Feature

APA members have elected Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD, a distinguished research professor at Florida State University College of Medicine, as the association’s 2012 president.

With 30-plus years of research funding from the National Institutes of Health, Johnson has focused her work on medical regimen adherence, childhood diabetes, pediatric obesity, and the psychological impact of genetic screening on children and families. She received awards for her research contributions from the Society of Pediatric Psychology, the Association of Medical School Psychologists and the American Diabetes Association.

Johnson was director of the Center for Pediatric and Family Studies at the University of Florida Health Science Center until 2002, when she became the chair of the department of medical humanities and social sciences at the Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee, the first new medical school to be established in 25 years.

“After 35 years in academia, I have given up my administrative duties to devote my time to research and service. I am grateful for my career as a psychologist and service to psychology is my way of giving back,” Johnson says. “I am honored to have been chosen to serve as APA president.”

A licensed psychologist who holds certification from the American Board of Professional Psychology, Johnson spent more than three decades seeing children and families in a pediatric diabetes clinic as part of an integrated multidisciplinary care team. She worked with the American Diabetes Association to develop standards for the psychological care of patients with diabetes and worked with the APA Practice Directorate to establish the Health and Behavior CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) codes, permitting psychological services to be reimbursed as part of the medical benefit.

She received her BA in psychology from Cornell University and her PhD in clinical psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Johnson has chaired 56 completed master’s theses and doctoral dissertations and has been instrumental in developing an innovative, integrated biopsychosocial curriculum for FSU’s College of Medicine.

As co-chair of the psychosocial studies committee of NIH’s Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young study, she is responsible for all psychological components of this international study. The National Academy of Science’s report on International Collaborations in Social and Behavioral Research was a product of her work as chair of the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Psychological Science. She is a member of the International Union of Science’s Planning Group on Health and Well-being in the Changing Urban Environment.

Johnson served as president of the Society of Pediatric Psychology, president of Div. 38 (Health) and was an APA Council Representative for Florida and Div. 38. She chaired APA’s Board of Professional Affairs and its Board of Scientific Affairs and is currently a member of APA’s Board of Directors.

In 2001–02, serving as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow for then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Johnson helped develop Clinton’s response to the mental health needs of New York City children after 9/11. The Lifespan Respite Care Act, which Johnson wrote during her fellowship, became law in 2006.

Election results

  • Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD
    7,662 votes

  • Donald N. Bersoff, PhD, JD
    5,264 votes

  • Paul L. Craig, PhD
    3,459 votes

  • Robert “Bob” H. Woody, PhD, ScD, JD
    2,553 votes

  • Armand R. Cerbone, PhD
    1,563 votes