In this my last year as Chair, I reflect upon the variety and value of activities implemented by Sydney Branch over the past four years. The success of this Branch has been achieved through the unity of Committee members and Branch members who through their contribution and expert knowledge, worked together to truly represents the needs of all Sydney Branch members. I express my congratulations and thanks to the dedicated Committee and all who have contributed efforts to the success of this Branch.
Sydney Branch is a large and diverse group and the Branch Committee strives to cater for the needs of all Branch members. This goal has been achieved in the past three years by organising a yearly planning meeting, now held at the end of the year to evaluate the past year’s activities and put forward ideas for the following year. All members are invited to meet with Committee members in an open forum, to discuss the path of the Committee for the year ahead, share resources-names of interesting speakers and topics for events. The planning meeting provides the Committee valuable insight into the expertise of members who might present at an event; it also provide members a valuable opportunity for networking.
To ensure the growth of the Branch and to better support psychology students, provisional psychologists and early career psychologists, it was decided to focus on the needs of this particular group. This has been achieved by: delivery and funding of postgraduate student conferences; our focus on emerging research; recognition of the work of lecturers; workshops which assist provisional psychologists to fulfil Psychology Board criteria and events specifically targeted to developing early career skills.
Another fundamental aim of Sydney Branch as a psychologist body has been to engage community, education and NSW State politicians in developing a better understanding and value the work of psychologists and those working in the area of psychology. The concept of the “Psychology Research Forum” held in National Psychology Week emerged from this notion. The event last November was hosted by NSW Local Member for Drummoyne Mr John Sidoti MP who has been a strong supporter of the APS Sydney Branch since my time as Chair. The Forum which aims to link research to practice invited academics and clinicians to present their work at NSW Parliament House. The APS President opened the event and prominent NSW state ministers and politicians attended, addressed and presented awards. In addition to psychological presentations, well-being community grants were presented to successful recipients and ‘APS Lecturer of the Year’ awards presented to successful lecturers from the universities within the Sydney Branch. The event was a resounding success with a large audience of APS members, community organisations, politicians and the wider community.
Discussions held at the recent APS Super Forum in Melbourne confirmed that the work of Sydney Branch indeed represents its members. Sydney Branch educates members about the APS and its governance, advocates for all of its members, invites active participation in events and most importantly, enhances cohesion within its membership by acknowledging and rewarding diversity.
Dr Rose Cantali MAPS
Sydney Branch Chair