APA announces international award winners

APA honors Fanny Cheung, PhD, and Dan Landis, PhD, co-recipients of the 2012 APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology, and John Thoburn, PhD, recipient of the 2012 APA International Humanitarian Award

APA‘s 2012 Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology has been awarded to two outstanding psychologists in recognition of their unique pioneering contributions to international cross-cultural and intercultural research: Fanny Cheung, PhD, and Dan Landis, PhD.

Fanny Cheung, PhDFanny Cheung, PhD, Chinese University of Hong Kong, is one of China‘s leading research psychologists, and at the forefront of advancing international cross-cultural research. Her work on personality assessment, psychopathology, and gender issues in Chinese societies, have made significant contributions to international and cross-cultural psychology. When psychology was resumed in Mainland China is the early 1980s, Cheung assisted in the standardization and validation research of the Chinese version of the MMPI and later the MMPI-2. She identified issues that are important to test translation and adaptation in cross-cultural test adaptation.

Based on the experience gained from cross-cultural assessment research, Cheung developed her own indigenous measure of Chinese personality, the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI), the first comprehensive measure of its kind in Asia. CPAI-2 has been translated into Dutch, English, Korean, Japanese, Romanian and Vietnamese, and the cross-cultural relevance of its structure is being examined. Her leadership in international psychology is illustrated by her many conference presentations and research publications, including a recent co-authored article in the American Psychologist, "Toward a New Approach to the Study of Personality in Culture."

Cheung is also regarded as a pioneer in gender research in Chinese societies. She founded the first gender research center at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and facilitated the development of the gender studies curriculum. She encouraged and supported the development of gender studies in Mainland China through conferences and a "train the trainers" model. For the last 30 years, Dr. Cheung has been active in promoting rights of and services for women and the disabled in Hong Kong.

Dr. Cheung has served in various leadership positions in international psychology such as president of the Division of Clinical and Community Psychology within the International Association of Applied Psychology (1990-94). Currently, she is serving on the IAAP‘s Board of Directors as well as on the Council of the International Test Commission. She has been a member of APA since 1976, is a fellow of Divisions 35 and 52, and received an APA Presidential Citation in 2004. Fanny Cheung is a leading figure in the field of international psychology in Asia and the United States.

Dan Landis, PhDDan Landis, PhD, University of Hawaii, was considered an expert in cross-cultural training and a pioneer in intercultural relations, long before it became a major interest of psychology. Landis has shaped the field of intercultural research through scholarship of the highest standard. His publications are in the area of cross-cultural training and research, measurement of equal opportunity climate, individual differences research and methodology, evaluation of social programs, development of theory in social psychology and cross-cultural aspects of human sexuality.

Landis‘ three-volume "Handbook of Intercultural Training" was first published in 1983 and is now in its third edition. He founded the International Journal of Intercultural Relations (IJIR), and has been its editor-in-chief since 1975. With the journal he has helped create the interdisciplinary field of intercultural research, which includes researchers from the disciplines of psychology, communication, education, business, counseling, social work, sociology and political science. Over the last 35 years the journal has grown into one of the most influential outlets for international theory and research on culture and psychology and boasts a prestigious editorial board of scholars from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Japan and Israel.

Allied to IJIR is the International Academy of Intercultural Research (IAIR). Landis was a charter fellow and the founding president (1997-2005) of the Academy. Under his leadership, IAIR grew from a largely US-based organization to a professional academy of over 200 researchers from more than 20 countries. Past biennial conferences have been held in the United States, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Singapore. In recognition of his contributions to the discipline and organization, the International Academy of Intercultural Research presented Dr. Landis with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Landis is the Founding Fellow and President of IAIR, he is a fellow of the APA, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the East West Center, and a charter fellow of American Psychological Society.

Landis has influenced intercultural research by training researchers who have made distinguished scholarly contributions to the field. He has directed and served on countless dissertations and master theses, and his students, many of them international students, have gone on to academic and other research institutions. In addition, Landis has served as an external examiner for many students at universities outside of the United States. Despite formally retiring from the University of Mississippi, Dr. Landis continues to be a strong advocate of international relations in psychology and actively supports international collaboration.

John Thoburn, PhD, ABPPAPA has awarded the 2012 International Humanitarian Award to John Thoburn, PhD, ABPP, for his extraordinary humanitarian service and promotion of mental wellbeing among underserved populations around the world. Currently an associate professor of clinical psychology at Seattle Pacific University, Thoburn was first introduced to the field of international and disaster psychology as a graduate student in the late 1980s when he was among a group invited to Uganda shortly after the end of its 12-year civil war. Thoburn, his mentor, and a classmate taught traumatology skills to a group of priests, who then took the skills to their respective villages. This was his introduction to the idea of training local volunteers in mental health support. Since that time, he has focused on developing structures and culturally relevant curricula for training indigenous volunteers in psychological first aid.

For nearly 25 years, often at his own personal risk and expense, he has promoted the psychological welfare of individuals and groups in Uganda, Bosnia, Sri Lanka, China and Haiti, as well as in the United States after Hurricane Katrina. He has been highly flexible and adaptive in his approach to training service providers and trainers, and rather than merely providing direct materials, he has created an extensive cadre of individuals around the world who possess disaster relief skills and who in turn, provide services and train others.

Dr. Thoburn has brought his psychological expertise in systems theory and trauma to some of the worst manmade and natural disaster-affected areas of the world, and has personally endured direct threats to his personal safety and wellbeing through extremes of climate, hostile threats, rampant disease, and difficult living conditions. He has nevertheless succeeded in sensitively navigating the various cultural aspects of the many groups and areas where he has worked, and shown a high degree of competence while generating the respect of those with many different languages and traditions.

Thoburn‘s most recent work has been in Haiti where he and his students and colleagues developed a mental health support team curriculum to train indigenous and expatriate volunteers in mental health support and triage. They trained around 250 people in basic, advanced, and trained trainer trainings. The first trainings were with Love for Haiti, a group of medical providers including doctors, nurses, dentists and psychologists. Indigenous volunteers were trained in mental health support to provide for friends and family, as were a dozen trained trainers.

Dr. Thoburn is a member of APA‘s ad hoc advisory group for APA‘s response to international disasters, chaired by Dr. Gerard Jacobs. He is a Fellow and past president of Division 43—The Society for Family Psychology, and a representative on the ABPP Board of Trustees.