professionalism standard specifically addresses diversity concerns, noting that professionalism is “manifested through a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to a diverse patient population” (ACGME, 2003).
The Committee on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA) accredits doctoral-level education and training in professional psychology (i.e., clinical, counseling, and school psychology), including internship programs and postdoctoral residency programs. APA accredits more than 300 doctoral programs in over 190 institutions of higher education, as well as more than 400 internship and postdoctoral residency programs.
More so than the other health professions noted above, APA’s accreditation standards reflect considerable attention to the role of diversity in psychology education and program quality. According to Susan Zlotlow, director of the APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, the APA Committee on Accreditation debated whether to address student and faculty diversity standards as a single, separate domain or to infuse diversity issues throughout the guidelines. The committee elected to adopt both approaches—diversity is addressed across several domains, as well as in a separate domain focused on cultural and individual differences and diversity (Zlotlow, 2003). “Cultural and individual diversity” in APA’s standards refers to diversity with regard to individual personal and demographic characteristics. These include, but are not limited to “age, color, disabilities, ethnicity, gender, language, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status” (APA Committee on Accreditation, 2003, p. 5).
APA’s standards begin with explicit guidelines for the composition of the Committee on Accreditation. While graduate educators hold the largest share of seats on the committee, seats are reserved for “representation of the general public’s interest by persons outside the profession who have an informed, broad-gauged community perspective about matters of higher education” (APA Committee on Accreditation, 2002, p. v). In addition, appointments to the committee “shall reflect the individual and cultural diversity within our society among psychologists, and the breadth of psychology as a discipline” (APA Committee on Accreditation, 2002, p. v).
APA has established eight domains of accreditation standards: Eligibility (the educational program’s purpose must be consistent with the scope of the accreditation body and the goal of training students in professional psychology); program philosophy, objectives, and curriculum plan (the program must have a clearly specific philosophy of education and training