The Houston Conference Policy Statement (Bieliauskas, 1998) provided an integrated model for education and training in clinical neuropsychology. The need to revise what became known as the Houston Conference Guidelines (HCG) has been discussed for over a decade, primarily related to the need for more specific competencies in light of developments both within and outside of psychology in how competencies are conceptualized and measured (Rey-Casserly et al., 2012). Over a decade ago, an interorganizational effort to consider revision of the HCG involved a survey of practitioners and a recommendation regarding the need to revise competencies (Sweet, et al., 2012). The survey indicated that HCG had gained broad acceptance and resulted in a higher level of self-reported practice competence than to those lacking such training. In subsequent years, competency development took place within clinical neuropsychology pertaining to practicum-level training (Nelson, et al., 2015), entry-level competencies, and competencies required of postdoctoral programs (Smith and the CNS, 2019). The latter two efforts were based on workgroups formed with the Clinical Neuropsychology Specialty Council (CNS) and approved by CNS-member organizations. Although these efforts represented progress in building upon HCG, they were not integrated into a larger policy statement or drafted by a wider representation of practitioners, pointing to the need for a revised policy statement that included integrated competencies.
In addition to the need to more clearly define competencies, there has been growing recognition of cognitive testing as culturally influenced (Ardila, 2005) and, more recently, growing interest and activity related to addressing diversity and cultural/linguistic factors within clinical neuropsychology. For example, in 2015, the Hispanic Neuropsychological Society (HNS) hosted a one-day independent CE conference in Austin TX, “From Houston to Austin: Suggested Enhancements to the Houston Conference Guidelines” that drew over 60 attendees, including leaders from several neuropsychology organizations. The aims of the conference were to address a) practices in cultural neuropsychology, b) gaps in the Houston Conference Guidelines as they relate to diversity and culture, c) NIH mandates to deliver culturally competent and equitable care, and d) cultural neuroscience. In 2017, the HNS hosted the “Cultural Neuropsychology 360 Conference,” including presentations on methods for culturally responsive research, culture as a key competency in neuropsychology training, and culturally responsive neuropsychology practice across the lifespan. Recognition of the importance of culture and diversity in neuropsychology has also led to the formation of identity-based neuropsychology organizations, including the HNS, Asian Neuropsychological Association, Society for Black Neuropsychology, and the Queer Neuropsychological Society. The Cultural Neuropsychology Council (CNC) was also formed, with representation from the above organizations and from Ethnic and Minority Affairs and Women in Neuropsychology, committees within the Society for Clinical Neuropsychology (SCN; APA Division 40).
Amid growing recognition that our current assessment strategies are largely mono-lingual and mono-cultural, in 2015 the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN) initiated the Relevance 2050 Initiative, so named because it 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” (Postal, 2018, p. 1). The initiative also included an invitation to organizations and individuals outside of AACN to form partnerships to address these issues. In 2020, the Houston Conference Call to Action Subcommittee, co-chaired by Karen Postal and Tony Stringer, was formed as part of the Relevance 2050 Initiative, with a goal of increasing awareness of the need to revise training guidelines in clinical neuropsychology. In the months before the formation of the Planning Commission, Dr. Postal and Dr. Stringer did a series of presentations to the leadership within multiple neuropsychology organizations to discuss the need to revise training guidelines. The call was not for AACN to lead the effort, but rather for an interorganizational commission to plan the revision of Houston Conference Guidelines due to new developments in the field. Furthermore, the assumption was that the commission would not start from scratch, but would use HCG as a foundation to update them, with the following neuropsychology organizations involved providing members to what became known as the Houston Conference Guidelines Revision Planning Commission. In addition to addressing competencies and diversity, technology was also identified as an important area in which to advance neuropsychology education and training. A document detailing the proposal was broadly disseminated in 2020 and 2021, before the creation of the Planning Commission, and is embedded below:
As part of an effort to broadly include neuropsychology organization, the PC was composed of two representatives from each of the following organizations. Planning Commission members, bios, and organizational affiliations are listed on the conference website.
- American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology
- American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology
- American Board of Professional Neuropsychology
- APA Division 40/Society for Clinical Neuropsychology
- Asian Neuropsychological Association
- Association for Internship Training in Clinical Neuropsychology
- Association of Neuropsychology Students and Trainees
- Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology
- Canadian Psychological Association, Clinical Neuropsychology Section
- Clinical Neuropsychology Specialty Council
- Ethnic and Minority Affairs (SCN)
- Hispanic Neuropsychological Society
- International Neuropsychological Society (Observers)
- Society for Black Neuropsychology
- National Academy of Neuropsychology
- Queer Neuropsychological Society
- Women in Neuropsychology (SCN)