Christen Holder, Ph.D.
NAN is my neuropsychology home, and I want to serve the organization as a whole and you as a member, so that NAN can continue to be a thriving professional home for both long-time members and those starting out their careers in our field. I first joined NAN as a graduate student because my research lab was presenting posters at the conference. My experience as a student member was so good, I continued to seek out ways to be involved with this great group. As a post-doc member, I was matched with a conference mentor through the Women in Leadership Committee, and through that exceptional experience I decided NAN was the organization that would truly help me grow as a neuropsychologist, so I volunteered for the Social Media Committee, which was in its inaugural year. I have been a member of NAN’s Ambassador and Leadership Development program, and then went on to serve as co-chair and chair of the Social Media Committee (2018-2020). As chair of this committee, I led our group to increase the social media presence of NAN throughout the year, but particularly during annual conferences to increase engagement. We worked with NAN’s journal, the Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, to improve alt-metric scores for the authors via social media as well. Perhaps most importantly in 2020, when NAN was navigating its first all-virtual conference, we worked closely with the Trainee Committee to increase involvement for trainee members and promote virtual networking via social media. I am excited about the possibility of serving as one of your Member at Large board members because of the nature of this role. I see the primary role of a Member at Large as representing the members’ interests to the directors, and I will always seek to do this in all board matters. As a Member at Large, I will also be flexible and ready to take on any assignments to support the mission of NAN. I am already familiar with the structure of the board from my time as committee chair, as well as the support committees need to do the work that is asked of them. I will help the committees to liaise more efficiently with each other to better reach NAN’s strategic goals and will always make myself available to the membership for any concerns they may wish to have come to the board’s attention.
Dr. Holder is a member of the following organizations:
- National Academy of Neuropsychology, Professional Member
- American Psychological Association Division 40 Clinical Neuropsychology, Professional Member
- International Neuropsychological Society, Professional Member
- American Epilepsy Society, Professional Member
- Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative, Member
Candidate Positions on the Issues:
How does your background qualify you for this office?
First and foremost, I have been a member of NAN since I was a student and am a practicing pediatric neuropsychologist who has worked in both academic and private practice settings. As a result, I understand both the organization and the needs of its membership from a practical standpoint. I have trained with NAN in leadership development, and have served NAN as an Ambassador, a committee member, and a committee chair over the past eight years. As a result of these experiences, I am well prepared to quickly move into this role and begin contributing to the board. My professional role is Director of Neuropsychology for the hospital where I practice, and so I confront and respond to the pragmatic needs of neuropsychologists as providers on a daily basis. I also have formal experience working within the structure of a Board of Directors, as I serve on the Board of Directors for the provider practice group at my home institution. The most important qualification I offer in this role is my history of, and continued commitment to being available for the NAN members with any concerns they may have that need the board’s attention.
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?
In some ways the struggles of 2020 that have persisted into 2021 have presented new challenges, and in some ways they highlighted the same issues we have always faced in neuropsychology. Although telehealth is not new, it has become much more of a reality for many in the field. While some practitioners were able to adapt easily to it, many faced barriers due to resources, and some were not able to easily introduce telehealth to their patient population. Providing guidance and resources to help neuropsychologists adapt to what will be a reality and necessity of practice going forward will be important; but also the classic issues related to reimbursement and license mobility (e.g. providing telehealth across state lines) will also be an issue. Another issue that is not new to our field but was highlighted in the last year following the increased focus on racially based violence and structural racism in our country, is the lack of diversity in our field despite a rapidly diversifying patient population. This is and should continue to be a challenge we confront over the next 5 years. The only way to confront issues we face as a field is through professional practice organizations. NAN provides us a national voice and platform – strength in numbers. NAN has already shown leadership in providing practice guidelines, organizing members to address legislative needs, and working to protect our professional identities. The best way to face these and other challenges is to coordinate the efforts of our members.
How would you promote professional practice?
As neuropsychologists we have spent years training and specializing in our field, and yet we constantly see threats to our professional identities emerge in the forms of decreased reimbursement, difficulty justifying our services to payors, other professions subsuming parts of our practice, and a general lack of recognition of the value of our field. The reality is that we will always need to be protective of our space and that we can do so by promoting our own professional practices. One way we can do this is by embracing changes to our field that keep us relevant, such as advances in technology. NAN serves a role to its membership here, such as it did during the pandemic with the need for telehealth, by providing trainings and supporting research of use of telehealth to reach patients. We can also support professional practice by bringing practitioners together from different settings and different training generations. NAN has always been an organization that values both clinicians and researchers, both in its leadership and in the structure of its conferences and continuing education opportunities. I believe it is also a place that values being inclusive of trainees. I will continue this tradition and work to expand the integration of membership and opportunities for involvement of different members as a Member at Large of the board.
How do you plan to bridge science and practice?
It is easy to say that the cornerstone of our field is evidence-based practice, but harder to ensure that neuropsychologists are universally providing evidence-based practice. In reality there are two facets of this problem that NAN is well-suited to address. The first is supporting clinical research in a climate of limited funding opportunities for science. NAN has over a 20-year history of providing Clinical Research Grants to support this work in our field, where its value is often poorly understood by other funding bodies. I would like to support the continuation of this program by providing applicants increased resources to prepare their proposals, encourage the use of collaborative data sets, and finding ways to financially increase NAN’s ability to support more proposals. The second consideration is that in a professional reality of increased productivity demands, it is often hard for practitioners to keep up with the research in the field. NAN is again well-suited to face this challenge, given their management of the Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. I would like to support NAN and its members by making the articles of ACN more visible and quick to access by increasingly busy neuropsychologists. Promoting quickly digestible research on social media platforms will drive readership to journals and help to draw attention in an environment where there are many demands for our attention.