Recent grants

Recent grants focus on serious mental illness, mental health services for underserved youth and gifted children
2012 Alexander Gralnick Investigator Prize Winner: James M. Gold, PhD

“The puzzles of severe mental illness are unlikely to be answered by my generation of researchers and I hope that my most important contribution to the field is to the development of future researchers who will carry on this work until it is done,” says James M. Gold, PhD, a professor at the University of Maryland, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, and the recipient of the 2012 Alexander Gralnick Investigator Prize. The $20,000 Gralnick Prize recognizes exceptional research and mentoring accomplishments in the area of serious mental illness. Dr. Gold has spent his career studying schizophrenia, an illness that remains both disabling and largely mysterious. With the support from the APF, Gold will continue to carry on basic and applied research relevant to the understanding, measurement, and treatment of cognitive and affective dysfunction in schizophrenia and to invest in the next generation of researchers on this important topic.

APF Pearson grantee seeks to improve mental health services for underserved youth

Many of us remember visiting the school nurse when we felt ill. However, where can a child turn to if he or she is suffering from depression or anxiety? Many schools in underserved areas do not offer mental health services for students. Aaron R. Lyon, PhD, a senior fellow at the University of Washington School of Medicine, is hoping to change that. Dr. Lyon is the recipient of the 2012 Pearson Early Career Grant, which encourages early career clinicians to work in an area of critical societal need. Dr. Lyon is working on a program designed to improve school-based mental health services for traditionally underserved youth. The $12,000 grant, made possible by a generous donation from Pearson, will allow Dr. Lyon to significantly improve the accessibility and quality of services delivered to children and adolescents in schools in the hopes of reducing the barriers to learning posed by emotional and behavioral problems.

Esther Katz Rosen Fund: Ensuring the future of gifted children

The future of our society depends on our most gifted students. How can we encourage these students to use their full potential? Dr. Esther Katz Rosen, a psychologist and gifted child herself, made a bequest to APF in 1974 to address this issue. Because of her vision and generosity, the foundation is able to support investigators who work on understanding and fostering giftedness to this day.

In 2012, APF gave a $25,000 Esther Katz Rosen Graduate Student Fellowship and a new $50,000 Esther Katz Rosen Early Career Grant.

  • Why do some gifted children underachieve? Carlton Fong, a doctoral candidate in educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, is trying to improve achievement and resilience in adolescents in order to help underachieving gifted and talented youth perform to the best of their ability. With his Rosen Fellowship support, Fong will combine the existing literature on the effectiveness of motivation and self-regulation interventions to reverse underachievement in gifted students. Fong is hoping to find ways to help these students succeed and realize their full potential.

  • Aha! Insight is an important part of the problem solving process, and gifted children seem to experience insight, or “aha moments,” more often that nongifted children. Matthew McBee, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at East Tennessee State University, is trying to figure out why. Armed with the new $50,000 Rosen Early Career Grant, he is working on understanding whether the adoption of attentional and emotional strategies during problem solving increases the likelihood of aha moments, or insight. Dr. McBee hopes to explore whether gifted students adopt these strategies more frequently than others, and if this helps explain the relationship between insight and the ability to solve problems logically in novel situations.

2012 Joseph Gittler awardee: Barbara Held, PhD

Barbara S. Held, PhD, is the Barry N. Wish Professor of Psychology and Social Studies at Bowdoin College, and is the recipient of the 2012 $10,000 Joseph Gittler Award. Her work critiques theories and philosophies in psychology and advances a realist perspective of human mental states. In her book “Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching” (2001) and other publications, including her co-edited book “Humanity’s Dark Side: Evil, Destructive Experience, and Psychotherapy” (2012), she challenges many tenets of the positive psychology movement.