2008 Education Advocacy Distinguished Service Awards Announced - September 2008

One of the highlights of the September 2008 Education Leadership Conference was the announcement of the recipients of the Education Advocacy Distinguished Service Awards. Gilbert Newman, PhD, Chair of the Board of Educational Affairs and James Bray, PhD, APA President-Elect presented the awards, which are given out in three categories. Mr. Josh Jacobs (Legislative Assistant to Senator Patty Murray) was honored as a Friend of Psychology (non-psychologist category) and Michael Roberts, PhD was honored in the category for Members of the Education Advocacy Grassroots Network (individuals whose efforts to promote grassroots activities far exceed what would be expected). Joanne Callan, PhD (Alliant International University-San Diego) received the 2008 APA Members At-Large Award (members whose work and activities have influenced or gained the support from a Member of Congress).

The 2008 Friends of Psychology Award was presented to Mr. Josh Jacobs, Legislative Assistant to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). In making the award Dr. Newman pointed out that this particular award is one of the few that recognizes the critical role of the Congressional staff member, who is often the unsung hero in legislative efforts, the person who is usually behind the scenes working long hours, formulating strategy, holding meetings, negotiating, providing advice and preparing legislation. Newman went on to say that "this year's honoree certainly exemplifies that tradition, serving as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Patty Murray—both strong advocates for psychological care for our nation's veterans." Senator Murray is the first woman to serve on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, where she has worked to improve health care access for veterans and has been particularly focused on mental health care needs of veterans returning from the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Newman went on to explain that Jacobs serves as the Senator's primary advisor on veterans and foreign policy issues. He also works closely with the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and the Appropriations Committee staff as he manages Senator Murray's priorities. Newman noted that, in fact, Jacobs and the APA Education Government Relations Office staff have worked together on a number of legislative efforts related to improving Veterans mental health services.

Dr. Michael Roberts, PhD from the University of Kansas was then asked to come forward to accept the 2008 Education Advocacy Grassroots Distinguished Service Award. In presenting the award Newman noted that Dr. Roberts has been a long-standing and dedicated supporter of education advocacy from its inception in the early 1990's to the present. He is a founding member of the Federal Education Advocacy Coordinators (FEDAC) grassroots network and currently serves as a FEDAC Campus/Training Representative at KU. Newman explained that for more than 15 years Dr. Roberts has been actively involved in helping to grow the education advocacy grassroots network, which is critical to the success of our legislative efforts. Newman went on to say Roberts has never hesitated once to respond to requests for help, whether it was identifying constituents in key districts, or agreeing to come to Washington himself to meet with key Members and staff. In brief, "Dr. Michael Roberts is the consummate grassroots advocate: a grassroots leader and role model for colleagues and graduate students alike. He has generously given of his time and gone the extra-mile to encourage his psychology colleagues and students to support education advocacy and engage in grassroots activities."

Finally, in the category of APA Member At-Large, Dr. Newman expressed his great pleasure in announcing that Dr. Joanne Callan of Alliant International University-San Diego is the recipient of the 2008 Education Advocacy Distinguished Serviced Award.  In addressing the ELC participants he explained that Dr. Callan was named the first Executive Director for the APA Education Directorate in 1991 and served in that capacity for four years. During her tenure Newman noted that Dr. Callan had the vision and leadership to establish the Education Public Policy Office (now the Education Government Relations Office), thereby making federal support for education and training, as well as psychology's role in education, a major priority for the association. She also initiated the annual Education Advocacy Breakfast meeting, which has become an invaluable venue for updating members about education advocacy legislative initiatives and getting input from members in the field. Callan also created an Education Advocacy Coordinating Team and started the education grassroots network, which later became the Federal Education Advocacy Coordinators (FEDAC) grassroots network. Working closely with Dr. Nina Levitt, Dr. Callan pushed for federal recognition and support for psychology education and training through a number of major legislative initiatives, including: Health Care Reform, Title VII Reauthorization, the Minority Fellowship Program, and educational research. In the words of the BEA Chair, "Dr. Callan has truly made a difference for psychology." In fact, Newman noted "Dr. Callan could be considered the ‘mother' of APA education advocacy."