Motivation to Organize
The deaths of Black citizens such as George Floyd due to violence, the ongoing healthcare disparities during the Covid-19 pandemic, the rise in hate crime against Asian and Indigenous women and children, and the sweeping legislations limiting LGBTQIA+ youth have culminated in a social justice movement from citizens around the globe. Psychology’s role in the perpetuation of racial injustice has been acknowledged. Concomitantly, there has been an increased awareness about how neuropsychology as a professional field has also been complacent and complicit. The specialty has not responded to the needs of millions of culturally and linguistically diverse patients we serve in society. The workforce and leadership of neuropsychology do not represent all of our neighbors and communities. Systemic racism, patriarchy, discrimination as well as microaggressions toward both the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ community, including our own trainees and colleagues, are too commonplace.
Recent efforts such as the 2010 Call to Action (Rivera-Mindt, Byrd, Seaz, & Manly), HNS 2015 Conference “Houston to Austin Conference”, AACN Relevance 2050 Initiative, and the development of identity organizations such as ANA, SBN, and QNS have pushed for a more culturally centered neuropsychology. The CNC is an outgrowth of these efforts that began in Spring 2020. While the IOPC Covid-19 Teleneuropsychology Advocacy team sprung into action by rapidly publishing guidelines papers and ensuring the viability of neuropsychology via legislative advocacy for reimbursement within only 1-2 months, the CNC was born. It became abundantly clear that centralizing efforts in the context of fractionated resources in our specialty would expedite systemic change and action that has been long overdue. Leveraging inter-organizational advocacy and collaboration empowers everyone to share responsibility while eliminating the minority tax and enhancing disruptive innovation. Bolstering institutional accountability and transparency as well as emphasizing structural competency rather than solely focusing on individual provider cultural competencies will lead to more meaningful change over time. We recognize that what we propose--to change systems is no easy feat. It cannot only occur during the momentum of a cultural shift. We anticipate resistance, slowing, and perhaps even regressions or backlash at other time points in the future. Within that context, the CNC has sought to create a new neuropsychological guild whose membership includes delegates and observers from all major neuropsychological entities and community representatives as well as international representatives. Initial work for the CNC revolved around an agreement with the need to organize so that we can then pursue short- and long-term sustainable goals intended to transform our field into one that is responsive to and reflective of today’s global society.