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President's Welcome and 2019 Initiative

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The following quote was written on the chalkboard on the first day of my undergraduate Gender Communication class:


Ideas are clean.  They soar in the serene supernal.  I can take them out and look at them, they fit in books, they lead me down that narrow way.  And in the morning they are there.  Ideas are straight –


But the world is round, and a messy mortal is my friend.


Come walk with me in the mud.


It was the first time words seemed to capture the complex—and human—experience of masculinities. I was instantly hooked on learning about how gender shapes our lives, particularly the muddiness of how boys and men navigate gender roles. Almost a decade later I attended my first APA convention and discovered the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinities (Division 51), an APA division dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of boys, men, and by extension others in their lives.


Division 51 is a community of professionals that come together through research, clinical practice, advocacy, public policy, teaching, and community engagement to support boys and men in living fuller lives. We are graduate students, counselors, psychologists, social workers, physicians, nurses, teachers, authors, and other professionals united in a common mission. We grow and learn from the unique contributions of each member, and hope you will consider joining us to add your interests and professional experiences with masculinities. Although we are a division of the American Psychological Association, you do not need to be part of APA to join us. Come walk with us in the mud.



Dr. Ryan McKelley
2019 Division 51 President


Below is one of my initiatives for the year for those interested in joining the effort:


Modeling Masculinities Challenge

I’m officially announcing a personal and professional challenge for Division members that I’m calling the Modeling Masculinities Challenge (MMC). One of the most valuable experiences I’ve had as a member since 2004 is learning about all of the professional outreach and programming that you do in our field. Sometimes it gets featured in the division or even nationally, but far more often you are out in your local communities quietly supporting the health and wellbeing of diverse boys and men in meaningful ways. We have gotten a lot of media coverage this year for the Guidelines for Psychological Practice With Boys and Men, and this is an ideal time to keep that momentum going. It also continues 2018 APA President Dr. Jessica Henderson Daniel’s Citizen Psychologist Initiative. I’m challenging every division member to do ONE new thing that models our division’s mission: Here’s the catch—it should be something new or a spin on something you’ve done before that stretches you in small or large ways. What could this look like?


You all have various talents in teaching, research, clinical practice, consultation, supervision, community activism, public policy, etc. I challenge you to build upon and expand something you already do well, or take a risk and do something you’ve never tried. Here are some examples:

  • Are you a seasoned researcher that publishes mainly in academic outlets? Hold a talk in your community and translate your research for the public, offer to present at your health and human services department on strategies to improve health outcomes in your area, write an editorial on your local newspaper about the implications of your work, etc.

  • Are you a full-time clinician? Hold a workshop at a community center, through an organization (Parks and Recreation, Rotary, religious organization), or a parent-teacher group.

  • Do you teach a masculinities course? Embed a service learning project where your students engage directly with the community on improving the wellbeing of boys and men, or have your undergraduate or graduate students mentor in the K12 schools.

  • Do you typically partner with other clinicians in your work? Seek out public health and community health specialists, non-profit leaders, religious or spiritual leaders, etc. for collaboration.

  • Does your research or outreach focus on the dominant demographic group(s) in your area? Partner with agencies that work with boys and men from marginalized identities to learn about their existing efforts and programs to enhance your own, or see where you can support them in their work.

  • Does most of your masculinities work exist on a campus or in a clinic? Find volunteer or mentorship opportunities in your local school system or community agencies.

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