAN, its values, and the current issues that are pertinent to clinical neuropsychologists. In large part, my loyalty to NAN stems from how forward-thinking and hard-working Board, Committee Chairs, and our members have been in efforts to advance our field. In addition, I greatly respect the goal of promoting multicultural diversity and inclusion, position of board neutrality, and collaboration with other organizations, so that we can be a unified force to enact change that benefits not only the patients we serve but also the field of neuropsychology. This forward-thinking mindset has led to major changes in the field and is why NAN remains a prominent organization in our profession.
Dr. Triebel is a member of the following organizations:
- National Academy of Neuropsychology (Fellow)
- American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (Regular Member)
- International Neuropsychological Society - Oncology SIG (member)
- Society for Neuro-Oncology (Full Member)
Candidate Positions on the Issues:
How does your background qualify you for this office?
In addition to the multiple service positions I have held in NAN, I have also served in the UAB Faculty Senate and on numerous task force and working groups at UAB. I am the current training director in the Division of Neuropsychology at UAB, and received formal leadership training through the 2014-2015 Health Care Leadership Development Academy at UAB. The combination of these leadership roles, including my extensive service in NAN, have prepared me to serve effectively as Member-at-Large.
If elected NAN Member at Large, I will dedicate myself to focus on current issues related to the practice of neuropsychology. I have already established close relationships with other NAN Board Members and Committees, as well as membership in general, which is important for collectively working to effect change. Because I have worked extensively with the NAN board as well as other organizations, and directly with our members, I am aware of the key issues neuropsychologists are facing today as well as the organizational rules and structure of NAN and I would be able to hit the ground running as Member-at-Large for NAN. I am prepared to listen, collaborate, act, and make changes that benefit our profession and society.
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?
The major challenges I see in the next 5 years are related to telehealth, social injustice and racial bias, and providing services to a growing population of older adults.
Dramatic shifts have occurred in neuropsychology in the past six months. Due to COVID-19, many clinicians had to rapidly learn how to conduct examinations via telehealth. As Member-at-Large, I will work with PAIC and LAAC to advocate for continued equal reimbursement for telehealth, to educate members about telehealth, and to target issues such as test norms, validity of telehealth, and ethics of telehealth.
There is a growing awareness of social injustice and racial bias in the United States and the rest of the world. I strongly support NAN’s values of diversity and inclusion. As Member-at-Large, I would work to increase membership diversity, to provide educational resources for members about multicultural issues, and to collaborate with culturally diverse organizations. Another goal of mine is to increase the number of Black neuropsychologists. Community outreach, mentorship, and giving talks to Black or underserved students about brain-related issues might help excite them about neuropsychology.
Moreover, as Member-at-Large, I would support NAN’s efforts to address the rapidly progressing number of older adults in need of neuropsychological services. To help address this need, I will promote venues such as the Geriatric Summit that NAN hosted which brought together over 20 stakeholders together to address this problem (https://www.nanonline.org/NAN/Summit.aspx).
How would you promote professional practice?
As NAN Member-at-Large, I would continue to promote the practice of neuropsychology by supporting the efforts of the LAAC, PAIC, and collaborations with other organizations. Through my experience serving as Board Secretary, I have gained understand in the ways NAN is promoting professional practice through education, advocacy, and the clinical research grants program. In addition to supporting these efforts, I would support papers published by the Policy and Planning committee that seek to inform the field on best practice standards, and actively advocate for neuropsychology, so that insurance companies and other healthcare workers are aware of the value of our services.
How do you plan to bridge science and practice?
As a clinician researcher, I have experience in both the practice and science of neuropsychology. In my roles as clinician and investigator, I have observed how clinical practice can generate new ideas for research, and how empirical evidence can inform clinical practice. I support NAN’s efforts to bridge science and practice in several ways. First, NAN continues to provide education to our members and the public about the latest empirical evidence pertaining to assessments and interventions. This is accomplished through conferences, distance learning, publications, and social media. Second, I support NAN’s clinical research grant program that aims to fund empirical investigations that inform clinical practice. Research is needed on a variety of topics including addressing population health and gaining more knowledge about the neurological effects of COVID-19. Third, I would look for opportunities to improve communication and collaboration between clinical practitioners and scientists including those outside of our discipline. This collaboration can occur at the annual conference, at other joint events, at the Geriatric Summit, through publications, and on social media platforms. These collective efforts are needed to advance the field of neuropsychology.