Catherine Acuff Congressional Fellowship

The purpose of this fellowship is to provide mid-career psychologists with an invaluable public policy learning experience, to contribute to the more effective use of psychological knowledge in government, and to broaden awareness about the value of psychology-government interaction among psychologists and within the federal government.

Sponsor: Government Relations


This fellowship was established by APA in 2000 to honor the memory of Catherine Acuff, PhD, and her many valued contributions to the field of psychology and to those it serves. Applicants for this fellowship must have five or more years of professional experience post-doctorate. The mid-career/senior focus of this program reflects Dr. Acuff’s transition to the public policy arena after many successful years in private practice and academia. Fellows spend one year working on the staff of a member of Congress or congressional committee. Activities may involve drafting legislation, conducting oversight work, assisting with congressional hearings and events, and preparing briefs and speeches. Fellows also attend a two-week orientation program on congressional and executive branch operations, which provides guidance for the congressional placement process, and participate in a yearlong seminar series on science and public policy issues. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) administers these professional development activities for the APA fellows and for fellows sponsored by over two dozen other professional societies.

APA will sponsor up to one Catherine Acuff Congressional Fellow for a one-year appointment beginning Sept. 1, 2014. The fellowship stipend ranges from $75,000 to $90,000, depending upon years of post-doctoral experience. In addition, APA provides reimbursement for health insurance coverage and a $3,750 stipend for professional development and relocation expenses during the fellowship year. Final selection of fellows will be made in early spring of 2014.

Catherine Acuff, PhD, a dedicated psychologist, advocate and humanitarian, was a member of the APA Board of Directors when she died on Apr. 21, 2000, at age 51. The mid-career nature of this fellowship reflects Dr. Acuff's transition to the public policy arena, including advocacy for lesbian, gay, and bisexual and HIV/AIDS issues, following her successful career in private practice, on the faculty of local colleges and hospital-based clinical training programs, and as president of the Connecticut Psychological Association. At the time of her death, Dr. Acuff was the Director of the HIV/AIDS Treatment Adherence, Health Outcomes, and Associated Costs Program for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

How to Apply