April Diversity Calendar

On behalf of the PLTC DE& I Committee, please see a list of April diversity holidays below.

In light of the ongoing George Floyd trial in Minnesota and heightened concerns about the growing violence toward Asian American and Pacific Islander older adults (and AAPI women), the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee of PLTC humbly continues our monthly sharing of notable dates important to diverse groups whom we work with and among.

Our sincere hope is that knowledge of the following APRIL holidays and celebrations may enhance our clinical impact with patients and their families, may drive increased tolerance in our local communities, and may contribute to continuous improvement in workplace equity needs across our various occupational settings.  Thank you for being courageous advocates who work to promote safe and contemplative spaces where all members of our human family can be heard and supported and where all people have the chance to learn and grow. 

APRIL Month Long – Celebrate Diversity Month

APRIL Month Long – Arab-American Heritage Month

APRIL Month Long – Autism Awareness Month

April 2 – World Autism Awareness Day

April 4 – Easter (Christian)

April 7-8 – Yom HaShoah (Isreal’s day of remembrance for the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust)

April 12 – Ramadan begins (Islam)

April 12 – Hindu New Year

April 20 – Start of Rivdan (Baha’i)

April 22 – Earth Day

April 23 – National Day of Silence (LGBTQIAA+)

PLTC DE&I Committee Statement on Anti-AAPI Hate

Written by: Katherine Lou, Psy.D., on behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee

The PLTC DE&I Committee unequivocally condemns the increasing hate and violence directed toward Asian-American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) nationwide. The March 16 shooting in the Atlanta area which killed eight individuals, six of whom were AAPI women, is the latest incident to exacerbate the fear and pain the community has experienced from the uptick of violence and xenophobia since the start of the pandemic. We mourn the victims of this crime, and extend our support to the AAPI older adults who were attacked, and in one case killed, over the past three months.

As members of PLTC, we find the attacks on these older adults particularly abhorrent because they reflect an intentional targeting of the most revered and vulnerable members of the AAPI community. According to data gathered by Stop AAPI Hate, there have been nearly 3,800 reported incidents of discrimination directed toward AAPI individuals in the U.S. since March 2020. Thus far, over 7% of the incidents reported are from individuals age 60 or older. This is likely an underreported percentage due to language barriers and distrust of law enforcement among older AAPI adults, particularly those who are immigrants. 

The findings also showed that individuals who reported these incidents experienced them as traumatic, now perceive their country as much more dangerous, and view anti-Asian discrimination as a primary source of stress. In order to promote healing and create a sense of safety within long-term care and other settings, we encourage PLTC members to continue to embrace difficult conversations with your older adult clients, particularly individuals of color, who may face past or current race-based traumas.

As a committee working to build a diverse, inclusive, and empathically-minded community of professionals, we urge individuals from all backgrounds to strive for unity instead of division. With the backdrop of the trial in Minneapolis for the murder of George Floyd last summer underway, now more than ever, it is vital that we engage together in the fight against racism, rather than demonize or scapegoat other communities of color. 

Finally, we invite our members to be “called in” to continue to speak up in solidarity with vulnerable communities targeted by discrimination and hate, and to foster meaningful dialogue about the dismantling of embedded systems of oppression, racial justice, and restoration in the places where you practice, teach, mentor, advocate, and conduct research. Toward this end, included below is a resource to help increase understanding about the long history of anti-AAPI racism in the U.S.; please feel free to use and share widely. The support allies show toward marginalized individuals can be incredibly powerful, validating, and healing, and counters the self-gaslighting that can occur among individuals when they do not hear active and vocal support within their wider communities.

Self-Guided Training: Anti-AAPI Racism (Fitzgerald, 2021)

March Diversity Calendar

On behalf of the PLTC DEI Committee, we would like to share PLTC’s March Diversity Calendar

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Ethnic Equality Month, Gender Equality Month, National Women’s History Month, and Social Work Month.

On March 13, 2020, a national emergency was declared in the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we move through this challenging year, we are reminded to honor the richness of the long-term care experience, including how aging and developmental disabilities intersect. We celebrate our colleagues and one another, especially our social workers, and staff members of all genders as well as diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

March 8 – International Women’s Day

March 11 – Maha Shivarati (Hindu)

March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day

March 19 – Naw-Ruz (Baha’I New Year)

March 25 – International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

March 27 – Passover begins (Jewish)

March 28 – Holi (Hindu)

March 31 – Equal Pay Day

March 31 – International Transgender Day of Visibility

Student Research Award 2021

Dear Members,

Psychologists in Long Term Care (PLTC) is enthusiastically inviting applications for the annual Student Research Award 2021. We will be offering two awards, one for an original research paper and one for a research poster, each with a prize of $375. Details for submission are outlined below.

Submissions must be relevant to long-term care. Past winners have addressed topics such as competencies in mental healthcare for LGBTQ older adults, psychological needs of nursing home staff, older adults’ sense of community in assisted living facilities, and nurses’ approaches to managing resident behaviors in nursing homes.

Graduate students and postdoctoral students are invited to apply for the awards. Applicants must be members of PLTC at the time of submission. Please note that membership for first-year students is free.

Applications for the award this year should be submitted by June 1, 2021 to allow time for review and announcements. Submissions should be submitted via email to Evan Plys, PhD, Co-Chair of the Research Committee at evan.plys@cuanschutz.edu

Additional information can be found HERE.

General Details  

The award amount is $375 for the paper and $375 for the poster winner.  Applicants are welcome to apply in both categories, however, can only win in one of the categories.  Winners will receive the cash award along with a commemorative piece. The award will be announced prior to the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (August 12-15 2021 in San Diego, CA). Winners are invited to attend the PLTC meeting held during APA where they will receive the award. You do not need to be present at APA to accept the award. We will also provide recognition for the University and the research/faculty mentor. 

Paper and poster submissions can include original research, literature reviews, QI/program evaluation studies, intervention studies, and formal needs assessments. Be sure to include a CV with your submission.

Manuscripts or posters recognized by other organizations’ award programs will not be considered for the award. 

Paper Submissions 

Manuscripts should be 8-12 pages, exclusive of tables, figures, references, and abstract and title pages. Paper submissions should include a title page with all authors and affiliations and an abstract of no more than 250 words. Manuscripts that are being presented at GSA,APA, or other academic conferences will be accepted.

 Poster Session Submissions

Please submit a color PDF of the poster that is suitable for reading and includes all relevant sections of your completed work. These sections are: title, all authors and affiliations, abstract, background, methods, results, discussion and conclusions, appropriate figures and tables, and references.

A checklist to use in submitting your material is here:

We look forward to receiving and reviewing applications. 

Sincerely,

PLTC Research Committee

Statement from the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) and Stop AAPI Hate condemning recent violence against Asian elders.

On behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee, we would like to share below the February, 2021 statement from the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) and Stop AAPI Hate condemning recent violence against Asian elders.  Additional resources are provided.

Statement Condemning Violence Against Asian and Asian Americans February 10, 2021

The Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) and Stop AAPI Hate unequivocally condemn the increasing hate and violence directed toward Asians and Asian Americans nationwide and most recently in northern California, which resulted in the death of one Asian American elder. We mourn the loss of and seek justice for Vicha Ratanapakdee, one of several victims in a string of attacks targeting Asian and Asian American seniors. As an organization and community of immigrants, refugees, and People of Color, we are especially distressed by these events because of the continued violence targeting Asian Americans, as discussed in our April 2020 COVID-19 Racism-related Statement. These are not isolated incidents, and the atrocities committed against Asians and Asian Americans intensify the challenges that our community is already facing. The attacks on our elders are especially horrific because it reflects an intentional targeting of the most revered and also most vulnerable members of our community. The violence is happening at a time when Asian Americans are already disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, from economic instability and unemployment to being on the front lines as essential healthcare workers.

Preliminary findings from AAPA’s ongoing collaborative research with the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center show that as of January 2021, a total of 2,808 reports were received documenting a range of discrimination and violence inflicted on the AAPI community. Thus far, 7.3% of the incidents reported to the portal are from individuals 60 years of age and older. This is likely an underreported percentage, but one that reveals our elders being targets of race-based discrimination. Findings also indicated that overall, respondents experienced hate incidents as traumatic, now perceive their country as much more dangerous, view anti-Asian discrimination as a primary source of stress, and are in need of more mental health support than there is available. More findings will be forthcoming.

We stand with the 40+ Asian American and Asian immigrant organizations in the Bay Area that convened yesterday morning to condemn the anti-Asian violence against the AAPI community. We will work in tandem to develop cross-cultural coalitions and healing, promote trauma-informed and culturally-sensitive services, and build safety within and across our communities. We encourage Asian Americans to attend to their individual and collective mental health during this time of fear, uncertainty, anger, and grief. We urge our community and allies to strive for unity instead of division, and to offer solidarity in the fight against racism. This includes intervening when possible, validating the pain of those who are distressed, and reporting anti-Asian hate crimes, including the ones they directly experience and those that they witness (see links below). We remind members of our community to seek justice and support for victims without perpetrating anti-Blackness and overpolicing as a means to restore a sense of safety. We will not demonize or scapegoat any communities of color. We will continue to advocate for additional education, support, and resources to invest in the community-building and safety of all of our people.

Links & Resources

Stop AAPI Hate Reporting: https://stopaapihate.org

AAPA COVID-19 Racism-related Statement: https://aapaonline.org/wpcontent/uploads/2020/04/AAPA-COVID19-statement.pdf

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Tracking Hate Stories: https://www.standagainsthatred.org/

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Hate Crimes Task Force and Pro Bono Legal Resources: https://www.napaba.org/page/HateCrimeResources

Infographics and accompanying videos for helping AAPI families talk to children and teens exposed to anti-Asian bullying and harassment (developed for COVID-19 but also relevant now): https://division45.org/division-45-task-force-on-covid-19-anti-asian-discrimination-and-xenophobia/

Asian American Mental Health Collective directory of APISAA therapists: https://www.asianmhc.org/apisaa

AAPA Division on Practice list of COVID-related mental health resources: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GrseILJlOFiNOzeQT3X3aizokL-M4NvXp7vCP4Wjm8/edit?ts=5e88c7b1

Free bystander intervention training to stop anti-Asian/American and xenophobic harassment: https://www.ihollaback.org/bystanderintervention/

February 2021 Holidays and Observances, on behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee

On behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee, Please see below a list of notable February, Holidays and Observances:

Black History Month (observed for the full month of February): 

According to History.Com (https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month), “Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history…Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.  The Black History Month 2021 theme, ‘Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity’ explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States.”

February 1: National Freedom Day, which celebrates the signing of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in 1865.

February 3: Setsubun-Sai (Beginning of Spring), the day before the beginning of spring in Japan, celebrated yearly as part of the Spring Festival.

February 12: Lunar New Year is the first day of the year according to the lunar (lunisolar) calendar. This year it falls on February 12. In many parts of the world, people know of it as Chinese New Year. In Chinese communities, the celebration ends on the 15th day of the new year with the Lantern Festival. Other Asian communities all over the world also follow the lunar calendar, so lunar new year is celebrated across cultural and ethnic groups. It is an important time for family reunion and delicious food; a time to reflect on the past and prepare for a bright future.

February 16: Vasant Panchami, the Hindu festival that highlights the coming of spring. On this day Hindus worship Saraswati Devi, the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music, art, and culture.

February 16: Mardi Gras, Carnival, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday: This holiday takes place on the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the 40-day period that precedes Easter.  The type of celebration or name of the holiday depends on the country of origin and local traditions.

February 17: Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent on the Christian calendar. Its name is derived from the symbolic use of ashes to signify penitence.

February 20: World day of social justice.  Was declared an annual celebration by the UN General Assembly in 2007.

February 21: International Mother Language Day.  This holiday has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. 

February 25-28: Intercalary Days or Ayyám-i-Há, celebrated by people of the Bahá’í faith. At this time, days are added to the Bahá’í calendar to maintain their solar calendar. Intercalary days are observed with gift giving, special acts of charity, and preparation for the fasting that precedes the New Year.  People of the Bahá’í Faith also participate in a 19-day fast from Feb. 28 – March 19 to reinvigorate the soul and bring one closer to God.  This fast takes place immediately before the beginning of the Bahá’í New Year.

February 25-26: Purim, a Jewish celebration that marks the time when the Jewish community living in Persia was saved from genocide. On Purim, Jewish people offer charity and share food with friends.

February 27: Maghi-Purnima, a Hindu festival especially for worshippers of Lord Vishnu. Millions of devotees take a holy bath on this day. Devotees also carry out charity work on this day.

2021 Diversity Calendar Important Dates (also Happy New Year from PLTC!)

As we (finally!) ring in a new year and say goodbye and good riddance to 2020, we at PLTC and the PLTC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (DE&I) want to bring everyone’s attention to the 2021 Diversity Calendar – which has increased significance for understanding and celebrating diversity in the United States.

While holidays and celebrations may take many forms and may be celebrated to varying degrees, in a country as diverse as the United States, there are recognitions that are as varied as the population, from month long celebrations to more specific observances. Some are more somber remembrances or sacrifice or tragedy, while others represent achievements. Still others focus on a person, religion or heritage.

It is not possible to cover every event; however, we would like to highlight some of those events that are recognized by many. Here are some key dates for the coming month of January that focus on diverse segments we feel are worth knowing about for the work that we do with our older adult clients:

Notable January 2021 Holidays and Observances:

January 4 – World Braille Day: Held on January 4th of each year to commemorate the birthdate of Louis Braille, the inventor of braille, World Braille Day is observed in order to raise awareness of the importance of braille as a means of communication, issues of accessibility and independence, and the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people.

January 17 – World Religion Day: Every year on the third Sunday of January, people from all cultures and backgrounds come together to celebrate the commonalities of different faiths around the world, of which there are over 4,000 recognized religions. The holiday was initiated by the Baháʼí in 1950 to promote interfaith harmony and understanding, as their faith emphasizes the importance of universal equality and unity.

January 18 – Martin Luther King Day: The third Monday of January each year honors the life of American clergyman and activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Best known for the use of nonviolent civil disobedience as a means to advance the civil rights cause, he was one of the civil rights movement’s most prominent leaders from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. The date is celebrated as Civil Rights Day in some states, and commemorates Dr. King’s birth.

January 27 – International Holocaust Remembrance Day: This international day of remembrance is held each year to commemorate the memory of the over 6 million Jews and 11 million other victims of the Holocaust. It is, to quote the remarks of former president Barack Obama, a time to “mourn the loss of lives, celebrate those who saved them, honor those who survived, and contemplate the obligations of the living.” It was on January 27th in 1945 that Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to produce uncertainty, stress, and trauma in our communities. All of us who work in healthcare have been touched by this pandemic. We’ve lost people we cared for; we’ve sacrificed time with our loved ones. Many of us have gotten COVID or lost a family member to it. Despite experiencing months of unspeakable tragedy and the challenges we are all facing every day, this is also a time that is bringing out the best in many people—from the first-responders fighting on the front-lines to the essential workers providing food, products, and services. As our own wise colleague Dr. Eleanor Feldman Barbera recently reminded us: “Let us hope the losses and trials of the pandemic lead to increased recognition of our value and interconnectedness, more compassionate care for elders, and to post-traumatic growth.”

We are all in this together. In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy, and we wish you all the best for a brighter year ahead.

-The PLTC DE&I Committee

PLTC Celebrates Transgender Awareness Week and Shedding Light on Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Old Adults

Transgender Awareness Week, typically taking place the second week of November, has been a one-week observation to help raise visibility about transgender people and address issues members of the community face. The week culminated in the annual November 20th Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to honor the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence over the past year.  

To further the inclusivity of transgender older adults in mental health care, Dr. Regina Koepp, a nationally-recognized clinical psychologist and gerontologist and creator of the Psychology of Aging Podcast, recently hosted Loree Cook-Daniels, M.S., a renowned expert in transgender aging and founder of the transgender aging network, on the topic of providing affirming care for transgender older adults. 

In the episode, Cook-Daniels discussed clinical considerations for mental health providers providing treatment to transgender older adults, such as the relationship and social factors affected when someone transitions earlier in life versus later, and the disproportionately high rates of mental health concerns, suicidal thoughts, and discrimination that transgender individuals face in the healthcare system.

Cook-Daniels also notes the unique role that mental health providers historically have played as “gatekeepers” to determine an individual’s ability to tolerate gender-affirming hormone therapy or surgeries. She comments on the potential consequences this role can have in deterring some transgender people from seeking mental health care due to a concern that the provider may deny them access to these necessary treatment or procedures.

Finally, she shares a number of free resources for family, friends, mental health and medical providers, and other geriatric care providers. As each of us have an important role to creatie safe and secure spaces for healing for transgender older adult clients, we encourage you to check out these resources and informative, insightful podcast episode with one of the nation’s leading experts on this important topic.

A Message from the PLTC Public Policy Committee

Michael William Vincent Mackie Jr., Ph.D.
On behalf of the PLTC Public Policy Committee

It has been a difficult year for our members at PLTC, both personally and professionally. No one anticipated the extent of the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our long-term care communities.  We recognize the sacrifices you have made this year and are so very proud of the heroic work done by our members.

As we near the end of 2020, we wanted to summarize for you the work done over the course of this year by your PLTC Public Policy Committee.

We began the year by reaching out to our members directly to better understand issues important to you and tried our best to work towards these goals in our advocacy opportunities throughout the year.

One of the issues echoed by our membership was the importance of designating psychologists as physicians to help streamline the care we could provide to our patients. This is an ongoing struggle and the committee continues to advocate on your behalf with our legislatures. Lisa Lind has been pivotal in reaching out and meeting virtually with representatives Burgess and Veasey to underscore the improved timely access to care that such a designation would have for our patients in LTC.  Throughout the year there were several meetings with the APA and the above congressional offices to advocate for the Medicare Mental Health Access Act (HR884).  You may have seen emails from our committee members with requests to share your stories related to delayed access to mental health care due to issues surrounding physician orders.  These individual patient stories are extremely helpful when advocating for change and we appreciate all who participated.

Jennifer Birdsall was instrumental in strengthening our relationship with the different organizations with which we work, collaborating with the APA and CMS to advocate for these changes during crucial times of the pandemic.  In May of this year, Jennifer Birdsall spoke on behalf of psychologist, with the support of Stephen Gillaspy, the Senior Director of Health Care Financing at APA and Doug Walter, JD, Associate Executive Director of Practice Government Relations at APA, to Demetrios Kouzoukas, the Principle Deputy Administrator and Director of the center for Medicare Services on a number of advocacy topics.  These included: 1) Updating the definition of physician to include psychologists, 2) preventing rate cuts and removing the need for budget neutrality, and 3) continuing reimbursement for telehealth and audio-only services during the pandemic.

Lisa Lind also coordinated with Stephen Gillapsy, the Senior Director of Health Care Financing and Dr. Valle Wright, the Senior Director of Health Care Innovation to help support relevant MIPS measure and reporting capabilities in LTC. These meetings were helpful to address the possible changes in measures used by MIPS, as well as identifying the negative impact COVID-19 had on the reporting of these measures. More recently, she met with Nicole Owings-Fonner, Director of Operations of APA’s Health Care Innovation and the MBHR committee to discuss how to make MIPS measures more relevant to our patients.

Also of great importance to our membership was Medicare’s proposed update to the physician fee schedule and reduction in reimbursement rates in 2021 as a result of the E&M code revision and budget neutrality.   The Public Policy Committee, along with help from our membership, tirelessly worked to advocate for appropriate reimbursement for psychology providers across CPT codes.  

The Public Policy Committee is grateful to be able to serve our members and support you, as well as others in the field of psychology, and in particular for those working with older adults to ensure patient access to quality care. We want to thank all our members who have helped support the many initiatives we have brought to your attention this year.  Many of you have responded to our calls to action, which is pivotal to successful advocacy.

We want to hear from you.  Our survey this year has helped guide our committee’s priorities, but please reach out at any time with any requests or suggestions for how the PLTC Public Policy Committee can best serve you.  Please do not hesitate to contact our members, Lisa Lind, Jennifer Birdsall, Cecilia Poon, or Mike Mackie, should you have any more specific questions about the work done or future advocacy opportunities.

Wishing you and your families a very joyful, safe, and healthy holiday season.  Again, thank you for the heroic and essential work you do, caring for our nation’s older adults.

With Regard,

The PLTC Public Policy Committee         

APA CALLS FOR COMPREHENSIVE POLICY CHANGES TO END THE US RACISM PANDEMIC

The PLTC Diversion, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DE&I) announces action on the part of APA CEO Dr. Arthur C. Evans Jr. in August to call for comprehensive policy changes to end the pandemic of racism in the United States.

Joined by American Psychiatric Association CEO Dr. Saul Levin and National Association of Social Workers CEO Dr. Angelo McClain, the national leaders in mental health published an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel that addressed the systemic racism that led to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black Americans over the past year. They also expressed concern regarding the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on communities of color and commit to increase action within their respective organizations to address racial disparities in the United States, including the recruitment of more people of color in the mental health profession. 

Additionally, they emphasize that the ending of systemic racism is a public health priority that requires immediate action on the part of policymakers. Among the policy changes they call for are:

  • Increased access to healthcare for people of color, who face disproportionate barriers to access and quality of care;
  • Improved access to and elimination of restrictions on telehealth;
  • Police and law enforcement reform that includes training in de-escalation techniques, banning of the use of chokeholds, and elimination of racial and religious profiling;
  • Passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (R.7120/S.3912), a bill with wide-ranging measures proposed to increase law enforcement accountability;
  • Passing the bipartisan Crisis Care Improvement and Suicide Prevention Act (R.7159) to authorize increased funds for the provision of mental health crisis services; and
  • Response to mental health crises with trained mental health professionals rather than armed police.

To read the full text of the article, please click here.

From time to time, communications on behalf of the DE&I Committee may include information from other organizations or advocacy groups in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space. We believe this information can help spark discussions, further the exchange of ideas and best practices, and ultimately help further PLTC’s purpose, among other goals, to provide advocacy on ethical, regulatory, organizational, and public policy issues which impact individuals and professionals in long-term care. It is not intended to support or oppose any partisan political views, beliefs, or ideology.

__________________________________

Katherine Lou, PsyD (she/her/hers)
(re. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee)
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Email: drkathylou@relatespace.org