Relevance 2050 Initiative

Dear Academy members:

By the year 2050, a full 60% of the American population will be “un-testable” with our current toolkit of largely mono-lingual, mono-cultural neuropsychological assessment strategies.  This lack of access to neuropsychological services by non-primarily English speaking, non-European American patients is clearly a social justice issue.  But it is more than that.  It is a market share issue of staggering proportions. As a profession we will become increasingly irrelevant in the healthcare marketplace if we do not take substantial action now.

I want to share with you the Relevance 2050 Initiative — approved by the AACN board of directors, and currently being launched within the Academy. Relevance 2050’s goals are to support new assessment methods, training models, mid career supervision models, and clinical strategies that every Academy member can access in order to begin to substantially increase the percentage of patients we, and the generation of neuropsychologists who follow us, are able to competently serve.

In order to meet those goals, the initiative will include aggressive recruitment of more neuropsychologists from diverse linguistic, cultural, socioeconomic, religious and other backgrounds into the field, into our Academy, and into our Academy’s leadership.


Our Relevance 2050 title is an acknowledgement that this is not a narrow “diversity issue” as much as it is a broad and critical practice issue/ healthcare market share issue for every Academy member involved in patient care, training, research, and administration.


One of the initiative’s first recommendations, to create a dedicated seat on the AACN Board for an individual with experience and expertise in diversity issues, was ratified into Academy bylaws at the 2015 meeting. Dr. Anita Sim began her term this February, and will take over as Chair of the Relevance committee. In order to ensure that this is not a siloed issue, the AACN board voted to locate the Relevance 2050 committee within the executive committee of the board. That is, the AACN President, President-Elect, Treasurer, and Secretary moving forward will automatically be Relevance 2050 committee members. Additional Academy members with expertise and interest have additionally been recruited. Acknowledging that barriers to achieving the goals of the initiative may not be identified if we rely only on the hard work of Academy members, the AACN BOD also voted to invite non Academy members/ non AACN affiliates to work together with us on the initiative. Together, we have assembled a dream team of experienced researchers, clinicians, and student stakeholders. I am particularly grateful to have an active partnership in this regard with the Hispanic Neuropsychological Society.


Relevance 2050 Initiative Committee members:

Anita Sim, Ph.D., ABPP, Chair
Desiree Byrd, Ph.D., ABPP Co-Chair, Tools and Norms subcommittee
Veronica Burton, Ph.D., ABPP Co-Chair, Tools and Norms subcommittee
Chris Morrison, Ph.D., ABPP Chair, Diversity Award for Posters subcommittee
Shawn Nelson Schmitt, Ph.D. Co-Chair, Student Pipeline Subcommittee
June Paltzer, Ph.D., ABPP, Chair, Annual AACN Conference 2050 Diversity Initiative Workshop subcommittee
Christine Salinas, Ph.D., Chair, Peer Consultation Network subcommittee
Octavio Santos, M.S., Co-Chair, Student Pipeline Subcommittee
Sara Swanson, Ph.D., ABPP, Chair, Practicing Neuropsychologists Pipeline Subcommittee
Nardos Bellete, Ph.D., ABPP
Nancy Hebben, Ph.D., ABPP
Farzin Irani, Ph.D., ABPP
Margaret Lanca, Ph.D.
Rick Naugle, Ph.D., ABPP
Karen Postal, Ph.D., ABPP
Anthony Stringer, Ph.D., ABPP
Stephanie Towns, Ph.D.
Cheryl Weinstein, Ph.D., ABPP
Karen Wills, Ph.D., ABPP


Relevance 2050 logoLet’s keep neuropsychology relevant.

Karen Postal,
AACN President