• The University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy has named psychologists Patrick DeLeon, PhD, JD, and Jerry Johnson, PhD, as recipients of the annual Advancement of Pharmacy Excellence Award winners. This award recognizes steadfast vision, dedication and commitment to pharmacy practice and education.

  • Psychologist Al Holland, PhD, worked with the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped for 69 days. Holland, who works with NASA astronauts living in cramped quarters, counseled miners while they were still underground on the importance of maintaining civil group interactions and the need for personal time and privacy in cramped quarters. “We provided information and guidance on individual coping mechanisms on how to manage themselves and their emotions,” says Holland. “It can be hard for people to manage team dynamics in a confined space over time, and we wanted to help make sure they got everything they needed.”

  • Clinical psychologist Jenelle Krishnamoorthy, PhD, is the new health policy director for the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which has a broad jurisdiction over the country’s health-care, education, employment and retirement policies. Krishnamoorthy previously worked as the lead health staff member for the committee’s chair, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and has also worked with the State Department through a diplomacy fellowship.

  • Wright State University has named School of Professional Psychology professor Cheryl Meyer, PhD, JD, university professor, a special title awarded by university trustees to professors who have made outstanding contributions beyond the confines of their disciplines. Meyer, who studies mothers who kill their children, has made scholarly contributions to criminal justice, law, public health and women’s studies.

  • Kathy Ruddy was named the United Kingdom Graduate of the Year in social sciences and humanities by Graduate 100, an initiative that works with educators and businesses in the United Kingdom to recognize top students. Ruddy, a psychology student, graduated at the top of her undergraduate class at Queen’s University. She has continued her studies at the school and is currently a doctoral student focusing on motor control and stroke rehabilitation.

  • The Assembly of Scientist/Practitioner Psychologists, a caucus of APA’s Council of Representatives, has selected Alvin Thomas, a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Michigan, as the 2011 Student Award winner. Thomas was selected for his dedication to the scientist-practitioner model and the optimism and energy he brings to his research on enhancing youth’s ability to manage emotions and aggressive behavior. As the award recipient, Thomas will attend a Council of Representatives meeting in Washington, D.C., in February.

More psychologists elected to the IOM

Three more psychologists have been elected to the Institute of Medicine. Election to the institute is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. The psychologists are:

  • Hortensia Amaro, PhD, an associate dean and distinguished professor in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences and director of the Institute on Urban Health Research at Northeastern University. Amaro’s work has focused on translating substance abuse and HIV research into practice by taking into account gender and cultural concerns. The Boston Public Health Commission, Boston’s health department, has adopted her models for HIV prevention and treatment of co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders into its own community-based services.

  • Sue Curry, PhD, is dean of the college of public health and distinguished professor of health management and policy at the University of Iowa. Her work focuses on translating evidence-based practice interventions into front-line health-care delivery, with an emphasis on smoking cessation. Her research includes the evaluation of online strategies to encourage the use of smoking-cessation treatments among young adult smokers.

  • Caryn Lerman, PhD, is endowed professor and the interim director of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine. Lerman studies how genetics and brain function influence tobacco addiction and develops novel treatments to help people quit smoking.

In addition to electing three new psychologists, the Institute of Medicine honored Nancy Adler, PhD, with the David Rall Medal for distinguished work, including contributing her expertise to the “Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs” guidelines.

Facing autism’s challenges

University of Victoria psychology professor Jim Tanaka, PhD, has created a computer program to help children with autism recognize faces and emotions. The free Let’s Face It! program uses seven computer games to teach the children to recognize entire faces, learn cues from people’s eyes and differentiate among emotions such as anger and sadness. In a randomized clinical trial, he found a reliable improvement in these children’s ability to recognize faces after 20 hours of home use. Tanaka has made the program available to parents and psychologists for free this year.

“Most of us are facial recognition experts,” says Tanaka. “But people with autism struggle to recognize the emotional cues we take for granted.”

Children with autism, he says, tend to look at the minute details of an object. His program teaches them to look at the whole face.

For more information and to download the Let’s Face It! program, visit the Let's Face It! website.

—J. Clark