In Brief

Five psychologists employed by federal agencies have received Meritorious Research Service Commendations from APA's Board of Scientific Affairs.

APA Past-president Robert J. Sternberg, PhD, who presented the awards at the December APA Council of Representatives meeting, praised the winners for branching out from their academic research programs to nurture psychological science at the federal level.

"Sometimes their biggest challenge is to navigate the federal bureaucracy to gain additional funding for research or staff to manage it," said Sternberg. "Other times the big challenge is to build a discipline by nurturing young investigators, or building partnerships between competing factions."

The 2003 honorees are:

  • Steven J. Breckler, PhD. As program director for social psychology at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Breckler helps develop several NSF-wide funding initiatives, including Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence, the Interagency Education Research Initiative and the Children's Research Initiative. He's also developing a new program to fund the Centers for the Science of Learning, a budgetary priority for NSF. And through his leadership on the Small Grants for Exploratory Research program, NSF can quickly fund research projects, as it did to study the psychological aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.

  • Edgar M. Johnson, PhD. Johnson recently retired from the U.S. Army Research Institute after serving in the military for 20 years, including as its behavioral and social sciences director and as chief psychologist of the U.S. Army. He was recognized for developing the Consortium Research Fellows Program, which provides professional development and financial support to graduate students completing their degrees. He also funded major basic and applied research efforts, including the development of a pre-enlistment screening tool.

  • Peter G. Kaufmann, PhD. Kaufmann was honored for increasing the visibility of health psychology and behavioral medicine research at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and also at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more generally. As a health science administrator and now as chief of NHLBI's Behavioral Medicine Branch, Kaufmann develops behavioral research initiatives investigating, for example, the role of behavioral treatments in hypertension and validation methods to assess quality of life in biomedical research. Recently, he's been promoting integration of behavioral science methodology into clinical trials.

  • Lisa S. Onken, PhD. Onken, associate director for behavioral treatment research and chief of the Behavioral Treatment Development Branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), was recognized for developing NIDA's behavioral therapies development research program and for bridging basic and clinical research findings. Onken is educating the scientific community about translational research and crafting a three-stage substance abuse research model--first treatment-development research, then outcome studies, then community-wide treatment effectiveness studies.

  • Delores L. Parron, PhD. Parron serves as scientific adviser for capacity development in the Office of the Director of NIH. She was recognized for her dedication to developing new projects addressing ethnic-minority groups and for providing funding opportunities to ethnic-minority researchers. She helps NIH cultivate institutions that train large percentages of ethnic-minority behavioral and social scientists.

To nominate a psychologist for the 2004 awards, submit a nomination packet--a nomination letter that is no more than two pages and describes the individual's contributions, a curriculum vitae and three letters of support with at least two from outside the nominee's organization--to Suzanne Wandersman, APA Science Directorate, at the APA address; (202) 336-6000; e-mail: The submission deadline is March 8.