The Prescriptive Authority Movement in Illinois began in the early 1990’s. Many of our clinical psychologists had the foresight and acumen to know that psychologists’ prescribing would be an exciting and clinically significant expansion for our scope of practice. Our patients, who were being prescribed second generation, more effective psychotropic medications, by their PCP’s or psychiatrists, could benefit from working with psychologists who had the specialized knowledge to treat them with both medications and psychotherapy. After all, it was in 1992 that a small cadre of military psychologists had begun an experimental training program in Clinical Psychopharmacology to become prescribers in the military. And, it was in the early 1980’s that the highly decorated WWII Veteran, Hawaiian Senator Daniel K. Inouye, nudged by his Chief of Staff, Dr. Pat DeLeon, discussed the potential impact of prescribing psychologists with the members of the Hawaiian Psychological Association.
Prescriptive Authority became a high priority for the Illinois Psychological Association, under the leadership of Executive Director, Dr. Terry Koller, IPA Presidents Dr. Armand Cerbone and, then, Dr. Marlin Hoover, in the early 2000’s, when Dr. Hoover completed his training to become a prescribing psychologist and both New Mexico (2002) and Louisiana (2004) had passed their RxP legislation. Although there were frustrating legislative committee hearings in those years, I brought my national experience in advocating for RxP and inherited the enthusiasm for Illinois Prescriptive Authority legislation in 2011, when I was first elected IPA President. After an extensive statewide movement that saw 640 Illinois psychologists’ participating in legislative lobbying and the engagement of third party stakeholders, including the Illinois Chiefs’ of Police Association, the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, The President of NAACP Illinois, University professors, and social service agencies. On the issues surrounding improved access to mental health care, both Houses of the Illinois legislature passed our Prescriptive Authority legislation on May 30th, 2014. Governor Pat Quinn quickly signed our legislation into law on June 25th, 2014.
It took 3 years for our legislative Rules to be approved on October 15th, 2017, and, on November 15, 2018, I founded the Illinois Association of Prescribing Psychologists. Our first prescribing psychologist, Dr. Terry Soter, was licensed on July 19, 2019. Immediately following our 2020 APA Annual Convention, two more Illinois psychologists were licensed to prescribe: Dr. Monika Neale and Dr. Brandi Boan. Significantly, both Dr. Neale and Dr. Boan were the first Illinois psychologists to complete all of our prescribing licensure requirements, as clinical psychologists. Dr. Soter, also a clinical psychologist, had completed some of his licensure requirements while he was training for his medical degree (although never sought licensure as a physician). Dr. Neale is both a clinician and an assistant professor of Psychology at National Louis University, with a focus on children, adolescents, and young adults, with outreach to inner-city youth. Dr. Boan grew up on a farm in rural Kendall County in Illinois and provides mental health care to those in areas with poor access to comprehensive care. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Boan has an interest in policy development that furthers broader access to care for clients in the hard-to-reach rural communities of Illinois. Both Dr.s Neale and Boan completed their medical rotations at the outstanding AMITA Health System in northern Illinois. Their clinical supervisor, Dr. Rocco Domanico, a clinical psychologist, himself, wrote of Dr. Neale: “Aside from your clinical savvy and smarts, your perseverance and pioneer spirit got us all to this point. Your contribution to our training program is inestimable.” Of Dr. Boan, Dr. Domanico wrote, “So much of your training was the result of your grit, intelligence, and stamina. Let’s not forget your knack at networking for rotations. The Program is indebted to you for having established some of our most ardent and skilled medical preceptors. Your commitment to the process was nothing short of inspirational.”
It is with great pride that we have arrived at this point. But, this is only the beginning. With our current training of psychology graduate students in Clinical Psychopharmacology, and the ongoing training of older, practicing clinical psychologists, my expectation is that Illinois prescribing psychologists will more than double access to comprehensive mental health care for our Illinois communities. Within 20 years, I predict that we will have more than 1000 prescribing psychologists in Illinois. And, so, our revolution in healthcare is on its way!
Dr. Beth N. Rom-Rymer, PhD, President and CEO