APA recognizes leaders in HIV/AIDS

Drs. Marguerita Lightfoot and Scyatta Wallace are honored for their leadership and outstanding research

Dr. Marguerita Lightfoot, former COPA member, receives prestigious APA award

Marguerita Lightfoot, PhDMarguerita Lightfoot, PhD received the APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest (Early Career) for her extraordinary contributions to advance HIV prevention among urban at-risk adolescent populations. 

Dr. Lightfoot was recognized for her leadership, innovation and commitment to applying psychological principles to develop behavioral health interventions for vulnerable populations, particularly homeless adolescents and racial/ethnic groups. Her professional career has been dedicated to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic both in the United States and Africa. Lightfoot pioneered the use of computer-based interventions based on rigorous psychological principles, including the innovation of using text messaging and web-based social networking forums to deliver prevention messages to youth. She is dedicated to mentoring students and new researchers as well as working hand in hand with the communities she serves in order to effect change.

Lightfoot received $1,000 honorarium and presented an invited address at the 2012 APA convention in Orlando, Fla. She also received an invitation to submit a paper to the American Psychologist® on the topic of the address.

Lightfoot received her doctorate in counseling psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is currently an associate professor of medicine and co-director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research interests are in the areas of adolescents, health and prevention. She is particularly interested in developing cost-effective interventions that are translatable in community settings and utilizes new technologies to engage disenfranchised individuals in health promotion activities. Her work in HIV-prevention has included developing interventions for runaway/homeless youth, juvenile justice involved adolescents and youth living with HIV, among others. Lighfoot was a member of the APA Ad Hoc Committee on Psychology and AIDS from 2009 to 2011.

Former COPA chair Dr. Scyatta Wallace receives APA Division 35 award

Dr. Gwendolyn Keita and Dr. Scyatta WallaceThe Society for the Psychology of Women American Psychological Association (Division 35) presented the Carolyn Payton Early Career Award to Scyatta A. Wallace, PhD at the 2012 APA Annual Convention. 

Dr. Wallace received the award in recognition of her outstanding research paper, "Gold Diggers, Video Vixens, and Jezebel:  Stereotype Images and Substance Use Among Urban African American Girls," which advances knowledge on the psychology of Black women.

Scyatta A. Wallace, PhDScyatta A. Wallace, PhD, received her doctorate in developmental psychology from Fordham University and her BA in psychology from Yale University. Dr. Wallace also completed a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Her research interests include examining contextual and cultural influences associated with HIV risk among Black adolescents and young adults.

Wallace is currently an associate professor in the department of psychology at St. John’s University. Currently she is principal investigator on a four-year study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The objective of the study is to develop culturally tailored and gender specific health education materials that promote HIV testing among low income heterosexual young adult Black men recently released for jail/prison. In addition, she has received funding from NIH and other federal agencies and foundations for her work focused on substance use and sexual risk among black youth.

Wallace is an NIH Loan Repayment recipient (2006-present). Previous honors include receiving a three year summer visiting professorship at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California at San Francisco, being named an NIH Health Disparities Scholar (2002-2004), receiving the first Dalmas A. Taylor Summer Policy Fellowship (2000) awarded by the American Psychological Association and receiving a Graduate Research Ethics Education Training fellowship from the National Science Foundation (1998-2001). Wallace is currently on the editorial board of the scientific journal, Applied Developmental Science. She was a member of the APA Ad Hoc Committee on Psychology and AIDS since 2009, serving as its chair from 2010 to 2011.