Deputy Director, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Announcement No.: DD06182014-19
Position: Deputy Director, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Grade: E-18
Division/Department: Office of Communications and Public Affairs
FLSA Status: Exempt
Work Site: Arlington, VA
Work Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (not actual work hours)
Area of Consideration: All applicants
Opening Date: June 18, 2014

Closing Date: Open Until Filled


The Deputy Director is responsible for serving as a liaison for APA to media and other external constituencies; supervising communications staff and projects; serving as a communications liaison to APA leadership, designated departments and divisions, government officials and District Branches and State Associations. The position includes evaluating and developing communications strategies and materials, arranging and coordinating media interviews and media events for APA members and staff, editorial writing and information management; and coordinating media events and media training. Also included are video production and editing for videos placed on the website and media training APA and DB/SA spokespersons. Staff and support area meetings when the director is unavailable. Also plans and oversees a busy Press Room, on-site interviews and at least three media briefings at APA’s Annual Meetings.


(External Communications) Serve as a primary liaison for APA to media, communications vendors, liaison groups and other external constituencies.

  • Serve as a liaison to coordinate timely, relevant and effective communications with traditional, new and social media, mental health partners and external stakeholders, physician groups and others key constituencies. 
  • Recommend and implement strategic plans for improving communications with media, bloggers and other external constituents. 
  • Arrange and staff and follow up on interview sessions with APA members and staff with national, broadcast, trade and opinion media.
  • Develop, maintain and document relationships and outcomes with media. In conjunction with Senior Media Relations Specialist, create robust, thorough and up-to-date media lists on APA priority issue areas and geographies. 
  • Provide rapid response and crisis/urgent issue communications support as needed. 
  • In conjunction with OCPA staff, build and maintain a list of APA member experts on key topics. Provide support and talking points to member experts to facilitate message consistency and amplification.
  • Advise Communications director on media calls, plans and outcomes. 
  • Ensure that all media calls are tracked and documented to inform leadership on productivity, quality and performance. Also track media coverage that did not include APA’s perspective, and media coverage that is inaccurate or incomplete for corrections and follow-up. 
  • Serve as secondary liaison to communications vendors, e.g. public affairs consultants and media monitoring/subscription services. 
  • Develop targeted media lists when needed through Cision database.
  • Coordinate news conferences and briefings, including media advisories, scripting for spokespersons and event logistics.

Work with executive staff and APA leadership to develop messages and materials, and coordinate APA messages and responses to media and other public inquiries, including preparing APA spokespersons for interviews. 

  • Write, coordinate, disseminate and track news releases, advisories, fact sheets, articles, commentaries, speeches and web content, consistent with APA positions, medical science, best practices and sound political judgment. 
  • Prepare briefing materials for Board members, general members, APA executive and senior staff, Communications director and District Branch/State Association staff for major interviews and on key initiatives. 
  • Prepare and place in a timely way speeches, talking points, commentaries, opinion editorials, letters to the editor and fact sheets on priority issues for use by APA members and staff. 
  • Develop media kits and other materials for internal and external use to advance APA and to publicize public observances designated for mental health issues. 
  • Analyze the impact of materials and articles on public relations strategies and prepare summaries and reports using Cision database and other reporting tools to convey performance, quality and outcomes.
  • Track developing narratives and trends to ensure the public has an accurate understanding of psychiatry, psychiatric illnesses, treatments and mental health. 
  • Conduct research to ensure relevance, accuracy and usefulness of information and materials. 
  • Contribute story ideas, articles, commentary and other content for APA publications (e.g., Psychiatric News, the Annual Report),, social media and APA audio/visual productions. 
  • Proofread communications materials and reports for accuracy, relevance and use of plain language. 
  • Coordinate APA materials and resources needed for general news conferences, media availabilities, conferences and marketing events. 
  • Coordinate with the American Psychiatric Foundation on public education efforts. 
  • Staff and support local and regional media events and public relations meetings to ensure APA’s interests are properly represented. 
  • Prepare correspondence, agendas and other materials required for special events and annual meetings. 
  • Lead staff and external vendors in production of APA’s annual report in digital format.

(Internal Communications) Serve as a liaison to key internal constituencies including APA leadership, the Council on Communications, District Branches and State Associations and other designated departments and divisions to review, evaluate and support their communications and media relations needs as related to APA initiatives and priorities. Staff and support area meetings when the director is unavailable. 

  • Work collaboratively with department/division liaisons to develop, implement and assess communications strategies. 
  • Provide strategic guidance on internal communications efforts and provide assistance in developing information to support departmental or division communications needs. Contribute as needed to the APA intranet. 
  • Provide media relations guidance to APA components and members.
  • Prepare and package media information for distribution to the DB/SAs. 
  • Ensure that information is conveyed to the DB/SAs in a timely manner.
  • Provide written and verbal guidance to DB/SAs members on effective use of media information for media interviews.

Provide project management and guidance to OCPA staff for major projects and initiatives and provide staff supervision in addition to, or in absence of, the office director. 

  • Review major staff projects and assignments on a weekly basis with the director to define projects and prioritization, tasks, timelines, division of responsibilities and progress. 
  • Provide leadership and guidance to staff on major projects to support their ability to complete projects, efficiently and effectively. 
  • Provide weekly feedback to the director on staff progress on projects. 
  • Supervise staff when the director is off-site or on leave from the office.
  • Ensure that the director is fully informed as soon as possible on all office developments related to staff, when director is absent from the office. 
  • Provide input on staff evaluations. 
  • Other staff supervisory duties as assigned by the director.

Provide technical communications support for OCPA and APA initiatives as defined each year by the directors. 

  • Develop OCPA summary of activities for the Medical Director’s report and other reports as needed that demonstrate the work of the office, the division and the association.
  • Represent OCPA/APA at internal and external events, as requested by the director.
  • Travel on behalf of APA as requested. 
  • Performs other duties as assigned by the Office director.


  • Bachelor of Arts; Public Relations, Mass Communications, Journalism (Master’s Degree in Communications or related field helpful) with 5-10 years of individual or combined experience in public relations and marketing communications, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. 
  • Knowledge of public relations principles.

Office Environment


Interested applicants must submit resume, cover letter with salary requirements.



Via Email:  

Via Mail or Delivery: Office of Human Resources
American Psychiatric Association
1000 Wilson Boulevard
Suite 1825
Arlington, Virginia 22209-9998
ATTN: Deputy Director


Equal Opportunity Employer of Minorities, Females, Protected Veterans, and Individual with Disabilities