Candidates for APA President
Frank Y. (Frankie) Wong, PhD, is an associate professor in the department of international health of the School of Nursing and Health Studies at Georgetown University. He holds appointments as visiting faculty in the department of health promotion and health education at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Cape Town and as Permanent Research Associate at the Medical Research Council, Tygerberg, South Africa. He is also a program affiliate of the LGBT Research Center at the Boston University School of Public Health.
His National Institutes of Health-funded research has focused on the social epidemiology of HIV-risk and substance use/abuse and their health consequences (e.g., intimate partner violence) among vulnerable populations including Asian immigrants and refugees in the United States; Black and Coloured people in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa; and male migrants (including men who have sex with men or MSM) in Shanghai, China.
Wong's research has informed public policy in arenas ranging from reclassifying race/ethnicity categories in the 2000 U.S. Census to reconstituting NIH funding priorities for community-based HIV research to conducting a congressional briefing on Asian and Pacific Islander Health at the invitation of the Honorable Mike Honda (D-Calif.). The backstory. Wong was born in Vietnam at a rather tumultuous time and was evacuated to Hong Kong when he was six. His family moved to Toronto when he was 16. He came to the United States after completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph.
He received his doctorate in social psychology from Texas A&M University. He may have been the only peacock-blue-haired Chinese man in College Station at the time. His primary mentor was, and in many ways remains, Steve Worchel. Steve modeled the value and satisfaction of effective mentoring, a value Wong has carried into his own work with numerous undergraduates, master's and doctoral students, and postdocs.
His career has taken him from community-based agencies in Boston and the Bronx to Hofstra, Tufts, Columbia, George Washington and Georgetown universities. It has been a typical research career: service on state, local, national and international boards and committees; articles in peer-reviewed journals; NIH-sponsored research; and co-authoring a textbook.
His research initially focused on maternal and child health. That changed in 1993 after a conversation with Bill Bailey, a close friend and member of APA's public policy staff. The gist of Bill's message was that the gay community was experiencing a health crisis on an unparalleled scale and that Wong had a responsibility to be part of the solution. Since Bill's death in 1994, that responsibility has guided Wong's scientific endeavors. He has continued to carry his research into other communities affected by HIV in the United States, Africa and Asia.Wong's candidate statement
I am seeking the APA presidency to advance a simple yet fundamental principle. It seems to be a principle that has little traction with the public or in the public policy arena, which shortchanges the very communities that might benefit most. The principle is this: Culturally sensitive and competent research and service delivery do not require the compromise of scientific rigor. Put another way, true social justice requires a vigorous application of the scientific method.
My work suggests that the application of psychological science offers great hope toward solving a vast array of social ills. However, our ability to improve quality of life is only as great as the quality of the research behind our efforts. APA has the resources and visibility needed to continue building bridges from psychological scientists to community-based service providers and public advocacy groups, as well as to continue raising the profile of psychologicalscience among the public at large.
U.S. psychologists are also active in ameliorating many of the world's most urgent societal problems, from displacement trauma, migration and human trafficking to the prevention and treatment of epidemics such as malaria and HIV. I believe that APA must help psychologists already in the field work more effectively and help prepare more psychologists to move appropriately into international work. APA should be an engine that drives training across the career-span in order to prepare psychologists to work in international settings. It is imperative that APA also help to meet the need for training in prevention science among psychologists in the developing world.
I believe deeply in the contributions we as psychologists and APA as the organization promoting our skills and values can make to healthycommunities, a healthy nation and a healthy world. I ask for your No. 1vote to advance that vision. (www.wong4apa.org/).
Letters to the Editor
- Send us a letter