December 15, 2020 

Dear NJPA members, 

GREAT news!! 

On December 14, 2020, I received the news that the NJ Governor has just signed bill S2582/A543 (https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A1000/543_R1.PDF)  that amends the licensure requirements for psychologists in the State. Although advocacy for students, permit holders, and ECPs, was one of my reasons to becoming more active in NJPA, this took a significant amount of Teamwork. Allow me to give you some perspective from my memory of the history. 

In 2016, I had sent a few listserv threads highlighting the needs and the vulnerable position of permit-holders in NJ.  In 2017, NJPA President, Dr. Hulon Newsome formed a Task Force to address the needs of Permit-Holders and Early Career Psychologists (ECPs). He appointed me and Lale Bilginer to co-chair that ECP Task Force of 27 NJPA members. Out of that Task Force, a list of Permit-Holders and ECPs needs was established. Revisions of Licensure Act was the first most important need reported by ECP Task Force members. Lale and I presented the results of the Task Force to the NJPA Executive Board then. Past-President Newsome valued the feedback of the Task Force, supported the development of the ECP Working Group under the leadership of Michelle Pievsky and Stacie Shivers, and charged the Committee on Legislative Affairs (COLA) with reviewing the Licensure Act. 

NJPA President, Dr. Stephanie Coyne, in 2018, charged COLA with proposing legislative amendments to the existing Licensure Act and established this as an NJPA legislative priority.  COLA worked on this diligently and relentlessly. Michelle Pievsky, as an ECP and co-Chair of the ECP Committee, was key in proposing amendments. This legislative priority was crucial to getting legislative sponsors and drafting the legislation. NJPA President, Dr. Morgan Murray, in 2019, continued to support this bill as a legislative priority for NJPA, and supported me as president-elect in testifying twice in the NJ Assembly subcommittees for the bill A543. I gave my all in pushing through this amendment. 

As president, during COVID, I had doubts about the ability of this bill to be signed.  During 2020, I kept in communication with the NJPA’s Government Affairs Agent, the NJPA executive director, NJPA leaders and the Executive Board, about the importance of advocating for this bill in Trenton. I made myself available to testify and continued to frame it as a priority for the guild of psychology and for the services provided by permit holders to the public at large. In particular, I framed it as a priority to members of groups that have been historically marginalized and could benefit from having permit holders be licensed sooner. S2582/A543 is an access to care issue. NJPA stood its ground. 

I cannot begin to tell you how ecstatic I feel today when I received a call from our GAA to inform me that Governor Murphy just signed the bill. It is now a law! And, it is a testament to great teamwork, as many moving parts in NJPA were involved in making this happen. 

From now on, ALL NJ psychologists and permit holders will benefit from this amendment and from the ability to submit pre-doctoral hours to fulfill part of their post-doctoral requirements, if they can show evidence of fulfilling the requirement. As such, they can more quickly be able to sit for the EPPP and to hopefully getting licensed sooner. Most importantly, all current requirements will continue to be fulfilled, so nothing has been removed from the requirement. This amendment simply provides the possibility of a faster pathway for those who meet criteria.   

Additionally, I believe this is a membership and a diversity issue. It is about a state psychological organization stepping up to address the needs of a group of professionals (e.g. permit holders!), historically marginalized.  In terms of diversity, recent studies have suggested that members of color may be disadvantaged in fulfilling professional requirements to become a psychologist. The issue of who has the resources to rely on high interest loans while paying student loans, during the permit holder years; who can pay for course preparation for GREs and EPPPs; who can attend more prestigious and research-based programs; and how ethnic minorities seem to have a disparate EPPP failure rate when compared to non-ethnic minorities (Sharpless & Barber, 2013; Sharpless, 2019) warranted NJPA’s attention and action. 

ALL NJ psychologists benefit from this law and ideally all NJ psychologists should be members of NJPA. Keep this in mind as we move forward. Spread the word of how being a NJPA member is beneficial.  

I am very proud to say S2582/A543 (https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A1000/543_R1.PDF) is now a law! 

Regards,

NJPA President, Lucy Sant'Anna Takagi, PsyD

References: 

Sharpless, B. A. & Barber, J. P. (2013). Predictors of program performance on the Examination

for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 44 (4), p. 208 –217. DOI: 10.1037/a0031689

 

Sharpless, B. A. (2019). Are demographic variables associated with performance on the

Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)? The Journal of Psychology, 153 (2), p. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/00223980.2018.1504739