Monitor on Psychology - September 2011 - (Page 12)

Upfront New MCAT likely to better recognize the mind-body connection If approved by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) next February, an entire section of the future MCAT will focus on social and behavioral science. The proposed revision — announced March 31 and being evaluated by physicians and pre-med advisers — represents a shift in medicine toward appreciating the role of environmental and social factors in health, says Barry Hong, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. He sits on the advisory committee for the MCAT review. “Psychology is being taken more seriously as a real science,” says Hong. “People, in particular physicians, see how psychological principles are enmeshed in life and biology.” That’s certainly the case for AAMC President and CEO Darrell Kirch, MD, who, over his career as a psychiatrist, medical school dean and health administrator, has seen firsthand the link between environmental and behavioral factors and disease. “Just as it’s important for physicians and future physicians to understand biological science, it’s important for them to understand how social and behavioral factors are important in disease,” says Kirch. The MCAT was last revised 20 years ago. Since then, a flood of research has demonstrated the connection between behavioral and social issues and health. Some studies estimate that that as much as half of all morbidity and mortality is associated with behavioral and social factors, including socioeconomic status and poor health habits, says Pomona College psychology professor Richard Lewis, PhD, who also sits on the MCAT review committee. The AAMC revision calls for one of the four MCAT sections to test students’ understanding of behavioral and social sciences A revision of the MCAt tests students’ understanding of behavioral and social sciences principles. principles. The other three sections will focus on molecular, cellular and organismal biology; physics, chemistry and biochemistry; and critical analysis and reasoning skills. The test will also assess students’ understanding of research methods and statistics. “These changes are a signal to premed students of the importance of these concepts in training to become a physician,” says Lewis. APA’s Education Directorate has been pushing departments in that direction for years, says Robin Hailstorks, PhD, who directs the association’s precollege and undergraduate education program. “It’s an opportunity to promote the idea that we’re a feeder into other science classes,” says Hailstorks. “We’re focused on getting other disciplines to see psychology as a core discipline that is applicable to other sciences.” —B.AzAR A $2 million boost for military members and their families At a June 14 ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery attended by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, the Give an Hour nonprofit organization announced the receipt of a $2 million grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and a $144,000 donation from Walmart. The nonprofit organization enables licensed mental health professionals, including psychologists, to donate an hour of services per week over a year’s time to a service member, veteran or family. Give an Hour will use the money to start fully implementing a two-year pilot project this fall in Fayetteville, N.C., and 12 Norfolk, Va., that is aimed at helping local groups better coordinate assistance to the military community, says Barbara Van Dahlen, PhD, president and founder of Give an Hour. “The goal is to wrap services around those who served and get communities galvanized and orchestrated where the needs are the greatest,” Van Dahlen says. Since 2005, Give an Hour’s volunteer force of 5,600 mental health professionals has provided nearly 40,000 hours of services at no charge since the first free session was offered in July 2007. Individual donations and foundations have funded Give an Hour’s operations. —C. MuNSEy Monitor on psychology • septeMber 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - September 2011

Monitor on Psychology - September 2011
President’s Column
From the CEO
Supreme Court hears psychologists on prison and video game cases
Antipsychotics are overprescribed in nursing homes
New MCAT likely to recognize the mind-body connection
A $2 million boost for military and families
In Brief
On Your Behalf
Judicial Notebook
Random Sample
Speaking of Education
An uncertain future for American workers
Advocating for psychotherapy
Seared in our memories
Helping kids cope in an uncertain world
APA and Nickelodeon team up
Muslims in America, post 9/11
Bin Laden’s death
‘They expect us to be there’
Answering the call of public policy
Candidates answer final questions
APA News
Division Spotlight
New leaders
Disaster relief training
Honoring teaching excellence

Monitor on Psychology - September 2011