Funding Solutions to Social Problems
This year, through the Visionary Grants program, APF donors invested $80,000 in psychologists who are solving some of today’s most urgent dilemmas.
One bully on the playground can perpetrate harm that can haunt the victims well into adulthood. E. Scott Geller, PhD, of Virginia Tech University, will use his $19,800 Visionary Funds Grant to implement the Actively Caring for People antibullying program in three middle schools in Montgomery County, Va. He will also teach evidence-based principles to 30 undergraduate psychology students at Virginia Tech, so that they may continue the antibullying program and reach out to more children in additional school districts.
How do people who perpetrate mass violence justify their actions or even deny them? Rezarta Bilali, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts-Boston, seeks to understand this phenomenon with her $5,000 Drs. Rosalee G. and Raymond A. Weiss Research and Program Innovation Grant and her $19,000 Visionary Grant. She plans to develop and test strategies to understand the underpinnings of mass violence and to foster conditions that lead to people acknowledging the harm they inflict and the need to offer restitution.
Some victims of traumatic events suffer physical and emotional consequences long after the trauma occurs. Others are less vulnerable. Some are resilient. Tamara L. Newton, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Louisville, received $19,550 to develop a new approach to understanding the different reactions to traumatic stress in order to help with recovery.
Stigma of Mental Illness
The United States military is flooded with personnel who suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or other forms of mental illness. Many service members either commit suicide or attempt it. Yet few of those who suffer seek help because of the real or perceived stigma in obtaining mental health services. David Vogel, PhD, of Iowa State University, wants to help solve this problem with his $19,000 Visionary Funds Grant to develop Internet-based interventions to increase the likelihood that those who suffer from mental health issues will seek help and have an opportunity to decrease their pain.
APF's 2012 Visionary Grants are made possible through donations from those who are committed to supporting innovative research and programs that address societal problems. Drs. Raymond A. and Rosalee G. Weiss likewise established their Research and Program Innovation Fund to address urgent societal concerns such as:
Understanding and fostering the connection between behavior and health.
Reducing stigma and prejudice.
Understanding and preventing violence.
Addressing the long-term psychological needs in the aftermath of disaster.
The foundation is indebted to all the donors who have committed their visionary gifts to making a difference in the world through psychology.