March 7, 2010

Illinois State Senator Cullerton Recognized for Advocacy Work on Mental Health Issues

Washington, DC – Illinois State Senator John Cullerton (D) today received the 2010 State Legislator of the Year Award from the American Psychological Association Practice Organization (APAPO) in recognition of his legislative accomplishments to increase the availability of mental healthcare services and to promote greater public well being. Senator Cullerton was presented with the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Senator Cullerton has been a champion for persons with mental illnesses and addictive diseases during his 31-year tenure in the Illinois General Assembly. “Senator Cullerton’s sponsorship of bills supporting the needs of mentally ill is a measure of his dedication to those who are unable to advocate for themselves. He fights for causes that other legislators might avoid. His ability to successfully pass legislation is a measure of his ability to collaborate,” noted Terrence Koller, PhD, executive director of the Illinois Psychological Association.

“Advocacy for mental health issues at the state level is essential, and Senator Cullerton has been a strong supporter of both the field and profession of psychology. APA is proud to present this award to someone who has spearheaded efforts to expand mental health services in the state of Illinois,” says Katherine Nordal, PhD, executive director for professional practice at the American Psychological Association.

Over the years, Senator Cullerton has been a sponsor of legislation that directly benefits psychologists and consumers of psychological services in Illinois, including issues related to mental health parity and consumer protection through strong licensure laws.

“It's extremely important that lawmakers recognize the importance of providing equal medical coverage to those suffering from serious mental illnesses. I'm proud to have sponsored legislation to strengthen mental health insurance parity laws by providing equal insurance coverage for those suffering from eating disorders in Illinois. I'm honored by this award and I look forward to continuing to work with the American Psychological Association and the Illinois Psychological Association to promote mental health and awareness in Illinois,” states Senator Cullerton.

A Chicago native, Senator Cullerton became president of the Illinois State Senate in January 2010 and represents the state’s 6th district. Prior to his appointment as senate president, he served as the chairman of the Executive Subcommittee on Amendments and the Financial Institution Subcommittee on Special Issues and as the co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Since 2002, APAPO’s State Legislator of the Year Award has been presented annually to a state legislator who has prominently championed the goals of professional psychology.

The Illinois Psychological Association (IPA), in Chicago, Illinois, is the state’s largest professional organization representing psychology. IPA’s membership includes more than 1400 licensed psychologists, educators, consultants and students. IPA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare for all Illinois residents.

The American Psychological Association Practice Organization is an affiliate of the American Psychological Association, the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 152,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students.