APA President Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD, honored many of psychology's most valuable contributors with Presidential Citations and Commendations at APA's 2002 Annual Convention in August. Citations for significant longtime contributions to psychology and the nation's health were given at the opening session and several plenary sessions. Zimbardo also bestowed commendations for special achievements at several social hours and the 10-year anniversary of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS).
2002 PRESIDENTIAL CITATIONS
New York City firefighter Richie Murray accepted a citation for The New York Fire Department, Engine 205/Ladder 118 for its psychological strength, resilience and service to others during and after the Sept. 11 tragedy at the World Trade Center. "They are working through and recovering from unfathomable loss and continue to remind us that loving relationships and the support of a vital community are critical for each of us to heal from trauma," read the citation.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel accepted a citation for his humanitarian contributions to society as an actor, playwright, jazz columnist, disc jockey, radio host and activist. According to the citation, Terkel has helped reduce unfairness and inequities in society by listening to the stories of ordinary Americans and by allowing those stories to be heard. "Studs Terkel has helped us recognize that having work you enjoy is one of the secrets to psychological health and that death can be viewed as a hymn to life," read the honor.
Zimbardo honored University of Pennsylvania psychologist and APA Past-president Martin E.P. Seligman, PhD, on his 60th birthday for his "pervasive and sustained impact on psychology matched by few" and his "uncanny ability to bring ideas to fruition and inspire the work of others." The citation highlighted Seligman's countless contributions to psychology, including his research on learned helplessness and optimism, his groundbreaking work in positive psychology and his service as president of APA and Div. 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology).
Best-selling author and journalist Gail Sheehy accepted a citation for her "unique ability to combine psychological research findings with outstanding journalism and to communicate psychology's message to a wide public audience." Throughout her career, Sheehy's writing has focused public concern on a range of psychological issues, from drug addiction to crisis leadership, and from life-stage passages in women and men to families torn by terrorism. Sheehy was one of the original contributors to New York magazine and has been a contributing editor to Vanity Fair since 1984.
Zimbardo paid tribute to behavioral medicine pioneer Herbert Benson, MD, for his longtime collaboration with psychologists in the area of mind-body health. Benson developed and tested a set of mind-body approaches to counteract health disorders and was one of the early developers of biofeedback devices in the 1960s. Benson's Mind/Body Medical Institute is now the model for dozens of similar centers, and thousands of physicians, health psychologists and hospital chaplains have used his mind-body techniques.
Renowned cardiac researcher and best-selling author Dean Ornish, MD, was honored for his major contributions to health psychology and his unique ability to communicate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to the nation. Ornish was the first to show that people can reverse severe coronary disease through a program of diet, exercise, stress management and group support, and his more recent research has demonstrated that lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke may also reduce prostate and other forms of cancer.
The Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) earned a citation for marking its 30th anniversary and its outstanding contributions to research, practice, education and training, and public service. Co-founded by brothers Stanley Sue, PhD, and Derald Wing Sue, PhD, AAPA has grown from a handful of Asian-American psychologists who met informally in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s to a vibrant national organization. AAPA has nationally and internationally represented Asian-American concerns, furthered the advancement of diversity in psychology, and served as an inspiration for the improvement of the human condition for Asian Americans and all people of color.
2002 PRESIDENTIAL COMMENDATIONS
APA's former Director of Rural Health and Substance Abuse James G. "Gil" Hill, PhD, was commended for his leadership in APA's Practice Directorate in the area of rural health. Hill, who retired from APA this summer, shepherded APA's Rural Health Task Force and the subsequent Rural Health Committee, which recorded successes such as the inclusion of psychology in the National Health Service Corps and the establishment of a training curriculum for rural health professionals. "His legacy will live on in the work of the many young professional psychologists who bring their expertise to rural and frontier communities across the country," read the commendation.
Psychology education expert and leader Jane S. Halonen, PhD, of James Madison University accepted a commendation for her influence on psychology education at all levels. As chair of the Task Force on Undergraduate Psychology Major Competencies, Halonen played an integral role in spelling out the knowledge, skills and values that psychology expects of undergraduate students upon completion of the baccalaureate degree. The commendation also recognized her success with facilitating partnerships between psychology teachers at all levels, her guidance as a faculty advisor to TOPSS, and her overall support and advocacy for quality high school psychology education.
Zimbardo honored former APA Education Directorate Assistant Director Cynthia Gail Baum, PhD, for her leadership in psychology education and her key role in the establishment of TOPSS. While at APA, Baum helped identify the purposes, priorities and benefits that APA would extend to high school psychology teachers through TOPSS, and her hard work resulted in the development of a strong network of dedicated psychology teachers. "The success of TOPSS is a result of your vision, determination and enthusiasm," read the citation.
Texas A&M University psychology professor Ludy T. Benjamin Jr., PhD, accepted a commendation for his "passion for the field of psychology" and "advocacy of the high school course as a means of igniting similar passion in others." Benjamin has worked to ensure that high school psychology courses are science-based and has taught and mentored hundreds of psychology teachers through National Science Foundation institutes, teaching workshops and other forums. He has played an integral role in helping TOPSS achieve its 10-year milestone, noted the commendation.
Distinguished educator, mentor and researcher Charles D. Spielberger, PhD, was commended for his exceptional support of psychology education at all levels while serving on APA's Council of Representatives, Board of Directors and as APA president. Spielberger has been an ardent supporter and mentor to the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students and used that organization as a model to facilitate the formation of TOPSS.