The Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation announced in March that it will support three more years of the American Psychological Foundation (APF)/Asian American Psychological Association/Okura Mental Health Leadership Fellowships. Thanks to the generosity of the Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation, APF will be able to continue these grants through 2015.
The grants exemplify the Okura Foundation's mission of developing psychologists' career potential to improve Asian-American and Pacific Islander health and mental health, says Ford Kuramoto, DSW, the Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation's president.
The Okura Foundation had provided grants for the last three years, from 2009–12. "We were very impressed by the quality of projects and the backgrounds of the young psychologists who were selected," says Kuramoto. "We think we got a lot of bang for our buck."
The grants also capture a central vision of the foundation's founder, the late psychologist K. Patrick Okura, PhD, to develop leadership potential in Asian-American and Pacific Islander mental health professionals, Kuramoto says.
As in previous years, each recipient will receive $20,000, says APF Executive Director Elisabeth R. Straus.
Two changes will help strengthen the new grants' impact, she says. For one, they will now go exclusively to early career psychologists, those seven years or less postdoctorate. "This is a group that truly needs funding," says Straus. In addition, psychologists can now submit under any category — research, practice or training — during any of the three years of funding. Unlike the first round, where a proposal was chosen each year under only one of those categories, "each year we'll pick the strongest proposal, regardless of category," Straus says.