Outstanding researchers, practitioners and educators will be honored with a variety of awards at APA's 2006 Annual Convention in New Orleans, Aug. 10-13. The awards fall into five categories: science, practice, public interest, education and international affairs. The APA/American Psychological Foundation Awards ceremony will be held on Friday, Aug. 11, at 4 p.m. Many award recipients will speak at other sessions. For the most current times, dates and locations for the convention sessions, refer to the 2006 convention program.
Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions
Michael Davis, PhD. Davis, the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences and Psychology at the Emory University School of Medicine, is being honored for his contributions to behavioral neuroscience.
Davis began his career working with Allan Wagner at Yale, where he focused on the study of habituation and sensitization, using the acoustic startle response in the rat. In now-classic papers, Davis and Wagner separated conditions under which habituation was produced from conditions where it was later assessed, leading to a new conceptualization of how both stimulus intensity and rate of stimulus repetition affected habituation.
He then began his work on the neurobiology of fear and its inhibition. Davis took a neural systems approach and thoroughly mapped the brain structures that mediated the acoustic startle reflex and how this was modulated by conditioned fear, using the fear-potentiated startle paradigm. In this paradigm, when a rat is exposed to a cue that triggers fear, the rat's startle reaction to a sudden noise is enhanced. Davis also showed this effect in humans, and fear-potentiated startle is being used today to help us understand such clinical phenomena as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
By the mid-1980s, Davis had demonstrated the central role of the amygdala for both the acquisition and expression of fear-potentiated startle, and then he proceeded to analyze the neural circuitry and molecular mechanisms of fear conditioning. His lab was the first to show that increasing the levels in the amygdala of a transcription factor called CREB could improve fear learning. More recently, he found that a growth factor called BDNF is critical for both fear conditioning and fear extinction.
In the mid-1990s, Davis began to investigate fear extinction and inhibition processes, given that many psychiatric patients fail to extinguish painful fear memories. He discovered that extinction was dependent on NMDA receptors in the amygdala, leading to his recent discovery that the functional NMDA agonist, D-cycloserine, can facilitate extinction learning. In collaboration with several other researchers, including Kerry Ressler and Barbara Rothbaum, he provided the first demonstration that D-cycloserine could improve the effectiveness of exposure therapy for acrophobia. This work has now been replicated in more complex psychiatric conditions, and D-cycloserine, in combination with psychotherapy, is being tested worldwide for all of the major anxiety disorders, as well as for anorexia and Tourette's syndrome.
Thus, Davis developed and refined a behavioral tool (the startle reflex) that has proven remarkably fruitful in analyzing important questions about the neural circuitry and the neuropharmacological mechanisms behind fear and anxiety.
Marcia K. Johnson, PhD. Johnson, the Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of Psychology at Yale University, is being honored for her contributions to the field of cognitive psychology and human memory research.
Johnson began her career as an assistant professor in the early 1970s, collaborating with John Bransford on research in comprehension and memory. Their studies helped create the focus on constructive and reconstructive mental processes (e.g., the role of prior knowledge, expectations, schemas, mental models) that now guides much theory and empirical work in human cognition.
Beginning in the mid 1970s, Johnson's research focused on issues of reality monitoring (how we distinguish between actually experienced events and those events that were imagined, inferred, heard about or even dreamed). Her work on reality monitoring investigated how the memory representations of perception and thought are alike and different, how they are discriminated, and why they are sometimes confused. This approach expanded into a more general investigation of source monitoring (how people identify the origin of information) and how individual features are bound together to create memories.
Throughout her research, Johnson's multiple-entry modular memory system model has guided and integrated her work. This model characterizes the processes and complexities of the cognitive system, the impact of specific processing activities on memory encoding and retrieval, and the relation of these processes to emotion and consciousness.
Johnson and her students and colleagues have used converging methods in their research. In addition to using objective measures such as accuracy or response time, Johnson developed the Memory Characteristics Questionnaire approach for assessing the subjective experience of remembering. She has studied healthy young adults, children, older adults and amnesic patients.
During the 1990s, Johnson began a program of cognitive neuroscience research using functional magnetic-resonance imaging (fMRI). For example, her lab recently identified prefrontal cortex regions associated with the "refresh" processes involved in thinking about an item that was just experienced. In addition, she found evidence that this neural circuitry can be impaired by aging, potentially accounting for a variety of cognitive deficits in the elderly.
Johnson's work has had an enormous impact on the understanding of how the memory system operates. Her work has influenced not only researchers studying basic memory processes, but also research in areas of social cognition, psychopathology, forensic psychology and cognitive neuroscience.
Martin E.P. Seligman, PhD. Seligman, the Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, is being honored for his research contributions in the areas of learning, depression and optimism.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, Seligman investigated the phenomenon of learned helplessness. Animals who were exposed to uncontrollable aversive events learned that their efforts were ineffectual and led them to passivity in the face of subsequent stress. Seligman demonstrated the analogous phenomenon among people, and proposed that the basic learned helplessness phenomenon might serve as a laboratory model for depression. Translating this model to depression in humans served as a basis for some efficacious cognitive and behavioral preventive interventions in the field.
He also researched prepared learning, or associative learning predisposed by evolution. This theory explains the ease with which certain evolutionarily meaningful stimuli can be conditioned to elicit anxiety and other autonomic reactions. For example, people are far more likely to be injured getting in and out of bathtubs than by contact with poisonous snakes and spiders, yet millions of people suffer from small animal phobias while there is not one recorded instance of anyone who has been treated for a bathtub phobia. Not all stimuli are equal in terms of the ease with which they can be classically conditioned; rather, organisms are prepared to learn to respond with anxiety to those stimuli that represented dangers to our distant ancestors. The notion of preparedness deepened our understanding of basic learning principles and provided a basis for the development of sophisticated methods of treatment and prevention.
In the late 1970s, when data suggested that learned helplessness did not fully account for the range of responses that individuals showed in response to uncontrollable events, Seligman reformulated the theory to incorporate the causal attributions made by people for the original uncontrollable events. Seligman proposed that someone's habitual tendency to explain bad events with stable, global and internal causes could be a risk factor for depression.
In the 1980s, Seligman used the findings about learned helplessness and the attributional reformulation to guide research on the treatment and prevention of depression. He demonstrated that cognitive therapy for depression works because it targets an individual's pessimistic explanatory style, changing it to a more optimistic direction. Seligman developed a prevention program that taught cognitive problem-solving skills to young people at risk for depression. He also initiated research showing that pessimistic explanatory style was a risk factor for failure in school, for poor vocational performance, for disappointing athletic outcome and for physical illness and even early death.
In the 1990s, he reframed his work and began focusing on optimism or positive outcomes, later called positive psychology. His recent work involves an exploration of processes that lead to psychological health and well-being rather than the simple elimination of distress. This approach represents an attempt to refocus the attention of the field on the processes leading to growth and development and opens up new areas of inquiry.
Award for Distinguished Scientific Applications of Psychology
John P. Campbell, PhD. Campbell, professor and chair of the psychology department at the University of Minnesota, is being honored for his research contributions to the areas of industrial and organizational psychology, military psychology and personnel and human resources management.
Campbell's research in the area of performance criteria is one of his many contributions to the field. He recognized the multidimensional nature of job performance. For example, Campbell demonstrates that one can conceptually and empirically differentiate between task performance (e.g., carrying out the core tasks of one's job), citizenship (e.g., helping others, pitching in, supporting organizational initiatives) and counterproductive work behaviors (theft, substance usage, absenteeism). Knowing an employee is high on one dimension tells us little about the employee's standing on others. The realization that one needs multidimensional measures of job performance has led to a change in our understanding of individual differences and work behavior. This new understanding led to further realizations that psychologists could not develop personnel selection systems for organizations unless the organization could specify the value it applied to each facet of performance.
Campbell's contributions to research on the issues associated with the identification, selection and developmental components of managerial talent was published in the book "Managerial Behavior, Performance and Effectiveness" (McGraw Hill, 1970). This book, a classic text in the field, identified the factors that contribute to and explain managerial performance and provided guidance for future research in this complex area.
One of his most important empirical contributions was his work as principal scientist for the U.S. Army Project A from 1982 to 1989. Project A was a major effort by the armed services to overhaul their system of testing for enlistment and placement. The seven-year project broke new ground conceptually and empirically in the areas of test development, construction of performance criterion measures, training assessment and validity generalization. Project A serves as a model of how to conduct optimal research in the field of selection and classification. From 1990 to 1995, he served as principal scientist for the Career Force Project, which followed up on Project A, and he currently serves as principal scientist on a series of related projects dealing with the prediction of future demands on the U.S. Army.
Campbell also served as a consultant for the Department of Labor's O*NET Project, which has mapped out all the knowledge and skill requirements for every major job in the U.S. economy. The results of this project give scientists and human resources professionals a breakdown of what knowledge, skills and abilities are required for competent job performance.
Campbell's other contributions to the field include his research on training and development, his contributions to research methodology and psychometrics, and his work on the relationship between individual job performance and organizational effectiveness.
Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Animal Learning and Behavior, Comparative)
Mark G. Baxter, PhD. Baxter, of the experimental psychology department at Oxford University, is recognized for his ability to translate across levels of analysis in different species, thereby illuminating variation in biological and psychological adaptations. The range and depth of his research program is outstanding. He has examined a number of different behavioral domains-learning, memory, attentional processing, executive function and goal-directed behavior-in several species at different stages of development. He has been creative in his use of behavioral paradigms to probe the roles of neural systems in cognitive function, drawing on concepts from formal psychological learning theory that are rarely applied in neurobiological research. Baxter earned his PhD at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1997.
Awards for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Cognition and Human Learning)
Brian J. Scholl, PhD. Scholl, of the Yale University psychology department, is recognized for his contributions to cognitive science generally and, in particular, to the field of object perception. His sweep is broad and includes investigations of such topics as adult perception of objects in dynamic motion, the control of visual attention in adults and the development of infant perception of objects. Scholl has created illuminating links between these seeming disparate areas. In those studies, he has used a rich array of tasks, adopting from and adapting to the adult, infant and animal literature. He has also made contributions to the work connecting attention and awareness and to the field of causal perception. He has published on a wide range of topics Dr. Seth D. Pollak that cross-cut the field of cognitive science, including theory of mind, modularity and innateness. Scholl's combination of inventive empirical research and broad conceptual frameworks promises continued insights in whatever topics he studies. Scholl earned his PhD from Rutgers University in 1999.
Anthony D. Wagner, PhD. Wagner, of the Stanford University psychology department, is recognized for his contributions to the cognitive neuroscience of human learning and memory. He has primarily used fMRI to examine long-standing questions about memory, and he helped develop one of the most useful experimental techniques for doing so. In addition to his work on memory, Wagner has investigated the neural underpinnings of cognitive control and how executive control affects the encoding, maintenance and retrieval of memories. Besides fMRI, he has used other neuropsychological techniques (MEG, TMS, studies of neuropsychological patients) in order to overcome the limitations of any particular technique. Thus, although his work is at the neural level, it is always driven by psychological theory. Wagner earned his PhD from Stanford University in 1997.
Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Developmental Psychology)
Seth D. Pollak, PhD. Pollak, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology department, is recognized for his contributions to our understanding of some of the issues in the study of behavioral development and more specifically affective development-the roles of experience and learning, the understanding of processes of change and the distinction between domain-specific and more general developmental processes. His research has focused on the learning of emotions. He uses sophisticated and creative experimental techniques that provide objective information about how young children attend to, process and regulate emotions. Pollak's research program uses cutting-edge approaches to measurement and is guided by well-developed theories. Pollak earned his PhD from the University of Rochester in 1997.
Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Health Psychology)
Angela D. Bryan, PhD. Bryan, of the University of Colorado psychology department, is recognized for her research contributions in the area of health psychology. She uses a biopsychosocial approach to evaluate theory-based models of health behavior to understand how risky behaviors can be reduced. While her studies are deeply informed by basic social psychological theories, she also ingenuously adapts concepts from other fields. Her identification of general factors that are important across populations and identification of specific factors for particular subpopulations (e.g., college women and criminally involved adolescents) is extensive. Bryan also is a methodologist that uses state-of-the-art statistical techniques in her research. Bryan earned her PhD from Arizona State University in 1997.
Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Psychopathology)
Theodore P. Beauchaine, PhD. Beauchaine, of the University of Washington psychology department, is recognized for his contributions to our understanding of the motivational and emotional substrates of psychopathology in children. He has conducted impressive theoretical and empirical work on links between autonomic nervous system functioning and risk for the development of psychopathology. Beauchaine's research has also included clinical trials of preventive intervention for youth at risk for conduct problems and externalizing behavior. He has produced a rich program of work on the applications of taxometrics to understanding child psychopathology. Beauchaine has made a series of original, theoretically stunning and methodologically sophisticated contributions to the broad field of developmental psychopathology. Beauchaine earned his PhD from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2000.
Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest (Senior Career)
McCay Vernon, PhD. For more than 50 years, Vernon has worked to improve the lives of deaf and deaf-blind people through research on all aspects of these conditions, including medical and psychological conditions associated with deafness. This has been coupled with a strong advocacy for the use of sign language, better mental health services, full legal rights and better educational opportunities for deaf and deaf-blind people.
To this end, he has authored or co-authored six books, a research monograph and 196 journal articles and book chapters. His writings have appeared in leading professional publications in the fields of psychology, deafness, psychiatry, medicine and law. He has been involved in the production of some 20 documentary films on deafness and deaf-blindness, including "They Grow in Silence," winner of the Public Broadcasting Award for Public Service Programs.
For 20 years he served as editor of the American Annals of the Deaf. In addition, he has devoted years of volunteer services to national and international organizations serving deaf and deaf-blind people.
Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest (Early Career)
Rose L. Clark, PhD. Clark is a member of the Navajo Nation and was born and raised in Albuquerque, N.M. She received her BA in psychology with a minor in alcohol and drug studies from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and her PhD in clinical psychology with an emphasis in multicultural community clinical issues from the California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles in 1998. Clark's dissertation was titled "Multicultural Life Styles of Urban American Indians Living in Los Angeles County."
She is a licensed psychologist and the administrative clinical director for United American Indian Involvement Inc.'s Robert Sundance Family Wellness Center and the Ah No Ven (Healing) Home, which are substance abuse treatment programs for American Indian adults and youth residing in California. Clark sits on numerous boards at the local, state and federal level advocating on behalf of American Indian issues, including the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission, the California Department of Mental Health Cultural Competency Advisory Board, the California Health Interview Survey Advisory Board, the Indian Health Service National Suicide Prevention Task Force, the Indian Health Service Youth Regional Treatment Center Task Force, the Steering Committee for the American Indian/Alaska Native National Resource Center for Substance Abuse Services and the Steering Committee for the California Rural Indian Health Board Access to Recovery program. She is involved in administration, program development, research, teaching and direct services for the American Indian community.
Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy
Mark Douglas Cunningham, PhD. After graduating with high honors from Abilene Christian University in 1973, Cunningham entered a doctoral training program in clinical psychology at Oklahoma State University, where he earned a master's degree in 1976 and a PhD in 1977. He completed his clinical psychology internship as an active-duty naval officer at the National Naval Medical Center. While serving as a staff psychologist at the Naval Submarine Medical Center in Groton, Conn., he did postgraduate study at the Yale University School of Medicine. He was decorated by the U.S. Navy for his professional contributions.
Following naval service, he was an assistant psychology professor at Hardin-Simmons University for two years, departing for full-time clinical practice in 1983. He became an American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) diplomate in forensic psychology in 1995. His forensic practice is national in scope, and he is licensed as a psychologist in 14 states. A groundbreaking researcher and prolific scholar regarding capital sentencing evaluations, prison violence and death-sentenced inmates, Cunningham was recognized with the 2004 John Augustus Award from the National Association of Sentencing Advocates and the 2005 Texas Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to Science. He has been an invited presenter at more than 75 regional and national attorney and psychology training conferences.
Cunningham was born in Dallas in 1951. He is the second of four children of Jay and Lucille Cunningham. In 1975, he married Melinda Eve Brittain. They have three children: Benjamin, Clay and Cara.
Education Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training in Psychology
Janet E. Helms, PhD. Helms is the Augustus Long Professor of Counseling, Developmental and Educational Psychology at Boston College and founding director of the Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture at Boston College. She is a fellow of APA Divs. 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology) and 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues) and is a member of APA's Council of Representatives.
Helms is associate editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Psychological Assessment and the Journal of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. She has written more than 50 empirical and theoretical articles and four books on the topics of racial identity and cultural influences on assessment and counseling practice. Her books include "A Race Is a Nice Thing To Have" (Content Communications, 1992) and, with Donelda Cook, "Using Race and Culture in Counseling and Psychotherapy: Theory and Process" (Allyn & Bacon, 1998).
Awards that acknowledge Helms' work include an engraved brick in Iowa State University's Plaza of Heroines, the award for Distinguished Career Contributions to Research from the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues and the Leona Tyler Award for a distinguished research career, awarded by the Society of Counseling Psychology. In 1991, she was the first annual recipient of the Janet E. Helms Award for Mentoring and Scholarship in Professional Psychology. This award was inaugurated in her honor by Columbia University Teachers College.
Michael C. Roberts, PhD. Roberts is a professor and the director of the clinical child psychology program at the University of Kansas. He graduated from Purdue University in 1978 with a PhD in clinical psychology and a specialization in clinical child psychology. He interned at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Roberts rose through the academic ranks at the University of Alabama before going to the University of Kansas to start its clinical child psychology doctoral program.
Roberts has published almost 200 journal articles and book chapters revolving around training and professional issues, and the application of psychology to understanding and influencing children's physical and mental health. He has authored or co-edited 17 books, including the "Handbook of Clinical Child Psychology" (Wiley, 2001) and the "Handbook of Pediatric Psychology" (Guilford Press, 2005). Roberts has served as editor for three journals-the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, Children's Health Care and Children's Services: Social Policy, Research and Practice-and as associate editor of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Roberts is the incoming editor of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.
Roberts chaired the APA Committee on Children, Youth and Families and recently completed two terms as chair of the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology. He serves as a representative to APA's Council of Representatives from the Society of Pediatric Psychology. Roberts is a member of APA's Board of Professional Affairs and on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. He is a fellow of APA and an ABPP diplomate.
Psi Chi/Edwin B. Newman Graduate Research Award
Gregory D. Webster. Webster was born in Woodstock, N.Y., in 1976. In 1983, he moved to Tulsa, Okla., where he graduated from Holland Hall School in 1994. Webster received his BA in psychology (cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1997. His undergraduate thesis on music and emotion, co-authored with his adviser, Catherine Weir, was recently published in Motivation and Emotion.
Webster received his MA in general psychology from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., in 2001. Working with his adviser, Lee Kirkpatrick, he has published two articles examining the association between domain-specific self-esteem and aggression-one in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and one in Aggressive Behavior.
He is currently a PhD candidate in social psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In collaboration with his mentor, Angela Bryan, he has published an article on exercise and mood. He is writing his doctoral dissertation on family-based resource allocation. His primary research interests involve studying altruism and aggression from an evolutionary social psychological perspective.
Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research
Stephen M. Weiss, PhD, MPH. Weiss has been exploring the relationship of psychosocial factors to health and illness since the early 1960s. After receiving a PhD in psychology from the University of Arizona in 1965, he held faculty appointments at the University of Arizona and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and adjunct appointments at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (professor) and the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health (associate). He joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1974 as chief of Behavioral Medicine of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
During his tenure with NIH, he assisted in the formation of several national and international health and behavior organizations. He was one of the "founding fathers" of APA Div. 38 (Health), the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and the International Society of Behavioral Medicine, serving as president of all four organizations.
After retiring from NIH in 1991, Weiss participated in international AIDS prevention activities as deputy director of the AIDS Control and Prevention Program of Family Health International in 1991 and 1992. He was senior scientific adviser to the National Institute of Mental Health in 1993. In late 1993, he joined the University of Miami as a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and was appointed vice chair for research of the department in 2002.
Weiss has authored or edited 10 books and more than 100 scientific papers, monographs and book chapters related to health and behavior, and serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals and health publications. He is the principal investigator or co-principal investigator for four NIH-supported research programs.
Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Independent or Institutional Practice in the Private Sector
Jeffrey J. Magnavita, PhD. Magnavita received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Temple University and master's from Villanova University. His early interest in becoming a learning theorist was transformed by excitement fueled by his exposure to psychotherapy in the counseling laboratory and clinical encounters. He was awarded a PhD in 1981 from the University of Connecticut and completed an APA-approved internship in clinical psychology at a private psychiatric institute. He completed training in family therapy and in short-term dynamic psychotherapy.
The challenges of clinical practice sparked his interest in pursuing new ways to understand and advance the field of psychotherapy, personality theory and psychopathology. He incorporated audiovisual recording of psychotherapy sessions as a way to closely study process and outcome. Based on this in-depth examination of the process of psychotherapy, he developed an increasingly unified theoretical framework to conceptualize treatment and enhance efficacy of those suffering from personality dysfunction, related clinical syndromes and relational disturbances.
Magnavita has written three volumes on psychotherapy and a theory of personality textbook, and edited the Dr. Mona M. Amer "Handbook of Personality Disorders: Theory and Practice" (Wiley, 2003). He is the volume editor for the "Comprehensive Handbook of Psychotherapy, Volume I" (John Wiley & Sons, 2002). His most recent book, "Personality-Guided Relational Psychotherapy: A Unified Approach" (APA, 2005), was reviewed in Contemporary Psychology. His approach to treating personality disorders is demonstrated in the APA video series on psychotherapy.
Magnavita lives in South Glastonbury, Conn., with his wife, Anne, and their three daughters, Elizabeth, Emily and Caroline.
Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Practice in the Public Sector
Thomas J. Fagan, PhD. Fagan is an associate professor of psychology at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
For 23 years he was a psychology practitioner and administrator with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where he was an active participant in developing correctional mental health programs, creating mental health policies and proDr. Michael Cole cedures, and training professional, paraprofessional and correctional staff. Fagan was also the bureau's chief hostage negotiator and coordinator of its crisis negotiation training program. Over the years, he has served as a consultant to numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the areas of crisis negotiation, critical-incident stress debriefing and management of correctional mental health services and programs.
Fagan has published regularly in correctional and psychological journals, has authored several book chapters and has published two books: "Correctional Mental Health Handbook" (Sage Publications, 2002) and "Negotiating Correctional Incidents: A Practical Guide" (American Correctional Association, 2003).
Since 1997, Fagan has served as APA's representative on the Board of Directors of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC)-a national organization dedicated to insuring quality health and mental health care for incarcerated individuals. He served as NCCHC's board chair from 2002 to 2003 and is currently its secretary. He is a fellow of APA Divs. 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology) and 18 (Public Service) and a member of Div. 55 (American Society for the Advancement of Pharmacotherapy). Div. 18 recognized his work in correctional mental health with a special achievement award in 1993. He received his bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and his master's and doctoral degrees from Virginia Tech.
APA/APAGS Award for Distinguished Graduate Student in Professional Psychology
Mona M. Amer, PhD. Amer received a BA in psychology from the American University in Cairo in 1998. While in Egypt she worked as an assistant psychologist at the Behman Hospital and served on the Middle East task force for the U.N. Drug Control Programme's global study on illicit drug markets. In 2005, she earned a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Toledo, completing her predoctoral internship at Yale University.
Much of Amer's work since the Sept. 11 attacks has focused on Arab and Muslim American populations. She pioneered cultural competence curriculums for social service providers working with Muslims and Arabs, coordinated outreach programs for Muslim Americans and oversaw a community mental health needs assessment in northwest Ohio. She has directed regional and national conferences focusing on Muslim and Arab mental health and conducted the largest national acculturation and mental health study of Arab Americans to date.
Amer is the 2005 recipient of the APA Minority Fellowship Program's two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. She works at Yale University's Program for Recovery and Community Health, where her research and policy efforts are broadly focused on eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in behavioral health through culturally competent, recovery-oriented care.
Since 2001 Amer has provided more than 50 presentations and training workshops both nationally and internationally, and has taught undergraduate and graduate university courses. She was the associate editor for the APA Div. 27 (Society for Community Research and Action) news-journal The Community Psychologist and has worked to introduce the peer-reviewed Journal of Muslim Mental Health, for which she is an associate editor.
Michael Cole, PhD. Cole is an APA fellow and professor of communication, psychology and human development at the University of California, San Diego. After receiving his doctorate from Indiana University in 1962, he went to Moscow as a postdoctoral fellow and worked with A.R. Luria, a preeminent psychologist of the Soviet Union, whose theories influenced Cole's future research. According to Cole, he has for many years "been seeking to develop a mediational theory of mind building upon the traditions of Russian cultural-historical activity theories and American pragmatic social sciences."
Early in his career, he began to conduct international and cross-cultural research on cognitive development, especially as it relates to the role of literacy and schooling. His recent research has been devoted to a longitudinal study of individual and organizational change within educational activities specially designed for after-school hours. This research makes extensive use of new communication technologies and the use of computers and computer networks in research with both children in community settings and with undergraduates. He is also studying the use of interactive video-conferencing as a medium for teaching and interinstitutional collaboration.
The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) Guinea International Mental Health Team. The CVT Guinea team was given the International Humanitarian Award for its work with refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia. CVT was founded in Minneapolis, in 1985 as the first organization in the United States dedicated to providing psychotherapy for survivors of politically motivated torture. In 1991, CVT-Guinea was launched in Gueckedou to address the needs of refugees who had fled massive war atrocities in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Because of cross-border attacks, CVT later relocated to Kissidougou, in a remote forest region 10 hours by road from the capital.
The seven international, interdisciplinary CVT team members-representing psychology, research, social work, counseling and education-have spent between one and five years in a remote jungle region of Guinea, West Africa, providing culturally sensitive mental health services to thousands of severely war-traumatized Liberian refugees. In addition, the team provided valuable training in trauma counseling and refugee mental health for over half the health-care workers and other specialists working in the camps. Unlike many NGOs that work in rural areas of Africa, the CVT Guinea team has continually collected data to evaluate its program and to monitor the quality and effectiveness of their work. Data collected by the team show significant improvements in mental health, including lower levels of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, and increased social support.
CVT's Guinea team included Shanee Stepakoff, PhD, clinical psychologist; Erika Falk, PsyD, clinical psychologist; Jean-Baptiste Mikulu, PhD, clinical psychologist and field coordinator (currently country director for CVT Liberia); Yuvenalis Omagwa, psychiatric nurse clinician (currently clinician/trainer for CVT Sierra Leone); Potiphar Nkhoma, social work clinician; Maki Katoh, country director (currently country director for CVT Sierra Leone); and Jon Hubbard, PhD, clinical psychologist and director of research for CVT.