People

Psychologist Ruby Takanishi, PhD, president of the Foundation for Child Development (FCD), accepted the 2005 Distinguished Contribution Award from the American Sociological Association's Section on Children and Youth on behalf of the foundation in August. FCD is a national privately endowed philanthropy based in New York City.

The award--which is given every three years to honor an individual or organization that makes strong connections between research and policy that affect the lives of children and youth--recognizes the breadth of FCD's work, including the establishment of the field of childhood social indicators. The field includes the Child Well-Being Index, an annual composite number that reflects the changing status of children over a 30-year period.

In June, psychologist Diana Zuckerman, PhD, met with White House Domestic Policy Council officials to discuss the Food and Drug Administration's upcoming decision on whether to approve silicone implants.

Zuckerman gave the officials a brief history of the implants, along with photographs of women who had had problems with their implants.

Zuckerman is president of the National Research Center for Women & Families, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to improve the lives of adults and children.

In the spring, Richard Gordon, PhD, a clinical psychology professor at Bard College, received three honors for his research on and contributions to understanding eating disorders and social and cultural effects on mental health.

In May, the American Psychiatric Association inducted Gordon as an honorary fellow for his contributions to an analysis of social and cultural issues in the rise of biological psychiatry.

In April, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's Eating Disorders Multidisciplinary Team and Cadet Health Promotion and Wellness Council awarded Gordon the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal for developing effective treatment and prevention efforts for eating disorders among cadets.

The same month, the Academy for Eating Disorders designated Gordon a fellow at the academy's annual meeting for his contributions to the understanding and treatment of eating disorders.

The Commissioned Officer Training Academy (COTA) in Rockville, Md., named clinical psychologist Cmdr. Dana Taylor, PhD, as its new director of the Public Health Service Training Academy in June.

The Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which consists of more than 6,000 health-care professionals, is one of seven uniformed services divisions whose members can be called to duty 24 hours a day to respond to public health crises and emerging needs.

In 2000, Taylor joined the pilot development team that formed COTA. Over the past five years, he has conducted training programs for more than 3,000 officers and supervisors in 18 states and territories. He has also initiated a National Coalition of Associate Instructors to augment the effectiveness and reach of the academy.

Taylor has worked in clinical care, program development and management and training in a variety of public and private venues--including the Federal Detention Center in Miami, where he served as director of clinical training, program manager for suicide prevention and crisis intervention and coordinator of the comprehensive treatment unit.

In July, APA Fellow Sheldon Cohen, PhD, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, received a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to research the connection between physical health and social factors, such as relationships and family upbringing.

In 1997, Cohen, a health psychologist, published a landmark article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 277, No. 24) demonstrating that people with diverse social networks and greater sociability have better health practices and increased resistance to disease than others. The NIH grant will help Cohen and his colleagues build on the 1997 work by exploring two major questions:

  • What is the impact of a person's social environment on their health and well-being? The researchers will study participants' childhood experiences, including the safety of their home and neighborhood, their activities as children and their parents' social networks, as well as the nature of their current social activities and relationships.

  • Which biological factors are influenced by social well-being? Cohen already has established, for example, that people with numerous and diverse relationships are less susceptible to infection than others.

Psychologist Arthur Jones, PhD, an APA member, was the featured speaker at The Faith & Politics Institute's 13th Annual Congressional Reception in July. Jones spoke on the history and meaning of spiritual songs created by African slaves.

Jones, a clinical psychology professor at the University of Denver, is the founder of The Spirituals Project, a nonprofit organization based at the university that preserves and revitalizes the tradition of sacred songs.

The Faith & Politics Institute is an interfaith, bipartisan organization that provides political leaders with opportunities to use spiritual values, such as conscience, courage, civility, respect and compassion.

Sponsors of the reception included Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Indiana State University's Blumberg Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Special Education named psychologist Leah M. Nellis, PhD, its new director in July.

Nellis, an APA member, previously worked in Indianapolis for Rising Individualization to Special Education Special Services, a cooperative program that provides free special education services to more than 3,500 students in 34 states. She has also worked as a faculty member at Northern Arizona University and the University of Kentucky.

The Blumberg Center provides technical support and professional development for special education programs in Indiana.

--Z. STAMBOR