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History and Mission


PAWNY is the volunteer association of psychologists in the Buffalo and Western New York area.  PAWNY is the only organization here that brings together psychologists from all aspects of our discipline:  psychologists who do research, psychologists who provide intervention and treatment, and those attending universities to learn to do these things; psychologists in independent practice and psychologists who are employed by healthcare organizations and by businesses.  PAWNY has something to offer each of these groups.  PAWNY also offers information about psychology and psychologists to the general public in our service area.

PAWNY supports and nurtures the professional development of psychologists in practice and of students in local universities aspiring to a psychological career through: training programs; opportunities for networking and professional exchange--social events and internet communication; and presentation of awards that recognize work consistent with our goals done by members and by students.
PAWNY also serves as a focal point for psychologists to learn about and to address emerging issues of professional concern and controversy.  Some examples of this are: healthcare legislation on the state and federal levels; changing patterns of psychological practice, especially in response to the health insurance industry; new professional settings, such as primary medicine.
PAWNY also ensures timely communication from the local level to and from our national and state professional organizations.

PAWNY makes accessible to the general public information about psychology as a discipline through a speakers’ bureau.  On this website is a description of what is available to organizations seeking speakers for their programs and how to contact potential speakers.

Also on this website is a searchable database of psychologists in practice.  This is a tool to determine the office locations and particular expertise of licensed psychologists in Western New York.

The history of PAWNY mirrors and parallel the history of the profession of psychology.  Although there were many “psychologists” throughout history, psychology as a profession and as a formal subject of study and research came into focus relatively recently, during and immediately after World War II, part of the social upheaval of the mid-twentieth century.

To address the mental health needs of returning veterans, the major institution providing initial support to the discipline of psychology was the Veterans’ Administration.  Nationally it was primarily the VA that provided practical training and employment for psychologists during the first post-war decade. The Buffalo VA hospital opened in 1950, and so there was an immediate presence of professional psychologists in the community.

Those psychologists and others founded PAWNY in the early fifties and our mission and activities have not substantially changed since then. Those ‘first generation’ founding members have retired, but many of the ‘second generation’ members are still active.  The organization comes together at a yearly dinner and annual meeting, and at various training programs throughout the year.

The organization’s executive board meets monthly.  Meetings are open to all members.  A major project of the board in the past two years has been change in the organization’s legal structure.  That original group was a kind of ‘psychology club’.  Now we are a not-for-profit organization, a 501 3C, primarily because of changes in the tax code.

The second major current board project is the development of this website, a significant change for PAWNY.  Much of the education and information sharing for members and for the general public will now occur online, rather than by mail or face-to-face meetings.

Thank you for your interest in PAWNY.