Education & Training in Health Service Psychology – COVID-19 – Joint Statement Updated 3-19-2020
The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC), the American Psychological Association (APA), the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) and the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) have received questions and concerns from programs and students concerned about how COVID-19 will impact their training experiences and if it will impact their completion of degree requirements. The range of ever-changing information, sometimes conflicting, from different organizations in which psychology graduate students train throughout the U.S. and Canada has contributed to increasing anxiety.
The purpose of this communication is to provide information coordinated by APPIC, APA, CPA, and ASPPB about how information will be shared as it becomes available. The community should expect further updates as this situation continues to develop, and public health guidelines are clarified by various agencies. We will continue to review updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). We anticipate that COVID-19 will impact the ability of some students to complete their internship/residency requirements, as psychological services will be disrupted, and further travel regulations will result in postponed training and education in psychology as well as other health professions. This impact will affect internships and postdoctoral fellowships, as well as information about accreditation and licensure. We intend to continue to update programs as this situation evolves, prioritizing student, faculty, and patient safety.
We recognize that programs may need to employ varying approaches and strategies that are influenced by individual institutional policies and procedures; local, state or provincial/territorial, and federal regulations; and possible variations in the spread of COVID-19. Licensing boards and colleges have to respond to jurisdictional requirements; as an accrediting agency recognized by the USDE (US Department of Education) and CHEA (Council of Higher Education Accreditation), the APA’s Commission on Accreditation (CoA) is charged with upholding minimum standards such that the public is assured that accredited psychology education and training programs conform to that which is delineated in the APA Standards of Accreditation; CPA’s Standards and Procedures need to enable accredited institutions to meet the provisions of their provincial/territorial degree granting authority and membership in Universities Canada. APPIC relies on its programs to ensure that ALL graduates meet the requirements, but also encourages programs to be flexible when possible and to follow institutional guidelines and employment rules typically controlled by individual sites regarding leave time.
APPIC, the APA’s Commission on Accreditation and CPA’s Accreditation Panel believe that program faculty and supervisors are in the best position to make decisions during training about trainee competence, including psychological intervention and assessment. and we trust that performance requirements set by programs will be effective in assessing trainee competence and safety.
For everyone, although we cannot issue a blank statement that will cover all training sites and all regulatory boards, rest assured that we – APA, CPA, APPIC, APA CoA (Commission on Accreditation), and CPA Commission on Accreditation Panel– are working with our programs to be flexible, and we are
working with ASPPB and psychology regulatory boards to stay in communication and updated through this time. For up-to-date information about licensure jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction, visit the ASPPB website (www.asppb.net) that is updated daily as new information is available.
We recognize that this is a stressful time for all stakeholders involved in education and training. Our organizations have staff who are available to assist you as situations arise. Please contact the appropriate agency with your questions, and please understand that there might not be immediate answers to some questions. We will do our best to give you updates as we learn more facts that impact training and licensure.