PPO Reorganized To Enhance Science Advocacy Efforts

APA has implemented a significant change to the structure of its Public Policy Office (PPO), one that should bode well for future science advocacy endeavors. The staff resources allocated to the science mission are now explicitly identified and dedicated to that purpose rather than melded into an advocacy ■pool■ with a broader mission as was the case under the previous arrangement. In all, the science advocacy team will now consist of five full-time PPO staffers, plus a shared advocacy network manager and three Science Directorate staffers whose responsibilities include some policy work.

The PPO team is currently led by Pat Kobor, who has been appointed Acting Director for Science of PPO. She will report jointly to the Executive Director for Science, William Howell, PhD, and APA's Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Michael Honaker, PhD, in a 'matrix-management' arrangement. The Education and Public Interest Directorates will also be served by dedicated PPO teams in a comparable reporting structure. Under this arrangement, PPO will continue to exist for purposes of policy coordination and efficiency of resource management, but the dedicated units will be better integrated into the overall mission of their respective Directorates.

Those who have followed the evolution of APA's entry into the public policy arena will recall that this function was once housed within the directorates. Four years ago, it was decided that because many policy issues and activities cut across directorate boundaries, centralization would be most efficient, and the respective resources were reallocated to a unified PPO. According to Dr. Howell, 'Many of our constituents interpreted this as a weakening of the support for science and protested vehemently. So did some of the policy folks transferred to the new unit, as well as some of the Directorate staff. As it turned out, there were some very good--as well as some not-so-good--points to the centralized concept. The new arrangement promises to preserve the best of both worlds: the coordination afforded by a central office and the deep involvement in the science mission provided by formal affiliation with the Directorate.'

Science watchers should be reassured by this new move because it puts to rest any lingering doubts about APA's commitment to science. When fully staffed, the combined PPO-Directorate policy team should be the strongest ever fielded in this increasingly important facet of the Science Directorate's operations. As for staffers directly involved in the move, the mood appears to be one of strong endorsement and optimism for the future.

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