Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest

This award recognizes people who have advanced psychology as a science and/or profession by a single extraordinary achievement or a lifetime of outstanding contributions in the public interest.

Sponsor: Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest

Description

Senior Career

This award recognizes an individual whose single extraordinary achievement or a lifetime of outstanding contributions meet one or more of the following criteria: (a) courageous and distinctive contribution(s) in the science or practice of psychology that significantly supports efforts toward a solution to one of the world's intransigent social problems; (b) distinctive and innovative contribution(s) that makes the science and/or practice of psychology more accessible to a broad and diverse population; and (c) an integration of the science and practice of psychology that serves the public interest and advances social justice and human welfare.

Early Career

This award recognizes an individual whose single extraordinary achievement or a lifetime of outstanding contributions meet one or more of the following criteria: (a) courageous and distinctive contribution(s) in the science or practice of psychology that significantly supports efforts toward a solution to one of the world's intransigent social problems; (b) distinctive and innovative contribution(s) that makes the science and/or practice of psychology more accessible to a broad and diverse population; and (c) an integration of the science and practice of psychology that serves the public interest and advances social justice and human welfare. To be eligible for this award, the nominee's terminal degree (generally a doctorate in psychology) must have been conferred no more than 10 years prior to the award year. For the 2015 award, nominees must have received this degree during or since 2005.

Awards

Each award recipient will receive:

  • A $1,000 honorarium.

  • An opportunity to present an invited address at the 2015 APA convention in Toronto, Canada

  • An invitation to submit a paper to the American Psychologist® on the topic of the address.

  • A waiver of 2015 convention registration fees and reimbursement of up to $1,500 in expenses related to attendance at the 2015 convention.

How to Apply

Nominations must be submitted with:

  • A supporting statement of 500 words or less is the basis for the nomination, including a description of how and why the candidate is uniquely qualified to receive the award.

  • A current vita.

  • Letters of support from at least three people familiar with the nominee's work.

Nominees may also submit 3-5 selected representative reprints, or alternative types of samples of work such as internet based communications or legal briefs.

Nominations and supporting material should be sent to:

Ms. Donnie Graham
APA Public Interest Directorate
750 First Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002-4242

Past Recipients

2014

The 2013 Committee on Psychology in the Public Interest Awards chose the following recipients to receive the Public Interest Awards at APA's 2014 Annual Convention, Aug. 7-10, in Washington, D.C.: 

Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest — Senior Career
Gary B. Melton, PhD
Gary Melton was appointed to the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect under the presidency of George H. W. Bush. He became a major architect in conceptualizing a system that, if accepted and instituted, would remake state and county child welfare programs nationwide. Melton developed a plan for the production of the report, including an ambitious background research effort to support changes in our child welfare so that children would be safer. His record (in the area of publications focused on law, psychology and public policy as applied to child and family issues) qualifies as the most distinguished among living psychologists. Melton has published nearly 350 chapters, articles or books on diverse topics of child and family policy and psychology. He has compiled a remarkable record of accomplishment in advocacy for children and families of great depth and substantial international scope.

Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy
Lonnie R. Snowden, Jr., PhD
Perhaps more than any other psychologist, clinical/community psychologist, Lonnie R. Snowden, Jr. has addressed disparities in access and quality of mental health care from a mental health policies, systems and program perspective.  Snowden is Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the School of Public Health’s Health Policy and Management Program. Snowden’s 135 publications include two articles published in the American Psychologist, one cited over 300 times, as well as two chapters in the Annual Review of Psychology and one in the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. Snowden’s research of the financing and organization of mental health services has important implications for current health care reform policy. Snowden represents the best among psychologist doing research with critical public policy implications.

2013

The 2012 Committee on Psychology in the Public Interest Awards chose the following recipients to receive the Public Interest Awards at APA's 2013 Annual Convention, in Honolulu: 

Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest — Senior Career

Derald Wing Sue, PhD
Sue began his five-decade career as one of the first psychologists to explicitly identify the harmfulness of culturally incompetent practice. His call to the field to address racial-cultural bias was revolutionary for its time, and subsequently, Sue chaired a 1981 Div. 17 committee charged with the development of multicultural counseling competencies. Under his leadership, the committee submitted a final report that was eventually adopted as the APA's Multicultural Guidelines (APA, 2002). This watershed document helped pave the way for psychologists' subsequent examination of all forms of identity and intersectionality throughout research, theory and practice.

Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest — Early Career

Thema Bryant-Davis, PhD
Bryant-Davis has conducted socially relevant research and published countless articles and book chapters on overarching topic of trauma recovery, and on global issues of HIV/AIDS and human trafficking. As president and past-president of the Society for the Psychology of Women, she undertook a bold initiative: production of a video on human trafficking that illustrates the connection between trafficking and slavery, the persuasiveness of the problem internationally and within the U.S., and best practices for working with trafficking survivors.

Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy

Michelle Fine, PhD
Fine has made substantial, long-term contributions to psychology that support the solution of intransigent social problems, improving our understanding of educational inequalities, the impact of prison experiences and violence against women. From this research, he has authored countless articles and books. His research in these three areas also includes a strong focus on the ways that gender, race and social class operate within education and prison settings, and are played out in the context of violence against women. Fine has contributed expert and other forms of testimony with the legal system, and has worked closely with an enormous number of community organizations and institutions in each of these areas.

2012

The 2011 Committee on Psychology in the Public Interest Awards chose the following recipients to receive the Public Interest Awards at the 2012 APA Convention in Orlando:

Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest — Senior Career

Bernice Lott, PhD
There are few more intransigent social problems in the world today than poverty, and through her 50 years of scholarship and activism, Lott has led psychology in aligning itself explicitly with action to end poverty. Lott's commitment to social justice has been a guiding force within her career from the beginning, as her groundbreaking research on gender, ethnicity, race and multiculturalism demonstrates.

Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest — Early Career

Marguerita Lightfoot, PhD
Lightfoot, a counseling psychologist by training, has made extraordinary contributions to advance HIV prevention among urban at-risk adolescent populations. She is currently a full professor at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center where she serves as the co-director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies. Lightfoot is a trailblazer in the use of social media as a way to deliver effective HIV preventions to youth.

Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy

Dan Olweus, PhD
For four decades, Olweus has led an extraordinary international program of research on the requisites for prevention of violence. Olweus is consensually recognized as the world's leading expert on bullying and its prevention. His approach to bullying is consistent with his multifaceted approach to the study of aggression: societal, institutional, familial, situational and psychological.

2011

The 2010 Committee on Psychology in the Public Interest Awards chose the following recipients to receive the Public Interest Awards at the 2011 APA Convention in Washington:

Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest — Senior Career

Roxane Cohen Silver, PhD
Department of Psychology and Social Behavior
University of California, Irvine
Silver's research concerns responses to traumatic life events. She is one of the country's leading experts on psychological reactions to trauma. Her research has addressed the reactions and adjustment of people facing a broad array of crises, including medical illnesses, sudden infant death syndrome, divorce, the Vietnam War, AIDS, fires, school, violence and most importantly, the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest — Early Career

Edward Delgado-Romero, PhD
Department of Counseling and Human Development Services
University of Georgia
Delgado-Romero's research has addressed racial/ethnic issues in psychology and has applied multicultural psychology to clinical practice. In addition to his research productivity, he has also been committed to training the next generation of culturally competent psychologists and to increasing the pipeline of the Latino/a psychology professionals.

Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy

Richard Rogers, PhD, ABPP
Department of Psychology
University of North Texas
Rogers casts a long shadow over the realm of psychological research with important public policy implications. Following the public outcry over Hinckley's acquittal for the attempted assassination of President Reagan, Rogers' development of the R-CRAS provided an empirical basis for addressing these controversies. His American Psychologist article and other contributions intelligently and influentially informed public policy and successfully countered calls for outright abolition of the insanity defense. The aforementioned policy-related achievements are important and lasting, but Rogers' most uniquely impactful contribution to public policy is his enhancement of our understanding of constitutional protections embodied in Miranda rights.

2010

Perry N. Halkitis, PhD (Early Career)
Norman Abeles, PhD (Senior Career)
G. Daniel Lassiter, PhD (Public Policy)

2009

Keith Humphreys, PhD (Early Career)
Beverly Greene, PhD (Senior Career)
Charlotte Patterson, PhD
Laurence Steinberg, PhD

2008

Phillip Zimbardo, PhD (senior career)
Rebecca Campbell, PhD (early career)

2007

Gary W. Harper (early career)
Larke Nahme Huang

2006

Rose L. Clark (early career)
McCay Vernon

2005

Daniel Dodgen (early career)
Margaret Beale Spencer

2004

Dante Cicchetti (senior)
Susan Limber (early career)

2003

Claude M. Steele (senior)

2002

Phyllis A. Katz (senior)*
Melba J.T. Vasquez (senior)*
Brian Smedley (early career)

*This award was shared; it was not an award for collaboration.

2001

Martha Bernal (senior)
Edward Dunbar (early career)

2000

Lillian Comas-Díaz (senior)
Jeannette R. Ickovics (early career)

1998/1999

Bonnie R. Strickland (senior)

1997

James G. Kelly (senior)
Maria P. P. Root (early career)

1996

Gregory Herek (early career)
Alan I. Leshner (senior)

1995

David A. Riley
Nancy Felipe Russo

1994

Robert Q. Pollard Jr.
Durand F. Jacobs

1993

Laura C. Leviton
Patrick H. DeLeon

1992

Hortensia Amaro
Florence L. Denmark

1991

Susan T. Fiske
Evelyn Hooker

1990

Baruch Fischhoff
David Lykken

1989

Emory L. Cowen
William Bevan
Leonard Saxe

1988

Ellen Langer
M. Brewster Smith

1987

Michael J. Saks
Urie Bronfenbrenner

1986

Stanley Sue
John Janeway Conger

1985

Gary B. Melton
Jerome D. Frank

1984

Patric H. DeLeon
Seymore B. Sarason

1983

James S. Jackson
Stuart W. Cook

1982

Edward F. Zigler

1981

Herbert C. Kelman

1980

Isidor Chein
Nicholas Hobbs

1979

Marie Johada
Otto Klineberg

1978

Kenneth B. Clark