John J. Randolph, Ph.D., ABPP-CN
I am truly humbled and honored to be nominated as a candidate for President-Elect of NAN. I have long considered NAN to be my professional “home,” and am excited by the possibility of leading this stellar organization. I originally attended NAN conferences as a graduate student, meeting other students and student volunteers who remain friends and valued colleagues. I am proud to be a NAN Fellow and to have served in multiple prior leadership positions in NAN, including Awards Committee Chair, Associate Editor of the NAN Bulletin, and, most recently, Program Chair for the 2020 conference (conference theme: Promoting Cognitive and Neurobehavioral Health). Regarding the latter, along with the program committee and the NAN leadership, we faced a variety of unusual challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a significant pivot from an entirely planned in-person conference to a virtual one. We ultimately crafted what I hope the membership considered to be successful virtual conference and virtual ConferenCE Collection offerings, and we were encouraged by attendance being comparable to past in-person conferences. The plentiful ingenuity from all involved allowed for a reimagining of the possibilities of a NAN conference, and I believe the lessons learned have increased my own understanding of collaborative leadership strategies in times of adversity.
More generally, I have always valued and embraced my role as a scientist-practitioner. As the owner of a longstanding lifespan clinical neuropsychological practice, I have an intimate understanding of the joys and challenges inherent to independent practice. I also maintain a strong interest in conducting clinical research through my role on the adjunct faculty at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and have secured research funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have additionally published general audience and professional books related to the science of brain and cognitive health (more specifically, positive neuropsychology). I am passionate about applications of brain health research, which I believe is an area rich with opportunities for clinical neuropsychologists of all stripes. I also feel strongly that embracing diversity in its many forms remains essential for a vibrant and representative neuropsychological community.
NAN is a remarkable organization with a storied history and a bright future. If elected, I will strive to engage the membership, encourage growth and innovation, and strengthen connections with allied associations and the general population. I would consider it a great privilege to guide NAN’s trajectory toward a vision of neuropsychology that embraces all members and plays an active role in broader society
Dr. Randolph is a member of the following organizations:
- National Academy of Neuropsychology (Fellow)
- American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (Member)
- International Neuropsychological Society (Member)
- Society for Clinical Neuropsychology/APA Division 40 (Member)
- New Hampshire Psychological Association (Member)
Candidate Positions on the Issues:
How does your background qualify you for this office?
First, as I describe in more detail in my Candidate Statement, I have been involved with NAN in multiple leadership roles over the course of several decades. My initial leadership role within NAN was as Awards Committee chair, followed by serving as Associate Editor of the NAN Bulletin. More recently, I served as Program Chair for NAN 2020, which, confronted by the challenges of the pandemic, required significant coordination among the NAN leadership, Program Committee members, and invited speakers to actualize a virtual conference and subsequent ConferenCE Collection offerings. This experience also provided me with a deep understanding of the importance and logistics of coordinating multiple NAN committees for a common cause—an essential component of the presidential role. More generally, I have attended and/or presented at most NAN conferences over the past 25 years and am proud to be a NAN Fellow.
In addition, I previously served in multiple leadership positions in the New Hampshire Psychological Association, including as NHPA President. During my presidential term, I spearheaded the first formal strategic planning initiative in NHPA history, which helped guide NHPA toward more consistent community and legislative involvement and a boost in membership. My NHPA colleagues and I also engaged with our state legislature to successfully enact legislation re-establishing an independent licensing and regulatory psychology board in New Hampshire for the first time since 1997. I had previously served a multiyear term as APA/NHPA Public Education Coordinator. In that role, I helped lead NHPA to implement various public education initiatives across the state and lobbied at our nation’s capital for increased reimbursement and improved access to psychological services for four consecutive years. All told, I believe that my regional and national leadership experiences have prepared me well to serve as NAN President.
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 field of neuropsychology is at a crossroads. We have a history replete with clinical and empirical advances, establishment of our roles across varied settings, and valued colleagues who have added innovative perspectives as we have evolved. However, we continue to struggle with reimbursement challenges, and many in the general population are unaware of our training and critically important services. Further, questionable “brain-oriented” products have emerged in response to the inconsistent availability of applied brain health science in the popular media. Under my leadership, I would seek to target these challenges through collaboration with the NAN Board of Directors with input from the NAN membership. In particular, I feel that the uniqueness of our expertise in brain-behavior relationships needs to be trumpeted more broadly to the general population and the healthcare marketplace. The multibillion dollar brain health industry, with its various unregulated supplements that are marketed by exploiting middle-aged and older adults’ fears of cognitive decline, has controlled the conversation about brain health for far too long. Neuropsychology should not only have a seat at the table in this space; we should be at the head of the table. By making inroads in this regard, I believe that we will see increased demand for our services and attain more robust lobbying power with insurance companies to secure reimbursement rates that are more consistent with our considerable expertise.
How would you promote professional practice?
Given that my primary professional role is as an independent practitioner, the challenges surrounding professional practice are ones I experience every day. Stagnant or declining reimbursement rates, encroachment from other professions, and untoward marketing of computerized and other cognitive measures to non-neuropsychologists all need to be consistently and vigorously addressed by our field. The NAN Professional Affairs and Information Committee has done outstanding advocacy work in this area, and I would collaborate with the chair and members of this committee to support and promulgate their crucial efforts. I believe that increasing cultural awareness and sensitivity in our neuropsychological services remains critical to ensuring the future viability of our field and the effectiveness of the services we provide. Further, I would advocate for emerging roles for neuropsychologists to extend our reach in the general population and broaden revenue streams. Finally, I believe that engaging students at all levels through outreach efforts (including through use and expansion of NAN’s excellent “BE COOL” educational materials), and emphasizing state-of-the-art neuropsychological training and programming for graduate students, interns, and postdoctoral fellows, will promote neuropsychology’s vitality for many years to come.
How do you plan to bridge science and practice?
I have always valued the synergy between cutting-edge research and related clinical applications, and feel that our methods and applied recommendations should be based on existing science whenever possible. Throughout my career, which has included provision of clinical services at multiple academic medical centers, a VA hospital, a state psychiatric hospital, a neurorehabilitation center, a college counseling center, a hospice agency, and an independent practice, I have tried to ground myself in an evidence-based approach. That said, given clinical demands that we all face, access to scientific research is inconsistently available to those without academic appointments. I feel that this is an area ripe for development within NAN given the solid membership base of scientist-practitioners. As I have learned about and conducted brain health research—which is not necessarily synonymous with general neuropsychological research—I have appreciated the clear value of increased accessibility of this work for our field. If elected, I would collaborate with others in the NAN leadership to create opportunities for practitioners to more easily access research on lifestyle factors that often has direct applications to our clinical services. I would also seek to create a position paper and patient resources related to evidence-based lifestyle strategies that neuropsychologists could confidently rely on in their clinical work.