After completing his education Dr. Welch joined the UNC medical school faculty and practiced clinical psychology for ten years . In 1986 Dr. Welch moved to Washington, DC to build the American Psychological Association's Practice Directorate.. He was the first Executive Director for Professional Practice of the American Psychological Association and had overall responsibility for all APA programs relating to the practice of psychology including government relations, legal and regulatory affairs, marketing, state psychological associations, and public relations.
During his tenure, Dr. Welch guided the APA through one of psychology's most successful advocacy eras. He filed a successful class action anti-trust suit against the medically dominated American Psychoanalytic Association opening the field of psychoanalyis to non-MD mental health professionals and helping to revitalize American psychoanalytic thought. (Dr. Welch is himself a research associate graduate of the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.) He successfully secured passage of legislation to make psychological services available to seniors and to persons with disabilities through the Medicare program, and he expanded access to psychological services into a number of new venues. He was also one of the first and most outspoken healthcare professionals to warn of the impending new problems created by HMO's and corporate managed health care.
Upon leaving the APA, Dr. Welch represented the American Psychological Association in the ill-fated Clinton Health Plan, and established a boutique law firm specializing in litigation against managed health care companies on behalf of suicide victims and their families.
For over twenty years Dr. Welch has written regular monthly columns on psychology and political issues for the mental health trade press including the Psychiatric TImes and the American Psychological Association Monitor. He has appeared on all major media networks and been quoted in over two hundred newspapers across the country. He is board certified in clinical psychology, a Distinguished Practitioner Member of the National Academy of Practice and in 2005 was awarded the American Psychological Association Presidential Citation for "seminal contributions to professional psychology." He has held academic appointments at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, George Washington University, and the University of South Carolina-Beaufort.
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