It seems even the National Science Foundation (NSF) has been bitten by the "Survivor" bug. Thomas Boone, PhD, has received a $70,000 grant from NSF to examine the social dynamics of a group that must choose between personal gain and what's best for the group. Instead of competing for $1 million on a deserted island, like the TV show, Boone selected more than 600 people--divided into groups of 12--to compete in a card game of "Trump" to win $40 prizes. Boone has used elements of the TV show to demonstrate social psychology phenomenon, such as attitude formation, group cohesion, social perception and prejudice/discrimination.
Ultimately, he wants to study the situational and individual factors that predict cooperation within groups.
As the new president of the American Psychological Foundation (APF), Dorothy W. Cantor, PsyD, is seeking to raise $3.5 million over the next five years for APF's general fund. The general fund would not be earmarked for special purposes--such as the Roy Scrivner Small Grants for gay, lesbian and bisexual studies--but left to the discretion of the Board of Trustees to assign funding to worthy projects.
"We're hoping that people will trust APF to use the monies of the general fund appropriately," she says, "to allow the foundation to develop sufficient funds in key areas that support the kinds of efforts we think matter."
APF plans to raise the monies through the Millennium Campaign, which Cantor hopes will increase the psychological community's awareness of the foundation as a source of funding and as a very worthwhile place to receive donations.
Cantor, a private practitioner in Westfield, N.J., served as APA president in 1997. She has also served as president of the New Jersey Psychological Association in 1986.
Psychologists Thomas J. Coates, PhD, and Larry Squire, PhD, were among the 60 new members elected to the Institute of Medicine. The institute chooses candidates from social and behavioral sciences, law, economics and administration who have made significant contributions to health policy.
Coates is director and principal investigator of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies and professor of medicine and director of the Behavioral Medicine Unit in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. His research interests include studying high-risk sexual behaviors in ethnic minorities, teens, gay men and heterosexual adults.
Squire, a psychiatry professor at the University of California, San Diego, and research career scientist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Diego, studies the organization of memory and its neurological foundations, neurological disorders of human memory and the anatomy of memory in monkeys.
Psychologist Jenny Saffran, PhD, was among the honored guests at a White House ceremony where 59 young researchers accepted the fifth annual Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
"I am honored by the federal government's recognition of my research, and proud to represent the behavioral sciences among the PECASE winners," says Saffran.
To select the winners, representatives from eight federal agencies--including NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Health and Human Services--chose the best candidates who will further science and technology. Saffran received the award for "outstanding contributions to the understanding of cognitive processes involved in language acquisition, and for creative ideas for integrating teaching and research in undergraduate education."
In addition, Saffran will receive a five-year, $500,000 grant.
"The award was a surprise," she says. "I didn't know I had even been nominated until I received a letter from the FBI requesting permission to do a name check!"
Saffran plans to use the money to further the development of her research program and support her students.
Richard Shulman, PhD, has accepted the Connecticut Psychological Association's Award for Distinguished Psychological Contribution in the Public Interest on behalf of Volunteers in Psychotherapy (VIP), Inc. VIP is a nonprofit organization that allows clients to pay for therapy by volunteering at local charities for reduced-fee or no-fee sessions.
The Group Therapy Foundation has established a student scholarship in the name of Saul Scheidlinger, PhD, in recognition of his more than 60 years of dedication and leadership in the field of group treatment. Scheidlinger is currently emeritus professor of psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and adjunct professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry at the Cornell University School of Medicine in New York.
Ain't no mountain high enough
If you told psychologist Chris Stout, PsyD, to go climb a mountain, he'd gladly take you up on the offer. Not only is mountain climbing a favorite pastime, but he's also found it as a way to raise money for charity. Stout recently scaled Mount Elbrus in Russia--18,510 feet high--on a nine-day expedition with winds gusting upwards of 70 mph to raise money for the Flying Doctors of America, a cadre of health professionals who volunteer all over the world to provide medical care for the poorest underserved people. Stout raised more than $1,000 for the Flying Doctors. He got involved with Flying Doctors of America for the first time in 1997 on a medical mission to Vietnam. Health professionals do not have to join the organization to go on missions.
Stout has always enjoyed working for local community services and raising money for charities; however, some good deeds are hard to reward. During an earlier expedition of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, a guide told Stout of the problems some children face. Before working with the Flying Doctors of America, Stout and his wife asked people to donate toys and educational and hygiene products for AIDS-orphaned children in Tanzania for Christmas. People donated enough gifts to fill nine boxes, but the problem did not crop up until the Stouts tried to mail the boxes to Tanzania.
"It cost about $300 to send those boxes," he says. "We had to deal with customs because we were sending stuff overseas. By the time we cut through all the bureaucracy and red tape, the kids didn't get their gifts until three months after Christmas."
Frustrated, Stout knew there had to be a better way.
"Since I like to volunteer and to climb, why not combine the two?"
Eventually, he came up with the idea of "Summits for Others," where each year he would climb one of the Seven Summits to raise money for a different organization. In 1999, he climbed Mount Kasiasco in Australia for WarChild, a United Kingdom nonprofit organization that aids children orphaned by war. Just before the last 1,000 meters on this year's climb up Mount Elbrus, one of his team members came down with Acute Mountain Sickness--nausea, vomiting, impaired consciousness, disorientation and the inability to coordinate voluntary muscular movement. The climbing mate eventually recovered, and they all reached the top of the summit.
For more information on the Flying Doctors of America, visit www.fdoamerica.org/pages/support.html.
Letters to the Editor
- Send us a letter