Psychology and AIDS Leadership Award Recipients

The APA Ad Hoc Committee on Psychology and AIDS (COPA) presents the Psychology and AIDS Leadership Award to actively demonstrate COPA’s commitment to ensuring that issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS are kept at the forefront of psychological research, education, training and practice. The Psychology and AIDS Leadership Award recognizes distinguished leaders in the field who have made substantial contributions and show promise of an extensive, influential career. 

The award is given in two categories, emerging and distinguished leaders, in one or more areas of influence: service provision, research, teaching/mentoring and policy/advocacy.

2014 Psychology and AIDS Leadership Award Presentation

The presentation of the Psychology and AIDS Leadership Awards will take place during the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto. Chair Matthew Skinta, PhD, of the Committee on Psychology and AIDS, will present the award.


2015 Distinguished Leader Award
Perry Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH

Perry Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, receives the 2015 Psychology and AIDS Distinguished Leader Award as a Distinguished Leader for his tireless and intrepid efforts to prevent the spread of HIV and create a better world for those living with HIV/AIDS through his research, teaching, advocacy and service.

Perry Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPHHalkitis is one of the nation's leading experts on substance use and HIV behavioral research and an award winning author. Halkitis is professor of applied psychology, global public health and medicine, director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS), and associate dean of academic affairs at the Global Institute of Public Health at New York University. Halkitis's program of research examines the intersection between the HIV epidemic, drug abuse and mental health burden, primarily in LGBT populations. CHIBPS, the research center he directs, conducts cutting-edge biobehavioral studies, serves as a training site for the next generation of scholars and partners with community agencies to conduct studies for and with the LGBT population. His research program has been funded by various private and public entities, including the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York Community Trust and American Psychological Foundation, among others, at approximately $20 million. 

Halkitis's newest book, "The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience," is a 2014 Lambda Literary award nominee and recipient of the APA Distinguished Book Award in LGBT Psychology. His first book, "Methamphetamine Addiction: Biological Foundations, Psychological Factors, and Social Consequences," was published in 2009, Halkitis is also the lead editor of two volumes: "HIV + Sex: The Psychological and Interpersonal Dynamics of HIV-seropositive Gay and Bisexual Men's Relationships" (2005) and "Barebacking: Psychosocial and Public Health Perspectives" (2006). He is editor-in-chief of the journal Behavioral Medicine and serves on numerous other editorial boards. Author of over 160
peer-reviewed academic manuscripts, Halkitis is often cited in the press.

He is an elected member of the CDC and Health Services Research Administration Advisory Committee on HIV and STD Prevention. He served as a member of the Committee on Psychology and AIDS and as its chair. Halkitis is the recipient of numerous awards, including the APA Psychology and AIDS Emerging Leader (2002), and an elected a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and four divisions of APA. He holds degrees in psychology, education and public health.

Willo Pequegnat, PhD

Willo Pequegnat, PhD, receives the 2015 Distinguished Contributions Award for her career of leadership, mentorship and advocacy that have shaped the course of science and treatment for persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Pequegnat’s mentorship and guidance have shaped three generations of HIV/AIDS researchers.

Willo Pequegnat, PhDPequegnat is associate director of the International AIDS Prevention Research in the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) Division of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health. As the senior prevention scientist, Pequegnat has a range of experience with both national and international HIV/STD prevention research and has expertise in primary and secondary behavioral preventive interventions, stress and coping, psychological, neuropsychological and physical functioning, and quality of life. Her research involves multilevel social organization and complex relationships: couples, families, communities, societal (media, policy), technological (internet, web, etc.) in national and international settings. She is working on the issue of social instability, such as consequences of war, terrorism, migration, female and drug trafficking on HIV/STD transmission. Pequegnat is serving as a principal investigator (staff collaborator) on three randomized clinical trials: (1) NIMH Collaborative HIV/STD Prevention Trial which is a community-based trial that is being conducted in five countries (China, India, Peru, Russia and Zimbabwe); (2) NIMH Multisite HIV Prevention Trial with African-American Couples which is a four-city preventive intervention with serodiscordant African-American couples; and (3) NIMH Healthy Living Project which is a four-city study of prevention effort with HIV+ men and women. She took the initiative to develop a research program on the role of families in preventing and adapting to HIV/AIDS and chairs the only annual international research conference on families and HIV/AIDS. She co-edited the book on this program of research entitled, Working with Families in the Era of AIDS. Pequegnat initiated and is co-editor of "How to Write a Successful Research Grant Application: A Guide for Social and Behavioral Scientists, Community Interventions and AIDS," and "From Child Sexual Abuse to Adult Sexual Risk: Trauma, Revictimization, and Intervention." She has developed three special issues of AIDS and one of Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. She plans and implements national and international workshops, conferences and symposia on HIV/STD, and represents NIMH on science policy-making committees and workgroups in the public health system on a broad range of HIV/STD issues.

2015 Emerging Leader Award
Adam W. Carrico, PhD

Adam W. Carrico, PhD, receives the 2015 Psychology and AIDS Emerging Leader Award for his unswerving dedication to improving health outcomes among persons living with or at high risk for HIV through exceptional research, teaching, mentoring and service to the field.

Adam W. Carrico, PhDCarrico is assistant professor in the department of community health systems in the school of nursing at the University of California, San Francisco with strong ties to the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies.

He is pursuing a program of community-engaged, clinical research to to integrate behavioral and biomedical approaches to HIV prevention with marginalized, underserved populations. His prior research examined the efficacy of psychological interventions for HIV-positive persons and documented HIV-related health disparities among those who use stimulants (i.e., cocaine, crack and methamphetamine). Carrico is testing psychological interventions that are designed to optimize HIV/AIDS prevention efforts with stimulant-using men who have sex with men and stimulant-using female sex workers. The ultimate goal of this program of research will be to determine whether integrative interventions targeting affect regulation can boost the effectiveness of biomedical approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention with stimulant users. Learn more about the work of Carrico.

Carrico’s research interests include: substance abuse, emotion regulation, trauma, HIV-related health disparities and behavioral interventions to optimize HIV/AIDS prevention.