American Psychological Foundation

In wanting to give back to the profession that has benefited each of them, the husband-and-wife team of Rodney L. Lowman, PhD, and Linda M. Richardson, PhD, chose to establish a legacy gift through the American Psychological Foundation’s Legacy Program. The gift will be mostly funded from their estate and will establish two grants: the Richardson-Lowman Serious Mental Illness Early Career Grant to support early career psychologists who choose to work with people with serious mental illness — Richardson’s passion — and the Lowman-Richardson Consulting Psychology Research Grant to support early career psychologists who work in the area of consulting psychology, Lowman’s passion.

APF will offer the grants in alternating years once Lowman and Richardson reach their donation through gifts or a bequest through their estate.

Lowman, who earned his doctorate in psychology with specializations in industrial-organizational and clinical psychology from Michigan State University, has spent his career in both the academic and practice worlds. His professional career has had three major themes: professor, administrator and consultant. His passion for training psychologists in organizational consulting is reflected in his leadership of the Div. 13 (Society of Consulting Psychology) training guidelines for consulting psychology, and his helping to launch the first PhD program in consulting psychology at Alliant International University in San Diego, where he is Distinguished Professor.

"Increasingly psychologists are going to be doing consulting as an important area of their practice," he says. "It’s essential that we train future generations of psychologists how to do this work right and to do the needed outcome research."

Richardson’s desired legacy with the gift is to encourage early career psychologists to work with people with serious mental illness. One in 17 Americans has a serious mental illness, yet people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression are still underserved by psychologists, says Richardson.

Too few psychologists pursue work in serious mental illness, she says, in part because today’s early career psychologists often seek higher-paying jobs to pay off their education loans. Yet some of the most exciting mental health work is now happening in the serious mental illness arena, stresses Richardson, who heads the North Inland Mental Health Center clinic of Mental Health Systems Inc. in San Diego County. New psychotropic medications are improving people’s ability to function independently and clients are increasingly participating as partners in their care, rather than having treatment dictated by staff, she says.

Psychologists who work in this area also increasingly collaborate with primary-care providers in an effort to integrate services, she says. "This is an area that offers some of the greatest challenges, but also the greatest rewards," says Richardson.

Richardson earned her master’s in psychiatric nursing at Yale University School of Nursing before she earned her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Houston. She has worked with people who have serious mental illness her entire career, particularly in prisons and jails and in outpatient programs in such cities as Houston, Los Angeles and Raleigh, N.C. In addition to attracting new talent to the area, she’d like to see the grant promote research on the best ways to assist people who are leaving the correctional system to connect with state-supported health and mental health services in their communities.

"In California, as in many states, a number of people with serious mental illnesses are coming out of prison and are not being adequately linked to mental health services," says Richardson. "That often means they do not receive any care at all."

Interested in making a gift through APF’s Legacy Program? Contact APF by e-mail or (202) 336-5843.