There are critical issues facing the neuropsychological community, such as inadequate reimbursement for services, a lack of familiarity among public policy makers regarding the science and practice of neuropsychology, and a lack of public policy awareness among professional neuropsychologists. Advocacy for the field is the most effective way to undertake positive change. Currently, a minority of psychological professionals actively engages in an advocacy process. With weak advocacy, our field risks slower development in key areas and without strong and constant advocacy, we risk losing ground previously gained. The purpose of this special issue of The Clinical Neuropsychologist, is to: (1) convey the importance of advocacy, (2) address and dispel unfounded mental obstacles that inhibit involvement in advocating for the specialty, and (3) aid neuropsychologists in preparing to join the advocacy process.
A primary motivation to engage in advocacy should be found in the stark realization that most critical decisions that affect neuropsychological practice are made by non-neuropsychologists. The twelve articles in this issue address topics such as increasing the public’s awareness of neuropsychology, how to advocate for neuropsychology in the government sector, how to advocate for specific patient populations, promotion of professional identity and scope of practice, advancement of the science of the field, select issues at the interface of neuropsychology and the law, increasing the diversity of neuropsychological practitioners, and increasing services to underserved populations. It is our hope that this special issue will be a catalyst for positive change.
Part 1. Advocacy to Increase the Awareness of Neuropsychology. L.L.S. Howe, J.J. Sweet, R.M. Bauer, Advocacy 101: A Step Beyond Complaining: How the Individual Practitioner can Become Involved and Make a Difference. D.K. Attix, G.G. Potter, Increasing Awareness of Clinical Neuropsychology in the General Public. G. Goldstein, Advocacy for Neuropsychology in the Public Sector. D.W. Loring, B.P. Hermann, M.J. Cohen, Neuropsychological Advocacy and Epilepsy. M.R. Mindt, D. Byrd, P. Saez, J. Manly, Increasing Culturally Competent Neuropsychological Services for Ethnic Minority Populations: A Call to Action. Part 2. Advocacy to Advance the Science and Practice of Neuropsychology. G. Chelune, Evidence-Based Research and Practice in Clinical Neuropsychology. G.P. Prigatano, J. Morrone-Strupinsky, Advancing the Profession of Clinical Neuropsychology with Appropriate Outcome Studies and Demonstrated Clinical Skills. R.C. Hilsabeck, E.M. Martin, Women and Advancement in Neuropsychology: Real-Life Lessons Learned. D. Cox, Board Certification in Professional Psychology: Promoting Competency and Consumer Protection. Part 3. Advocacy at the Intersection of Neuropsychology and the Law. J. Festa, W. Barr, N. Pliskin, The Politics of Technicians. L.L.S. Howe, R.J. McCaffrey, Third Party Observers During Neuropsychological Evaluation: An Update on the Literature, Practical Advice for Practitioners, and Future Directions. L.L.S. Howe, N. Pliskin, Advocacy Issue Conclusion.