Chief of Psychology in the Public Interest

American Psychological Association
Washington D.C.
Based on skill set and experience
October 21 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The American Psychological Association (APA) is seeking a strategic thinker and strong leader for the position of Chief of Psychology in the Public Interest. This position is responsible for leading a transformational agenda to increase the impact of APA’s efforts by applying the science and practice of psychology to benefit society and improve lives. The Chief of Psychology in the Public Interest will oversee a wide-ranging portfolio of programs and initiatives related to critical societal issues, with a special emphasis on promoting the well-being of diverse and underrepresented populations. This person will also work with the CEO, Deputy CEO, Chief Diversity Officer, and other members of the Executive Leadership Team to foster collaboration and to ensure alignment between APA’s activities and strategic priorities.

Job Summary:

Guided by APA’s strategic priorities, the Chief of Psychology in the Public Interest is the association’s primary leader in identifying, conceptualizing, and developing the organizational strategy for addressing the major societal issues on which the association will work. The Chief also establishes metrics to assess the impact of such efforts and tracks work to those metrics. This person leads a 30-person team and the work of others across the organization who support those efforts to address major emerging societal issues (e.g., long-term impact of COVID-19 pandemic; climate change) through the application of psychological knowledge and expertise. This includes existing programs and federally-funded projects (e.g., focused on racism, health equity, poverty, and immigration) and specific populations (including ethnically diverse/people of color; LGBTQ persons; people with disability identities; children, youth, and families; women; and older adults). The Chief also works collaboratively with the Chiefs of Science, Professional Practice, Education, and Advocacy to ensure that public interest issues are integrated into broader APA initiatives, and works with content experts in APA’s divisions, leadership, and membership. In addition to working with relevant APA entities, the Chief is responsible for collaborating with external partners to implement innovative ways to apply psychological knowledge and expertise to address societal challenges and opportunities.

Job Qualifications:

  • Requirements include: a doctoral degree in psychology and at least 10 years of post-degree experience in the field, with documented leadership and management skills, preferably in a large organization;
  • Experience and commitment related to the application of psychological science and practice to societal issues to respond in a strategic, innovative, and informed manner;
  • Strategic planning, analytical, and decision-making skills;
  • Flexibility, agility, and adaptability in a high-performing environment;
  • Familiarity and successful experience with managing organizational change;
  • Proven ability to supervise and lead others, develop and work successfully with a large team of cross-functional professionals in a matrixed environment, and collaborate effectively in the interest of a common goal and mission;
  • Cultural and social responsivity in interactions with others;
  • Superior interpersonal and written/verbal communication skills, with the ability to utilize data to shape messages for targeted audiences, including public officials and the media;
  • Sound professional judgment and demonstrated ability to work effectively under pressure, attend to details, meet deadlines, and be held accountable for results;
  • Proven ability to develop and manage partnerships and collaborations to advance the application of psychological science and practice to societal issues.


A dynamic and visionary leader is sought for the Chief position who will represent the association in efforts to address critical societal issues. As such, strong leadership skills and experience are required, together with a collaborative approach and work style, since it is critically important to engage teams with diverse expertise across multiple topic areas. This position involves significant strategic planning, budgetary, and organizational responsibility, along with the ability to oversee multiple initiatives simultaneously. The Chief will serve on the CEO’s Executive Leadership Team, report directly to the Deputy CEO, and work with APA’s Board of Directors and groups of elected and appointed officials that serve as advisory bodies to the association on public interest issues.

About APA:

APA represents 122,000 psychologists, students, and affiliates, primarily in the U.S. and Canada but also in other countries around the world. APA is a scientific and professional organization categorized as a 501(c)(3) and has an annual operating budget of $127 million. Along with its 501(c)(6) companion organization, APA Services, Inc., APA has about 530 employees. APA is located at 750 First Street, NE, Washington, D.C., near Union Station. For more information, please visit

Application Instructions:

Qualified candidates must apply online through the APA’s applicant system and attach a cover letter and CV/resume specifying salary expectations. Applications that are submitted without both documents are considered incomplete and will not be reviewed for consideration. Once your application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation email. Please make sure to check your Spam folder if you do not receive an email from us.

The American Psychological Association is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected Veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other protected categories covered under local law.

APA has a mandatory vaccination policy. All employees must be either fully vaccinated or receive approval from APA for an exemption (disability/medical or sincerely held religious belief) before beginning work at APA. By submitting your application, you agree that as a condition of employment, you must comply with APA’s mandatory vaccination policy and other health and safety requirements. 

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