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2020 APA Convention Call for Proposals

SoAP Box: 
APA Meeting Announcements

Fall 2019

Susan E. Collins, PhD


2020 APA Convention Call for Proposals

50 Years of Harm Reduction: Past, Present and Future

Susan E. Collins, PhD

2020 APA Convention Program Chair

Hello and happy fall! I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself as this year’s APA Convention Program Chair. I am honored to be working with Division 50 President, Dr. Linda Sobell, Program Cochair, Dr. Megan Kirouac, and with the guidance of last year’s Chair, Dr. Seema Clifasefi, to put together a thought-provoking, scientifically informed and clinically relevant program for the 2020 APA Convention in Washington, DC.

This is a time of great upheaval in the field. Population-based data have indicated that many of our existing and efficacious treatments are not reaching or engaging the vast majority of people with substance use disorder in this country. There are also big questions about how to best move forward with substance-use research, treatment and policy to address public health crises involving opioids, methamphetamines, cannabis and vaping (among others) that sometimes divide the field. And ongoing marginalization of people who use substances, particularly in Communities of Color, rural areas and socioeconomically depressed communities, are an additional and disturbing manifestation of growing health disparities in the US.

However, these challenges offer opportunities for addiction psychologists to light a path with scientific and clinical advances that can address these topics and help alleviate substance-related harm for people who use substances, their families and their communities.

To this end, the 2020 SoAP program committee is seeking proposals on research and clinical advances addressing the Division 50 President’s theme of “50 Years of Harm Reduction: Past, Present and Future.” Harm reduction refers to compassionate and pragmatic approaches that aim to reduce substance-related harm and improve quality of life for people who use substances, their families and their communities. Dr. Sobell has intimated to me that, with this theme, she is honoring the memory and contributions of Dr. G. Alan Marlatt, trailblazer in the field and mentor to many. I am grateful that many of you reading this have also shaped the last 50 years of work in this area, and many early career addiction psychologists are continuing this work and making strides in this area. We hope you will all come out and share your wisdom at APA 2020!

In keeping with this theme, we encourage submission of programming for the 2020 APA Convention that:

  • Operationalizes, documents and/or evaluates substance-related harm;
  • Addresses socioeconomic, racial and ethnic disparities in the experience of substance-related harm;
  • Introduces community- and individual-level strengths that can support harm reduction;
  • Emphasizes natural recovery and self-change; and
  • Centers harm-reduction programming, interventions and treatments.

We are also looking forward to receiving submissions from members who are doing cutting-edge work on various topics across the field, including those emphasizing priorities of APA’s 2020 President and Past President. These priorities include contributions of students and early career folks, diversity and inclusion, collaboration across divisions and disciplines, and “Deep Poverty.”

Convention Proposal Submission details

  • The submission portal is now open:
  • The deadline for CE workshops is 11/12/19 and for Division submissions is 12/2/19.
  • Submissions should be relevant to the division’s researchers and clinicians, demonstrate a commitment to diversity, and be positioned to disseminate cutting-edge information to psychologists from other APA division.
  • Proposals for symposia, poster presentations, data blitz, discussion sessions, and skill-building sessions will be considered. Individual paper presentations will not be considered.
  • All symposium/discussion submitters are strongly encouraged to apply for Continuing Education review when submitting.
  • The division offers numerous merit-based travel awards for students and early career psychologists. If your submitted abstract is accepted, you can contact Hannah Carlon to be considered (
  • Further details and the submission portal can be found at
  • Please contact 2020 Program Chair, Dr. Susan Collins (, with questions.

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