Anderson--one of 98 candidates who applied for the position--was the unanimous choice of APA's Board of Directors in a single, secret ballot. His Board nomination was approved by APA's Council of Representatives in a vote of 114 to 0 in favor.
Anderson says he can think of no more professionally exciting and personally fulfilling position than being CEO of APA. "The opportunity to serve all of psychology, and to work closely with the many constituencies of the field, provides a perfect match with my interests and talents," he says. "This is all to say that I simply love APA, and consider it the highest honor to work on behalf of psychologists."
He joined APA staff on Sept. 1 as CEO-elect and will work alongside current CEO Raymond D. Fowler, PhD, until Fowler retires at the end of December.
"Although it will be a challenge for anyone to replace our beloved and effective Ray Fowler," says APA President Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD, "the Board of Directors felt confident that Dr. Anderson had the potential to fill those shoes. His greatest strengths are his renaissance qualities as an educator-scientist with clinical credentials and a public interest orientation. His enormous energy and expansive vision will increase the impact of psychology for decades to come."
Anderson had been at Harvard since 2000. His interests there focused on mass media approaches to public health and health disparities. But he is best known among psychologists as the founding director of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. There, from 1995 to 2000, he was charged with advancing behavioral and social sciences research across all of NIH's institutes and centers in such areas as heart disease, cancer, mental health and aging. During his five-year tenure, the office developed initiatives totaling more than $90 million.
Before coming to NIH, Anderson was associate professor in the departments of psychiatry and psychology at Duke University. He earned his degree in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and did his clinical psychology internship at Brown University. He also held a postdoctoral fellowship in psychophysiology and aging at Duke. Anderson is licensed to practice in two states: Maryland and North Carolina.
An APA member since 1985, Anderson has served on APA's Board of Scientific Affairs and Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest. He is a member of APA Div. 38 (Health) and of Div. 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues). He is a Fellow of APA, the American Psychological Society, the Society of Behavioral Medicine and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research.
"I believe his broad experience has prepared him well to be APA's CEO and to understand and support APA's many constituencies and agendas," said Fowler. "Speaking personally, I have found him to be warm, sensitive and a quick learner."
APA President-elect Robert Sternberg, PhD, who co-chaired the CEO Search Committee, lauded the association's choice and the overall process that led to Anderson's appointment.
"I've been on many committees in my day, but I do not think I have been on one that acted more responsibly, deliberately and carefully than this one," said Sternberg. "Although the committee had representation from diverse interest groups, there was absolutely no partisan bickering: Everyone on the committee just wanted what was best for APA. Period....There was not a moment when I felt that anyone had any agenda other than to pick the very best candidate. The Search Committee and the Board of Directors both unanimously believed that candidate to be Norman Anderson."
Anderson has a list of priorities he's already delving into. Among his first is to "make being a member of APA something that psychologists believe they simply cannot do without."
Anderson moved to Washington, D.C., with his wife of 16 years P. Elizabeth Anderson. Formerly the health and fitness journalist for the Providence Journal, Elizabeth has co-authored with her husband a soon-to-be-released book titled "Emotional Longevity: What Really Determines How Long You Live."