Roth Candidate for NAN President-Elect
Robert M. Roth, Ph.D., ABPP

Candidate Statement:

It is an honor to be nominated for President of the National Academy of Neuropsychology, and I thank the membership for their consideration. I have been a member of NAN since 2010, Chair of the Clinical Research Grants Committee since 2018, and a NAN Fellow since 2021. Over these many years, I have had the pleasure of interacting and collaborating with numerous professional and student members of our organization, as well as over the past four years attending meetings of the NAN Board along with other committee chairs. It is clear to me that NAN’s vibrancy and commitment to advancing our profession has never been stronger. Rising to the challenge of holding a top-notch conference despite the COVID-19 pandemic; innovations such as cross-organizational partnerships to fund neuropsychological research and hosting a summit to advance cognitive assessment in geriatrics; promoting advocacy; and education dedicated to supporting and enhancing our clinical work and training are just a few examples. Such undertakings, and NAN’s broader mission, are of direct relevance and importance to me as a practicing clinical neuropsychologist and supervisor, as well as active researcher and mentor. As a faculty member at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth over the past 20 years, I have sought to enhance the visibility and role of neuropsychology in clinical care and research through collaboration with fellow neuropsychologists and trainees, as well as with colleagues and residents from a variety of other disciplines such as neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, anesthesiology, audiology, computer science, and engineering. As President, I will work closely with the NAN Board and committees, and seek collaboration with other organizations and stakeholders (such as patient advocacy groups) to advance our profession through addressing reimbursement rates, promoting the scope and visibility of our contributions to healthcare, enhancing our ability to serve our increasingly diverse communities, encouraging the funding of novel research that informs clinical practice, as well as supporting timely educational offerings (e.g., CE courses, lectures at the annual conference). I will also seek to further address NAN’s mission of promoting the field of neuropsychology by developing new opportunities for our trainee members to contribute to our organization and profession.

Dr. Roth is a member of the following organizations:

  • NAN: Fellow
  • INS: Professional Member
  • AACN: Active Membership

Candidate Positions on the Issues:

How does your background qualify you for this office?

NAN is an exceptional organization that brings together professionals with varied careers (often having multiple roles) involving clinical practice, consultation, research, education, and training, as well as trainees working towards a career in neuropsychology. During my 20 years as a neuropsychologist, I have served in all of those roles while working in academic medical center, state psychiatric hospital, and private practice settings, as well as collaborating with industry and doing funded research. Through this work, I have gained extensive experience collaborating nationally and internationally with professionals and trainees from within and outside of neuropsychology to advance clinical and research endeavors. Within NAN, I have been fortunate to serve as Chair of the Clinical Research Grants Committee for the past 4 years, after having been a member of the committee. In that role, I facilitated the establishment of a new partnership between NAN and the Alzheimer’s Association that has funded 8 projects internationally to support research on the effects of COVID-19 on brain health in older adults from health disparity populations. I also led an effort to develop a partnership with SCN and AACN to jointly fund research designed to enhance and demonstrate the value of neuropsychology. These experiences have contributed to a deep understanding of the varied roles, demands, and needs of those within our profession and our trainees, as well as a track record of successful collaboration with others from both within and outside our profession, which I believe will serve me very well a 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?

Neuropsychology faces several major challenges over the next few years. Reimbursement for our services has been whittled down, despite high demand and limited access especially for rural and other underserved communities. Furthermore, encroachment upon our field of expertise continues in clinical care settings and research, with computerized tests and cognitive enhancing applications developed and administered without the needed expertise provided by neuropsychologists. There are multiple contributors to this state of affairs that will require a multi-pronged approach to address. One crucial issue is that, despite our long history as a profession, the knowledge, skills, and many contributions of neuropsychologists continue to have limited visibility in the public sphere, in industry, as well as among policymakers and many other professions. As President of NAN, an important goal will be to increase recognition of the unique contributions our profession has made, and is making, in so many areas of clinical practice and science, as well as the vital role we will play well into the future as cognitive and behavioral disorders, and their salience for quality of life and economic impact, are increasingly recognized. Towards that end, I will encourage, and provide strong support for efforts by NAN committees (e.g., Professional Affairs and Information, Legislative Action & Advocacy, and Social Media committees), in collaboration with the broader NAN membership, other neuropsychology organizations, and patient advocacy groups, to promote understanding of the value of our wide-ranging professional contributions through social media campaigns, advocacy, and outreach.

How would you promote professional practice?

As clinical neuropsychologists, we are faced with many professional practice challenges, including navigating reimbursement and declining reimbursement rates, and encroachment by other professions. As your President, I will continue NAN’s efforts to address those challenges by working with the Board and our Professional Affairs & Information and Legislative Action & Advocacy committees to enhance advocacy efforts and keep our membership well informed. Another important goal will be to address the growing need for, and challenge identifying, neuropsychologists trained and experienced in working with our increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse individuals, as well as increasing representation within our field of practitioners from underrepresented communities. NAN is exceptionally well-placed to address this, given our broad membership and well established committees (Culture & Diversity, Membership, and Professional Affairs & Information). I envision NAN developing, hosting, and promoting an online directory of neuropsychologists able to serve diverse communities (since posting on list-serves seeking a neuropsychologist in a particular region who can evaluate a patient in their own language, and in a culturally sensitive manner, yields mixed results at best). In concert with that, I will bring together our Trainee and Culture & Diversity committees to develop an online repository of resources for trainees, practitioners, and training programs to help inform the development and maintenance of culturally competent care in aspiring neuropsychologists and licensed practitioners. Such a repository can be subsequently updated as needed, for example, based on the training recommendations generated from the Minnesota 2022 Update Conference of the Houston Conference guidelines.

How do you plan to bridge science and practice?

NAN has always been an organization that promotes the vital interplay of science and clinical practice. As a scientist-practitioner, my career has emphasized the bridging of clinical experience and empirical research to inform clinical practice and the scientific understanding of the brain in health and illness, and bring these to bear on supervision and mentorship. In my role as Chair of the NAN Clinical Research Grants committee, I have continued the long tradition within NAN of supporting research that informs clinical practice and the value of neuropsychology for patients, referral sources, and other stakeholders. As clinicians, however, we are faced with increasing need and demand for productivity, both within the private practice setting where seeing patients pays the bills and in healthcare settings where RVU demands may challenge our ability to maintain a work-life balance. This limits the time we have to keep up-to-date on the ever growing scientific literature relevant to our work. As NAN President, I will work with NAN committees (e.g., Education, DistanCE eLearning, Publications, Culture and Diversity) to enhance continuing education offerings, as well as promote new endeavors (e.g., a revamped newsletter), that emphasize evidence-based practical applications of state-of-the-art science for the clinician in a readily accessible format. I will also work closely with the NAN Board and NAN Clinical Research Grants committee to support the funding of research that helps translate science into clinical practice, including through establishing partnerships with other funding organizations.