KMcCoy Candidate for NAN President-Elect
Karin McCoy, Ph.D., ABPP-CN

Candidate Statement:

I am honored, delighted, and a bit overwhelmed to be nominated as a candidate for President-Elect of NAN. I have served on the Board of Directors since 2017, as Member-At-Large and, currently, Treasurer. The Presidents I have served under, and with, have been amazing role models. Each has been unique – in their interests, focus, strengths, and weaknesses – yet each has been similarly dedicated to the mission of the academy and accountability to the membership. As a member of the Board of Directors, I have been able to participate in, and guide, the development of new initiatives which meet the strategic plans for the organization, while engaging in lively discussion about NAN’s role as a leader in neuropsychology. My familiarity with the policies, procedures, and priorities of the board, as well as the annual budget, investments, and fiscal challenges will serve the academy well, with regard to continuity and efficiency. Should I be elected, one of my goals would be to focus on continuity and communication; I would like to ensure continuity and completion of the focused initiatives of past presidents, including finding permanent homes for those projects which have proven successful, and communicating to the membership about this success. One of my colleagues, upon departing our facility for another, said that he always tried to leave a place better than he found it. This is my philosophy with my service to NAN. I want the members of the academy to know that NAN is continuing to improve, in communication, diversity, representation, advocacy, education, investment in research, collaboration with other organizations, public education, and investment in trainees and the future of the field.

I believe the President of a professional organization has a primary duty to be the voice of the members, faithfully and wholeheartedly representing the membership in all venues and settings. In my “day job” I am Section Chief for the Neuropsychology, Aging, and Rehabilitation Section and Training Director of the Neuropsychology Fellowship Program at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System (San Antonio VA). In these roles, I fiercely advocate for the staff and trainees in my programs. This is the approach I bring to NAN leadership.

Dr. McCoy is a member of the following organizations:

  • National Academy of Neuropsychology (Fellow)
  • American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (Member)
  • American Board of Professional Psychology (Member)
  • Association of VA Psychologist Leaders (Member)
  • Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology, Training Director of Member Program (Member)

Candidate Positions on the Issues:

How does your background qualify you for this office?

As noted in my candidate statement, I am currently serving as your Treasurer. Previously, I served as Member-At-Large. In fact, I have been an active member of NAN since graduate school, when I volunteered at the Annual Conference. As a professional member, I served on the Program Committee, as an abstract reviewer, poster judge, Poster Chair, and Program Chair. I was Program Chair for the 2012 Nashville conference; I worked with trainee members of the Program Committee to develop a student track at the Annual Meeting. After this slightly overwhelming endeavor, I served on the Legislative Action and Advocacy Committee (LAAC) for four years. On the Board, I have been fortunate to serve as board liaison for several committees, including Membership, Women in Leadership, DistanCE, Program, Culture and Diversity, & Trainee. All this to say, I have been doing my best to understand NAN’s priorities and the work of the volunteers who serve on these committees.

In addition to my service to NAN, I served for seven years on the Board of Directors of my local, Bexar County, psychological association. I am a Section Chief/Program Manager/Supervisory Psychologist in my facility, where I mentor staff and other Section Chiefs. I have served as Training Director of our neuropsychology fellowship program for the past 10 years, leading the program through changes in training competencies, expansion of the program, and accreditation site visits. These multiple roles, locally and nationally, have prepared me to serve as President-Elect, and then President of NAN.

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?

As a clinical neuropsychologist practicing in Texas, I know one major challenge is ensuring that those engaged in clinical research, clinical practice, and training are confident in their ability to serve culturally diverse individuals. For years, we have been presented with CE courses, talks, and journal articles outlining the increasing cultural diversity of the patients we might expect to see; now, as a field, we need practical, real-world tools and resources. It is a time-consuming, daunting task to educate oneself on diversity issues and multicultural practice without assistance. One of my trainees designed a project to collate and organize the normative sets for neuropsychological assessment of Spanish-speakers; the time involved made it clear that we need a widespread, coordinated effort to educate ourselves, our colleagues, and our future colleagues.

Of equal importance is the challenge of lack of awareness of neuropsychology. We are the brain-behavior experts, and our expertise and skill is increasingly relevant in medicine, rehabilitation, public policy, and education. We want scientific and political leaders to understand and acknowledge that neuropsychologists have the evidence and ability to respond to issues of brain health and wellness. We need to be known to be included, consulted, referenced, and, especially, reimbursed.

NAN has great resources in its leadership, committees, and collaborative relationships with other neuropsychological organizations which will serve NAN members well in developing responses for both of these challenges. Ongoing communication between the NAN leadership and the academy members will ensure that the steps NAN takes are practical and relevant.

How would you promote professional practice?

My experience with NAN, particularly on the Legislative Action and Advocacy Committee (LAAC) and the Board of Directors, has taught me that we each are responsible for contributing to the promotion of our field. I believe the board, committee chairs, and committee members are charged with developing creative, concrete, and practical ways to assist academy members in promoting the field and their own practice. For example, NAN's Social Media Committee works to increase the presence/awareness of neuropsychology and the layperson's understanding of how our products can be beneficial. Education, dissemination of evidence, and advocacy are key to ensuring that neuropsychology is seen as integral to comprehensive, integrated care; this, in turn promotes utilization of services and reimbursement. NAN, with its strong Professional Affairs and Information Committee, Social Media Committee, LAAC, and Clinical Grants Program, has numerous opportunities with which to increase the knowledge and understanding of neuropsychology in the medical community, lay public, and community of health care payors. I will encourage collaboration across NAN’s committees, as this makes best use of NAN resources and strengths. I will assist in the development of concrete steps and timelines to carry out ideas which stem from the annual strategic plan discussions so that the membership sees results from NAN’s leadership. I believe that NAN has the resources to promote the gathering and dissemination of evidence of the value and utility of our profession to the academy members in a manner which will benefit their practice.

How do you plan to bridge science and practice?

NAN's robust education program in conjunction with NAN's social media presence, provides a number of venues to integrate science and practice for academy members, future members, colleagues in other disciplines, and the lay public. The Annual Meeting is, frequently, a useful venue for academy members to have collaborative discussion of the intersection of science and practice; future meetings may benefit the academy membership through specific sessions on bridging science and practice or translating science into practice in specific thematic areas. Neuropsychologists are experts at communicating clinically-relevant research into useful, understandable findings and recommendations through clinical reports, feedback, and, in forensic settings, dispositions and testimony. In December 2017, this skill set was utilized for NAN’s Summit on Population Health Solutions for Assessing Cognitive Impairment in Geriatric Patients, where leaders in geriatric medicine, family medicine, assessment, health care funding, and neuropsychology discussed the challenges of assessing cognition in the growing older adult population, resulting in collaborative discussions and relationships focused on the integration of science and practice in this specific arena; a follow-up summit is in the planning stages, and the outcome will be widely disseminated for use in practice. This is only one example of the many ways NAN is actively engaged in science/practice-bridging projects; as a leader of NAN, I would work to ensure wide applicability and broad dissemination of such endeavors for the betterment of the academy membership.