Holder Candidate for NAN Treasurer 
Christen Holder, Ph.D.

Candidate Statement:

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 new and long-time members alike. I first joined NAN as a graduate student and after many positive experiences in those early years 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 truly exceptional experience I decided NAN was the organization that would help me grow as a neuropsychologist. I volunteered for the Social Media Committee, which was in its inaugural year, became 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 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 presently serving NAN as a committee member on the Program Committee, as we prepare for the first in-person conference since the pandemic started. I am excited about the possibility of serving as your Treasurer. I see the role of Treasurer as someone who can work with the office staff to ensure that financial data is communicated to the board in an effective manner, and who is committed to providing leadership around the financial life of the organization by considering the long-term financial goals and mission of NAN. In my role as board member of my home institution’s practice plan, I have worked extensively on clinic and program budgets. I enjoy the challenge of navigating the details, and want to see NAN continue to thrive. I am already familiar with the structure of the NAN board from my time as committee chair and have worked closely with our office staff. Most importantly I 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 Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology, 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?

I have been a member of NAN since I was a student and am a practicing pediatric neuropsychologist who works 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 and assisting with budget negotiations, as I serve on the Board of Directors for the provider practice group at my home institution and work on the annual budget. 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?

The primary challenges facing us as a profession are 1) the need to adapt our practices to maintain relevance in a changing healthcare landscape, and 2) to support the growth of practitioner diversity in our field such that it matches the patient populations we work with. The need to adapt to telehealth has been a good example of support our community needs for change. 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 addressing issues related to things like reimbursement and license mobility. Another issue that is not new to our field and must be addressed is the need to increase the diversity of those practicing neuropsychology. A more diverse profession benefits our patients, our students, our research, and each of us who are members. 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. 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 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.