Robert Cook, PhD, (UT UCEDD/LEND) to Serve as President of the Utah Psychological Association

June 23, 2009

Dr. Cook is a psychologist and the coordinator of Clinical Services at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. He also coordinates the center's Bear River Activity and Skills program. His work at the CPD has influenced his goals as the new president of the Utah Psychological Association starting July 1.

The Utah Psychological Association is a professional organization of psychologists, educators and students in the field. In addition to supporting and informing professionals, the organization encourages legislative action.

Dr. Cook plans to advocate for people with mental health needs in the state of Utah, and for health in general. He is especially interested in strengthening psychology for professionals and people who live outside Utah's larger cities.

People with psychological needs can have a hard time accessing services if they live in rural Utah. They often must drive long distances to see a professional. Sometimes, even if local professionals are available, they are not on insurance companies' lists of preferred providers.

Professionals can experience some isolation as well. In a rural setting it may be harder to find continuing education in their field.

It's a situation Dr. Cook would like to work on. For example, video streaming and other distance education technology could be used to deliver conferences and workshops to professionals who do not live on the Wasatch Front.

"Seeing how the CPD tries to reach out through things like virtual home visits ... helps me to understand what we need to do with the Utah Psychological Association in order to be successful," he said.

Learn more about the Utah Psychological Association here.