Timeline of VA and Psychology
Historical Events and Key VA Psychology Leadership Appointments: 1930-1999*

1930 Congress authorized President Herbert Hoover to establish the Veterans Administration to “consolidate and coordinate government activities affecting war veterans.”
1940  The VA’s Annual Report to Congress described construction underway for 6500 additional beds under a grant from the Public Works Administration with plans for an additional 14,000 beds. Of patients hospitalized on June 30, 1940, 58% were being treated for neuropsychiatric disorders with an average length of stay of 519 days.
1944  Passage of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (P.L. 78-346), commonly known as the G.I. Bill of Rights, authorized occupational, educational, and health assistance for veterans.
1945 The VA opened its first Mental Hygiene Clinic for outpatient mental health services at the Regional Office in Los Angeles.
1945 General Omar Bradley, Administrator of the VA, appointed George A. Kelly, Ph.D. as the first VA psychology consultant to help design the new VA psychology program.
1946  Congressional legislation (Public Law 293) established the Department of Medicine and Surgery within the VA giving this department responsibility for providing medical care to veterans and officially created an organization of professional departments or services within the VA. Clinical psychology became a section in the new Neuropsychiatry Service in VA Central Office along with the Psychiatry and Neurology sections.
1946 VA Memorandum No. 2 established affiliations with medical schools to help train physicians and other medical personnel needed to work in VA hospitals. Affiliations with 63 of the nation’s 77 medical schools were developed.
1946  James Grier Miller, M.D., Ph.D. was appointed the first Chief Clinical Psychologist for the Psychology Section in the Neuropsychiatry Division in VA Central Office.
1946 Urie Bronfenbrenner was appointed Associate Chief Clinical Psychologist for Research and Administration in the VA Psychology Section, and Iris Stevenson was appointed Assistant Chief Psychologist for Training and Personnel.
1946  Maurice Lorr, Ph.D. succeeded Urie Bronfenbrenner as the Assistant Chief Clinical Psychologist for Research in the Psychology Section in VA Central Office and Jane D. Morgan succeeded Iris Stevenson as Assistant Chief Psychologist for Training and Personnel.
1946  The VA adopted the doctoral degree as the minimum qualification standard for employment of clinical psychologists.
1946 The first appointments were made of students in a part-time employment status for VA training in clinical psychology (over 200 positions from 22 universities.)
1946  The APA Division of Psychologists in Public Service (18) was established as one of the 19 charter divisions in APA and became a division of interest for VA psychologists.
1948 Harold M. Hildreth, Ph.D. was appointed Chief Clinical Psychologist in the Psychology Section of VA Central Office to succeed James Miller.
1949 James Quinter Holsopple, Ph.D. and Harold M. Houtchens, Ph.D. were appointed Assistant Chief Clinical Psychologists in the Psychology Section in VA Central Office.
1952  Vocational Counseling became an independent service and program in the VA. Robert S. Waldrop, Ph.D. was appointed Director of Vocational Counseling in VA Central Office.
1952  VA adopted the doctoral degree as the minimum qualification standards for employment of counseling psychologists.
1953 The first appointment of students for VA training in counseling psychology was established (55 positions).
1953 Maurice Lorr was asked to head the new outpatient psychiatry research laboratory in VA Central Office.
1954 The Neuropsychiatry Division in VA Central Office was renamed the Psychiatry and Neurology Service with Clinical Psychology a section in that service.
1955 The Psychiatric Evaluation Program (PEP) was established to study effective treatment of psychiatric patients. Psychiatrist Richard Jenkins served as first project director, later headed by psychologist Lee Gurel. One of the first large-scale research projects in the VA, 13 VAs collaborated in the study using the VA’s cooperative research model.
1956  Max Houtchens, Ph.D. was appointed Chief Clinical Psychologist in VA Central Office to succeed Harold Hildreth.
1956 Cecil Peck, Ph.D. was brought into VA Central Office as Chief Consulting Psychologist.
1956  The VA’s Deputy Chief Medical Director presented a report at the APA convention noting that one-third of all research in the VA was being carried out by psychologists and that the VA employed 20% (628) of all psychologists in the country who met VA qualification standards (doctoral degree and internship).
1956 The Cooperative Studies of Chemotherapy in Psychiatry was established in 1956 and activated in 1958 to study the new phenothiazines being used in psychiatric treatment. The administration of this research program was assigned to the Neuropsychiatric Research Laboratory (CNPRL) at the VA hospital in Perry Point, MD which was briefly headed by psychologist J. Quinter Holsopple. Psychologist N. N. Springer headed the program until 1958 when psychologist Julian “Jack” Lasky became chief, followed by psychologist James Klett.
1956 The cooperative study of psychological factors in tuberculosis was established. The central planning committee included George Calden, Claire Vernier, Robert Barrell, Jonathan Cummings, and Joseph Dickerson.
1956 The Newsletter for Psychologists in Tuberculosis was started, and in 1959 became the Newsletter for Cooperative Research in Psychology. This quarterly publication continued in 1961 as the Newsletter for Research in Psychology, and in 1973 became the Newsletter for Research in Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences which was discontinued in 1976.
1957 The Central Neuropsychiatric Research Laboratory started publication of the Newsletter for Cooperative Studies in Psychiatry.
1957 The staff and training programs for clinical and counseling psychology were combined into one service in VA Central Office.
1960 The VA published the Manual of Group Therapy, authored by Abrahams Luchins, Lewis Aumack, and Harold Dickman at the VA in Roseberg and was one of the first publications for practical suggestions for conducting group therapy.
1962 Cecil P. Peck, Ph.D. succeeded Max Houtchens as Chief Clinical Psychologist in the Clinical Psychology Division in VA Central Office.
1962 Frederick Elton Ash, Ph.D. was appointed Chief Consulting Psychologist in VA Central Office and later became the first Chief for Psychology Education and Training in 1966.
1963 Richard N. Filer, Ph.D. was appointed Chief of Psychology Research in VA Central Office.
1963  The VA Psychology training stipend program was established in which psychology trainees were no longer part-time employees but were paid from funds specifically appropriated for training.
1964 Charles A. Stenger, Ph.D. was brought into the Clinical Psychology Division in VA Central Office as Chief of Psychology for Medical and Surgical Hospitals.
1965 The VA sponsored a psychology conference in Chicago to highlight non-traditional treatment approaches being used by psychologists. Presentations included those of Joseph McDonough at the Palo Alto VA on token economy programs, Earl Taulbee at the Tuscaloosa VA on attitude therapy, Harold Dickman at the VA in Roseburg, OR on therapeutic milieu programs, and Roy Brener at the VA in Chicago at Hines on the work of psychologists in domiciliary restoration centers.
1966  Public Law 89-785 made education a part of the VA’s mission along with patient care and research, including a mandate to train health professionals for the nation in addition to its own staffing needs.
1966 John E. (“Jack”) Davis, Jr. was appointed Chief of Outpatient Psychology in the Clinical Psychology Division in VA Central Office, and Harold Dickman, Ph.D. was appointed Chief of Psychology for Psychiatric Hospitals.
1971 In a VA Central Office reorganization, the Psychiatry and Neurology Service became the Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences Service with Cecil Peck given the title of Associate Director for Psychology. Neurology became an independent professional service.
1973  The Office of Academic Affairs was established in VA Central Office. Elton Ash and administration of the VA training program was transferred out of mental health into this new office.
1973 The TIGER Program (Training in Individual and Group Effectiveness and Resourcefulness) was established to provide leadership and interpersonal training throughout the VA. The program was headed by Philip Hanson, Ph.D. and a group of other psychologists at the Houston VA Hospital.
1974 The psychology training program at the VA Hospital in Topeka, Kansas received APA accreditation for pre-doctoral internship training, the first in the VA.
1975 Cecil Peck, Ph.D. was promoted to Deputy Director of the Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences Service in VA Central Office.
1975 Jule D. Moravec, Ph.D. succeeded Elton Ash and took over the administration of the VA Psychology Training Program as Educational Specialist for Psychology Training in the Office of Academic Affairs.
1976  Charles A. Stenger, Ph.D. became the Associate Director for Psychology in VA Central Office.
1977  The Association of VA Chief Psychologists was formed with Oakley Ray elected its first president.
1977  The VA Section was established within the Division of Psychologists in Public Service (Division 18) in APA with Ralph Fingar elected its first chair.
1977 Dana L. Moore, Ph.D. succeeded Jules Moravec as Educational Specialist for the VA Psychology Training Program in the Office of Academic Affairs.
1979 Congress authorized the establishment of the Readjustment Counseling Service and its Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Counseling Program in Public Law 96-22. The program was headed by psychologist Donald Crawford and was initially assigned to the Mental Health and Behavioral Science Service in VACO.
1979 Public Law 96-151 contained provisions that required psychologists in the Department of Medicine and Surgery to be licensed in a state, have a doctoral degree in clinical or counseling psychology, and have an internship acceptable to the Administrator of the VA.
1980 Joseph Mancusi, Ph.D. succeeded Charles Stenger as Associate Director for Psychology in VA Central Office.
1981  Public Law 97-37 established special treatment examinations and benefits for former prisoners of war.
1981 The VA Psychology training program reduced funding for practicum training and became primarily focused on internship training that required 1900 hours of training and provided interns with a $10,000 stipend.
1982  The National Organization of VA Psychologists was formed with Leila Foster elected its first president.
1982 Based on 1979 legislation, the VA published policy that established the doctoral degree in clinical or counseling psychology from a graduate school approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) as the credential for employment as a psychologist providing health care in the Department of Medicine and Surgery. An APA approved internship was also required as was state licensure or certification within two years of appointment.
1983 John (“Jack”) Davis, Jr., Ph.D. succeeded Cecil Peck as Deputy Director of the Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences Service in VACO.
1983 The Association of VA Chief Psychologists piloted a leadership training program for new Chiefs of Psychology which became an annual event through 2003.
1985  Eight-five (85) VA medical centers had APA approved internship programs.
1985 Dorothy Stringfellow, Ph.D. was appointed Educational Specialist for the Psychology Training Program to replace Dana Moore.
1987 Edward Sieracki, Ph.D. succeeded John Davis as Deputy Director of the Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences Service in VA Central Office.
1988 Gloria Holland, Ph.D. was appointed Educational Specialist for Psychology Training Program to replace Dorothy Stringfellow.
1989  Congress designated the Veterans Administration a cabinet level department and the agency was renamed the Department of Veterans Affairs.
1991 The VA funded the first postdoctoral psychology fellowship training positions in substance abuse at the VA’s in Dallas and Seattle for the 1991-92 training year.
1992 Martha Rae Barnes, Ph.D., succeeds Edward Sieracki as Deputy Director of the Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences Service in VA Central Office.
1992  The VA funded the first postdoctoral psychology fellowship training positions in geropsychology at six VA medical centers for the 1992-93 training year.
1993 Linda D. Johnson, Ph.D., R.N. was appointed Educational Specialist for the Psychology Training Program to replace Gloria Holland.
1997 The Association of VA Chief Psychologists was renamed the Association of VA Psychologist Leaders with membership expanded to all VA psychologists in management, supervisory, or other leadership positions.
1997 The first three Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (MIRECCs) were funded by the VA.
1998  The National Organization of VA Psychologists was disbanded.
1998 Mary Jansen, Ph.D. assumed the top leadership position in psychology in VACO replacing Martha Rae Barnes. This position was now named the Deputy Chief Consultant of the Mental Health Strategic Health Group under a reorganization in VA Central Office.
1998 The first annual VA Psychology Leadership Conference was held in Dallas, jointly sponsored and funded by the Association of VA Psychologist Leaders and the Practice Directorate of APA.
1999 The post-doctoral psychology training program at the VA medical center in San Antonio, Texas became the first VA training program to receive APA post-doctoral accreditation and the third such approved program in the nation.
1999 The VA requested proposals to expand the number and types of postdoctoral psychology training programs for the 2000-2001 training year requiring APA accreditation of postdoctoral training programs or substantial progress towards that accreditation for continued funding.
 

*Copyright, APA, 2006. From book to be published by APA books entitled Psychology and the Department of Veterans Affairs: A Historical Analysis of Training, Research, Practice, and Advocacy, by Rodney R. Baker and Wade E. Pickren. This book excerpt may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA book. It is not the copy of record. See http://www.apa.org/books/