CNPAAEMI Henry Tomes Award Winners

As the executive director of the APA's Public Interest Directorate and throughout his career, Dr. Henry Tomes was a tireless advocate and transformative change agent who championed the psychological well-being of marginalized and underrepresented communities throughout this country. To honor Tomes' leadership and vision, the Council of National Psychology Associations for the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Interests (CNPAAEMI) created the Henry Tomes Awards to recognize individuals who:

(a) significantly contributed to the development and promotion of ethnic minority psychology;

(b) advocated for the interests and psychological well-being of individuals across multiple ethnic minority communities; and

(c) promoted unique opportunities to advance ethnic minority interests in psychological practice, science and education.

The Distinguished Lifetime award is intended to honor those whose lifetime career contributions have help to craft, mold and shape ethnic minority psychology which benefits all psychologists. The Emerging Leader award helps us to acknowledge and recognize our developing, exceptional talent and encourage others to keep the vision of ethnic minority psychology visible and present for the growth and benefit of future generations of psychologists. As the breadth and depth of these criteria suggest, these awards are truly designed to honor outstanding emerging leaders and distinguished eminent colleagues of the highest caliber. In 2007, CNPAAEMI's inaugural Distinguished Lifetime Contributions award was presented to an African American/Black psychologist, Dr. Joseph White. In 2009, the awards — the first time that both awards were given — were presented to two American Indian psychologists, Dr. Joseph E. Trimble and Dr. Joseph P. Gone.

2011 CNPAAEMI Henry Tomes Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contributions to the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Psychology

Richard M. Suinn, PhD
Presented: Jan. 26, 2011, Seattle, Wash.

This year's recipient of CNPAAEMI's Henry Tomes Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contributions to Ethnic Minority Psychology has more than 200 publications and is well-known for his research on acculturation and on anxiety management training. The Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale is the most widely used measure of Asian-American acculturation. His 1987 Educational and Psychological Measurement article that described the development of this scale has been cited over 200 times and his 1992 validity study on the measure in the same journal has been cited over 100 times. He also has two articles on anxiety that have been cited over 100 times and his work in this area led to his role as a consultant to various U.S. Olympic teams, as well as his election as the first ethnic minority elected to the Board of Directors and later to the presidency of the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy (AABT).

While he was president of AABT, he emphasized and monitored diversity in AABT convention programming. Dr. Suinn has been an effective administrator in many capacities. During his more than 20 years as Head of the Psychology Department at Colorado State University, he was instrumental in hiring and retaining women and men of color, and advocated for women and minorities within the university. His diversity-related governance in psychology has included membership on the Board of Directors of the Asian-American Psychological Association (AAPA) and chairing the APA Board of Ethnic Minority Affairs (BEMA).

He has literally changed the face of APA by helping form the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (APA Division 45), chairing the APA Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention and Training in Psychology (CEMRRAT), and serving on the search committee that selected Dr. Norman B. Anderson as APA Chief Executive Officer. In addition to his many other responsibilities, he served as the first ethnic minority city council member and later mayor of Fort Collins, Colorado. Suinn may be best known as the third ethnic minority president of APA, following Dr. Kenneth Clark and Dr. Logan Wright, and as the first Asian-American president of APA.

Equally notable is CEMRRAT's action to honor Suinn's work on ethnic minority recruitment, retention and training by establishing the Richard M. Suinn Minority Achievement Award, which is intended to honor those graduate psychology programs who have demonstrated excellence in the recruitment, retention and graduation of ethnic minority students. This award is unique in that only graduate students in the program are eligible to submit nominations. Suinn's lifetime contributions have helped to change the face of psychology.

2011 CNPAAEMI Henry Tomes Award for Exceptional Contributions of an Emerging Leader in Ethnic Minority Psychology

Lawrence H. Yang, PhD
Presented: Jan. 26, 2011, Seattle, Wash.

Of this year's Emerging Leader award recipient, one of the three recommenders wrote that: "Although he is a faculty member in the School of Public Health, he has continued the tradition from his graduate student days in mentoring ethnic minority psychology graduate students but this time with his research…Not part of his formal duties at Columbia, he meets weekly with a dozen graduate students of color from the New York City area for a research seminar… He has taken the additional step of serving as committee advisor for many of these same students' Master's and PhD theses." According to the recommender, the nominee's efforts enable graduate students of color to learn valuable research skills and more importantly, learn how factors associated with culture and immigration influence expressions of psychopathology.

Another shared the following: "I first met Dr. Yang in 1997 when he attended our first Building Bridges: Indigenous Students and Educators Conference. Although I had not met Larry until then, he had already had a big influence on my work at the University of South Dakota Clinical Psychology Training Program and my graduate students of color in that program.

Beginning in 1995, Larry and several other graduate students at Boston University developed the concept of "regional networking" into a series of graduate student multicultural conferences across the country. Dr. Yang and two of his colleagues at Boston University founded the Graduate Students for Multiculturalism in Mental Health (GSMMH) as a forum for students to nurture and develop each other's personal and professional interests in multicultural diversity."

These are only a few of the remarkable comments CNPAAEMI received and reviewed during the selection process last year. In the end, the decision was a difficult one given the remarkable pool of tremendously talented, committed and dedicated early career Asian-American/Pacific Islander psychologists.

CNPAAEMI is honored to bestow its 2011 Henry Tomes Award for an Emerging Leader in Ethnic Minority Psychology to Lawrence Yang, Columbia University. Yang has inspired many students of color to pursue careers in psychology, advocated convincingly on behalf of ethnic minority issues and concerns in organized psychology, and has demonstrated uniquely stellar analytical skills and abilities in his research and scholarship benefitting ethnic minority communities and interests. Many, including the Council, believe strongly that his efforts and contributions will have an enduring effect upon ethnic minority psychology's future.