Stephanie D. Bajo, Psy.D., ABPP-CN
Hello colleagues and members of NAN! My name is Stephanie Bajo and I running for the position of NAN Secretary. It is honor to receive this nomination from the NAN membership and I am hoping to earn your vote.
I first joined NAN as a student member and was fortunate enough to have mentors who not only provided excellent clinical training, but also instilled the value of serving the neuropsychology community as a whole. This led me to explore an opportunity for membership on the NAN Legislative Action and Advocacy Committee (LAAC) as a post-doctoral trainee. My work on the LAAC spanned a 5-year period and I had the honor of serving as the LAAC co-chair over the 2017-2019 term.
I have always understood the importance of advocating for the needs of our professional neuropsychology community and my involvement in the LAAC provided invaluable experience in how to initiate, support, and executive advocacy efforts. My time on the LAAC also involved facilitation of committee meetings, diligent minute taking, and preparation of many written documents/reports. I believe this prior service has established the necessary foundation to be an effective member on the NAN Board through the position of Secretary.
In addition to my professional committee work, I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine where my time is focused on patient care, teaching, training, and research. I am the Assistant Training Director of our post-doctoral fellowship program and am involved in the education of medical students and residents. I also coordinate the practicum training program and spend a portion of my time supervising and mentoring graduate students.
My clinical and professional experiences have shown me how much can be accomplished through collaboration with fellow neuropsychologists and other NAN members. I am committed to supporting the field of neuropsychology and hope to continue this work by serving the NAN membership through the Secretary position.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to earn your support and vote for NAN Secretary.
Dr. Bajo is a member of NAN, APA, AACN, and ABPP.
Candidate Positions on the Issues:
How does your background qualify you for this office?
As the outgoing co-chair of the NAN Legislative Action and Advocacy Committee (LAAC), I understand the importance of working collaboratively with fellow neuropsychologists and other NAN members to advocate for the field of neuropsychology as a whole. My prior NAN committee work has provided the necessary foundation to effectively uphold the mission of NAN and support the needs of the NAN membership. In addition, my past and current professional and clinical experiences include administrative responsibilities that require diligent note-taking and detail-oriented preparation of written work, which are skills that will prepare me well for the Secretary role. Overall, I believe my background and strong desire to serve the needs of the broader professional community will allow me to be an effective member on the NAN Board through the position of Secretary.
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 foresee a number of continued challenges within our field, such as issues related to parity and how changes in patient care models may affect neuropsychological practice. I believe fostering efforts aimed at addressing these issues are highly important in order to ensure our ability to provide quality patient care over time. For instance, continuing the work toward psychologist/neuropsychologist inclusion in the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) physician definition will help to expand patient access to services. In addition, assessing and navigating the changing landscape of healthcare will be important to determine if, when, and how the field of neuropsychology may need to adapt to meet new demands. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic provides one example of how the increased need for telemedicine service changed the delivery of patient care across medical specialties. If elected to serve as NAN Secretary, I promise to address continued challenges within the field by listening to feedback from the NAN membership, working collaboratively with NAN committee and board members, and by bringing my own ideas to the table.
How would you promote professional practice?
My mentors instilled the value and importance of serving the broader neuropsychology community, which I believe was critical in sparking my own interest in investing time into committee and organizational work. Therefore, I believe offering opportunities for trainees to bolster their professional development and increase their involvement in extra-clinical activities is highly important. NAN has already implemented a number such opportunities, such as fostering an entirely student-run committee, promoting mentorship programs, providing avenues for scholarship, and including trainee member positions on all NAN committees. I hope to continue promoting professional practice through initiating and/or supporting other efforts at the organizational level to increase the active participation of student members in order to assist in their professional developmental.
I also strongly believe in promoting professional practice through collaboration with other neuropsychology colleagues and with professionals in other specialty areas. Such cooperation between professionals within and outside of our field can promote mutual understanding of needs, opportunities for collaboration, coordination of advocacy efforts, and advancement of the field in general. My work on the NAN LAAC involved representation on the Inter Organizational Practice Committee (IOPC) and this role gave me first-hand experience with the many benefits of collaborating with other professional groups.
How do you plan to bridge science and practice?
I certainly believe science informs practice and I strive to stay up-to-date with current literature and continuing education to uphold the highest quality of patient care. My membership and involvement in professional organizations also foster science-based practice through yearly conferences, active discussion with colleagues on professional list-serves, and through other opportunities for learning and consultation. I also believe that clinical practice can spark scientific research through investigation of unanswered questions that may arise in our work with patients. Such experiences have led me to pursue a number of research projects and I hope to contribute meaningful information to the field through these efforts.