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Regions Directorate

Chairs: Dr. Marilyn Vickers (Athens) and Dr. Brian Apple (Augusta)

 

Purpose of the Committee: Organize and coordinate regional associations to create greater membership and participation in GPA from all areas of the state.

GPA has a membership that reaches across the state of Georgia. The membership is 72% in the Metro area, but the 28% in the other sectors of the state is important for providing services to Georgians, for supporting legislative efforts, and for continuing to grow membership among the close to 4000 doctoral level psychologists in the state. Current membership in GPA stands at about 900, so there are lots of psychologists who can still be recruited to join GPA!

Presently there are two formal regional groups - Augusta and Athens. There have been groups in Macon, Columbus, and Savannah. One of our goals in the Regions Directorate is to revitalize all of these groups and organize new ones to give the opportunity for collegiality among psychologists within a geographical space that permits gathering and meeting on issues and socializing without having to travel long distances. 

 

 

What are the steps toward creating a network of regional associations across the state?

Here are our thoughts:

 

    1. Identify five key psychologists who are GPA members in each area of the state, both practitioners and academicians. Besides Metro Atlanta, there could be regions surrounding Dahlonega, Blairsville, Carrollton, Athens, Macon, Augusta, Columbus, Statesboro, Albany, Valdosta, and Savannah. Each of these regions has a University System of Georgia campus close by.


    2. Ask the five key psychologists to identify five more psychologists who might be interested in a regional group. They may or may not be members of GPA.


    3. Organize a listserv for these five to 30 psychologists to be able to discuss local issues they encounter. The five key GPA members would commit to one email a week to pass along information about GPA practitioner and legislative issues. This would be a major way to convey the value of being a GPA member.


    4. The listserv establishes a membership base for a group to decide how it wishes to organize. It could be a cluster or an affiliate.


              a. A cluster is defined as a group of five or more GPA members who live and/or practice in a geographic area of Georgia outside of Metro Atlanta and who seek to be in relationship with GPA. This group may have a member be the Regional Cluster Liaison to the Directorate Representative (DR) for Regions, thus serving as the primary communication point between the region and the GPA Board.


              b. An affiliate is defined as a formal group of 25 or more psychologists, at least 50% of whom are GPA members, who live and/or practice in a geographic area of Georgia outside of Metro Atlanta and who seek to be in relationship with GPA. To be eligible for affiliate status, the group must have by-laws, elected officers, and regular business meetings. A Delegate can be appointed who is the official liaison to the DR, who in turn is selected from the Affiliate Delegates and carries the vote for the Regions Directorate.


    5. In a region that does not at present have five GPA members to form a cluster or 25 members to become an affiliate, the DR may appoint an Ambassador who will work toward establishing a cluster or affiliate relationship with GPA.


    6. Within three months of the organization through listserv of these groups of five to 30 or more, the DR of Regions and /or the President Elect will reach out to have a gathering in the local area. This could be in someone's home or office or at a college or university in the area, in order to make it a cost-effective gathering. A cash bar with a few appetizers would be sufficient. The purpose is to have these psychologists meet face to face with someone from the GPA Board.

 

The benefits of forming a regional association include becoming more connected to the state association, fostering local bonds to share information and referrals, and providing a collegial atmosphere in which psychologists can develop friendships and enhance both our work and personal lives. Let's take care of ourselves as well as we do our clients and students!