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2018 Cynthia Cotter, Ph.D.

Thanks to the efforts of its many, many dedicated, talented, and generous members, SDPA had a very successful 2018 year.  The Association can be proud of the contributions made to the field of psychology, to the cause of mental health and to the welfare of the community in general! 


Membership numbers continued to increase in 2018 post Organizational Restructure (“Restructure” approved 6/10/16)(see Governance on website).   On 3/31/17 (at the end of the renewal period when membership is at its lowest point for the year) membership was 518.  On 3/31/18, the end of the next renewal period, membership had increased to 554.  At the beginning of the renewal period 11/1/17 (highest point in membership for the year) membership was 604.  By the beginning of the current renewal period 11/1/18 in progress (highest point in membership for the year) membership was 665.  In 2018 SDPA membership averaged over 600.  The number of Full Members averaged between 70-75% with 20-25% Students/Post-Docs and 10% Affiliates, Friends, and Retired.  Membership of 600 reflects approximately $105,000 - $110,000 in dues depending on the relative percentages of members in the various classes.

Since the Restructure, SDPA has taken a less direct approach to membership acquisition.  Instead of membership drives, the focus has been on development of solid programs/benefits for members and well communicating these programs/benefits to psychologists in the community.  The latter has been accomplished through the new improved website and e-news/e-blasts system.  


In 2018, the Association produced two full-day conferences, one in the Spring and one in the Fall.  In addition SDPA presented five stand-alone CE courses.  These events together produced 34 CEs.  

SDPA also collaborated (for the third year in a row) in the production of the Critical Issues in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Conference (CICAMH).   Thank you to the CICAMH team for SDPA - Mary Mulvihill, Ph.D., Katherine Quinn, Ph.D, Ellen Colangelo, Ph.D. and Annette Conway, Psy.D.!  SDPA once again provided CE accreditation for the Navy SEAL Foundation Impact Forum.  SDPA was a silver sponsor for the National Latina/o Psychological Conference in San Diego. Thank you Michelle Carcel, Psy.D. for organizing!  And thank you to Darlene Townes, Psy.D. for well representing SDPA at  the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) Convention in Oakland celebrating its 50thAnniversary. 

Spring Workshop
SDPA brought back the Spring Workshop in 2018, the first in many years.  The topic was Preparing for the Unthinkable: Mental Health Provider Roles in Disaster Recovery.  The event was produced by the Disaster Psychology Committee to train mental health providers in disaster response and was the first of its kind for SDPA.  This inaugural event was very successful with about a hundred in attendance. SDPA invested in a full videography of the event.  The Disaster Psychology Committee created DVDs with the material to assist other organizations in conducting similar training.   Special kudos to co-chairs Deborah Hopper, Ph.D. and Robert McGlenn, Ph.D. who knocked themselves out to produce this amazing contribution to the cause of mental health disaster response.  See Members at Events 2018 on the website for more details on this event.

Fall Conference
The 2018 SDPA Fall Conference was entitled Encountering Substance Use in Clinical Practice: Emerging Issues and Divergent Perspectives.  Speakers included four national and nine local experts in the arena of addiction.  The Keynote Speaker was George F. Koob, Ph.D., Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).  Registrations numbered 277 making it the most attended Fall Conference in SDPA history.  The conference received rave reviews from attendees.   Much much applause to co-chair Mary Mulvihill, Ph.D. who was without doubt the member most responsible for the success of this great event!!  See Members at Events 2018 on the website for more details on this event.

Stand-Alone CE Courses
The Public Education Media (PEM) Committee produced an outstanding two-day event Media Training for Psychologists in which psychologists were trained by professional media performers in an actual news studio setting.  Participants received tapes of their performances to use in their practices and committed to represent SDPA to the media if called upon re current issues. Outstanding work by co-chairs Richard Levak, Ph.D. and Amanda Borlenghi, Psy.D.!!!

Author Janina Scarlet, Ph.D. reprised her very successful previous event Superhero Therapy with Therapy Quest that demonstrated how to incorporate popular culture and interactive board games into evidence-based therapies such as CBT and ACT.

Members of the UPAC Problem Gambling Services Team presented When Gambling Becomes a Problem.  

Tom Habib, Ph.D. presented Integral Marital Therapy: The Dynamic Context of Intimacy & Regression borrowing from the work of Ken Wilbur.

Huong Diep, Psy.D. and Jan Estrellado, Ph.D. facilitated At the Intersections of Gender Identity, Culture and Language.

We are so grateful to CE chair Linda Collins, Ph.D. and the members of the CE Committee who well met their responsibilities this year approving the Association’s continuing education!  Continuing education events in 2018 were the basis for APA re-accreditation that was initiated in 2018 to be finalized early 2019.  We so appreciated Dr. Collin’s efforts in making sure that our CE well complied with APA standards!  


Brew Ha Ha!
SDPA’s annual blow-out networking event Brew Ha Ha! took place in May at the Viewpoint Brewing Co., the new exciting industrial-chic brewery in Del Mar overlooking the San Dieguito Lagoon.  Registration was 110 with tickets free for members.   The 85 attendees drank, ate, and laughed over a game in which they had to answer questions about fellow members and about the history of beer! Thank you to events chair Michelle Carcel, Psy.D. for her assistance!!  

Starry, Starry Night
The year-end formal event was held atop the beautiful new San Diego Central Library.  The party celebrated the achievements of the SDPA Stars of 2018 and introduced the Stars to be for 2019.  In addition, Annual Awards were presented including the new President’s Award to Mary Mulvihill, Ph.D., Distinguished Contribution to Psychology to Rosa Grunhaus Belzer, Ph.D., Legislative Award to California Assembly Member Dr. Shirley Weber, Local Hero Award to Bertha Loaiza, and Fellow Award to Katherine Quinn, Ph.D.  A special Shining Stars Award was presented to A.W. Richard Sipe (posthumously) and his wife Marianne Benkert Sipe for their seminal work researching and bringing to public light clergy sexual abuse.  Tickets were free for Board members, Committee chairs, and Annual Award winners and their families.  

See Members at Events for more detail and pictures at these two exciting networking events!


At the end of 2018, SDPA had 29 active Committees (see Committee List on the website) and two Task Forces (Diversity and Mission/Vision).  

Early in 2018, a new Addictive Disorders Committee (AD) was launched, co-chaired by A. Thomas Horvath, Ph.D. ABPP and Charles Nelson, Ph.D., both prominent specialists in the arena of addiction.  Kudos to both for their efforts!  The AD Committee provided key input for the 2018 Fall Conference on the topic of substance use.  The AD Committee co-chairs outlined a program moving forward for further CE courses on addiction and support for both addiction specialists and general practitioners encountering these issues in their practices.   Creation of the AD Committee was critical for SDPA given the crises in substance use currently occurring in the U.S.

SDPA Committees dazzled us in 2018 with their remarkable informational activities/events: 

The Early Career Professionals Committee (ECP) produced Cocktails, Colleagues, and Catharsis, Psychotherapist and Psychiatrist Mixer, Mental Health Billing, Complementary Colleagues Shindig, and Cyber Security for Your Practice.  Kudos to co-chairs Julia Rosengren, Psy.D. and Jennifer Piper, Psy.D. for their inspiration and very hard work!  

The Children, Youth, and Family Committee produced events on Dyslexia, Transgender and Non-Conforming Youth, Family Therapy, Tour of Jewish Family Services, and More Than Meets The Eye: The Psychology of Twins.  Special appreciation to chair Abby Brewer-Johnson, Psy.D. for the tremendous effort this year! 

The Graduate Student Committee presented Suds, Students and Speakers.  Thank you to chair (and Board student representative) Holly Bookwalter, M.A.!!! 

The PEM Committee continued its very popular series Dinner Case Conference in Del Mar.  Special thanks to co-chairs Richard Levak, Ph.D. and Amanda Borlenghi, Psy.D.  whose dinner series events are always magical!

The Cultural Diversity Committee in conjunction with the LGBTQ Committee produced At the Intersection of Cultural and Gender Identity.


SDPA contributed to its community in 2018.  Members walked with NAMI, sponsored a table at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, and marched with San Diego Pride.  Special appreciation to Abi Weissman, Psy.D. chair of LGBTQ Committee for her work on the latter two events!!

SDPA again judged and honored outstanding student psychology research participants in the Greater San Diego Engineering and Science Fair held in Balboa Park.   Appreciation to Richard Schere, Ph.D. and Karen Fox, Ph.D. who so well conduct this event, year after year…


SDPA members participated in the 2018 CPA Leadership and Advocacy Conference and Lobby Day in March.   The Government Affairs Committee (GAC), that works closely with CPA and is most responsible for organizing SDPA advocacy, held a Meet and Greet for U.S. Congressional Candidate Mike Levin.  

SDPA members marched under SDPA banner for women’s rights, for science, for separated children, and against gun violence.   Thanks particularly to Janet Farrell, Ph.D., GAC co-chair, for consistently getting us out there!

SDPA members Jessica Silsby, Psy.D. and Julia Rosengren, Psy.D. represented CPA at a special event for California State Assembly Member Todd Gloria.

SDPA was host city for the 2018 CPA Convention.  The Association produced a Welcome Reception and an SDPA Exhibitor Booth.  SDPA was a $3,000 level sponsor for the event.  Thank you to Annette Conway, Psy.D. for chairing the committee!

SDPA members purchased 29 tickets (three tables) to the CPA-PAC dinner generating $7,000 in donations for advocacy.  Many thanks to Joel Lazar, Ph.D. and Janet Farrell, Ph.D. for one more time making SDPA the fundraising star chapter for CPA!


Efforts continued in 2018 to refine the new SDPA website launched mid 2017 that offers members and community contacts key information about psychology practice-related activity in San Diego.   The calendar is quite thorough and includes not only local county activity but also some activity in Orange County and Los Angeles.  In addition to the calendar, be sure to check out Members at Events on the website that chronicles SDPA activities for each year.

Communications sent from the SDPA website now include:

Office E-News
Primary communication with members is accomplished through the Office E-news Perspectives From the Office that includes a Message from the President, Calendar of Events, Tami’s Turn (Office Manager), Spring Workshop and Fall Conference updates, Committee Updates, Board Blast, and Classified Ads.   The most recent list of New Members is presented with a Member Spotlight and Member News.  Mental Health Monday by local clinicians discusses specific mental health topics. There are links to photos of Members at Events and there are Featured Partner ads as well.  

Event E-Blasts
SDPA sends out E-Blasts for SDPA events.  This includes SDPA produced events, SDPA collaborative events, and SDPA member produced events.  The E-Blasts are sent to both members and community contacts (currently over 2,000).

Members on the Move
On the first of each month Members on the Move is published.  This communication is edited by long-time member and Past President David DiCicco, Ph.D. and includes pieces on member activity/travel, interviews with old and new members, poems by members, cooking and entertainment tips, and coverage of recent events.  This publication is a labor of love from Dr. DiCicco who seems to know and appreciate each and every individual in the Association! 

The San Diego Psychologist
SDPA published three outstanding issues of its newsletter this year on topics associated with its three key educational events; child and adolescent mental health, disaster psychology, and substance use.  Many thanks to Gauri Savla, Ph.D., our very talented editor for the past three years!!  Special thanks also to Mary Mulvihill, Ph.D. who made sure the 2018 newsletter issues captured the richness of the SDPA CE events with which she was so dedicatedly involved! 


Tami Magaro completed her second year as SDPA Office Manager.  She well performed her duties as SDPA air traffic control fielding questions from members and the public and supporting the various member volunteers in their various projects and events.  Tami was very involved in website and production of e-communications and she provided a great deal of help with events.  In short, Tami made herself essential to the workings of the Association and we were most grateful for her work.


SDPA ended 2018 with $134,000 in cash ($100,000 kept in reserves) up from 109,000 at the end of 2016.  Dues income of $105,000 was collected.  Administrative overhead was $76,500, significantly reduced from pre-Restructure overhead (over $100,000 per year) that required fundraising efforts to support.  Over $40,000 net (program income less program expenses) was spent on programs to benefit members and the community.   See 2018 Financial Report on the website for a more detailed accounting.  


The Board completed its second full year following the Restructure.  Board members were more acclimated to the new Board roles and worked to meet their responsibilities as liaisons to their assigned Committees (see Board Positions and Responsibilities on the website).  The Board continued to work on ways to make the new Board structure work more efficiently.  A particular challenge was balancing the need to have meetings no more than two hours with the need to allow Board members to voice their concerns and elicit problem-solving support from the Board at large.

Early in the year, diversity became a major topic of conversation at Board meetings.  There was concern that the Association was not doing enough to enhance diversity inclusion in all of its many and varied arenas of operation.   Much of the all-day June Board Retreat was spent considering possible courses of action.  At that Retreat, the Board voted to create a Diversity Task Force to research and develop recommendations to the Board to increase and improve the Association’s program of diversity.  Diane Pendragon, Psy.D. President-Elect, was appointed Chair of that Task Force.  Also, at that Retreat, the Board decided to re-characterize the Member-at-Large – Mission/Vision position to Member-at Large - Diversity.  That Board position (currently held by Darlene Townes, Psy.D.) would become liaison to diversity-related committees ultimately developed as an outcome of the work of the new Diversity Task Force.  It was decided that Dr. Townes would also be a member of the Diversity Task Force.  At the end of 2018 efforts to recruit participants for the Diversity Task Force were underway.   Diane Pendragon, Psy.D. declared diversity to be the primary focus for her Presidency in 2019 and the work of the Diversity Task Force would be central to that focus and mission.

The Mission/Vision Task Force, appointed by the Board in 2016 to design and implement the Restructure, continued its work on that project.  In 2018, the Task Force made some progress drafting improved SDPA Bylaws and Policies and Procedures, the final critical stage of the Restructure.  This work will continue in 2019 and is expected to be complete by the end of that year.

Contact Us:
San Diego Psychological Association
4699 Murphy Canyon Rd.  Suite 105
San Diego, CA 92123

Tami Magaro (Office Manager)
(858) 277-1463
Fax (858) 277-1402

San Diego Psychological Association is a 501(c) 6 non-profit organization.
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