APA SfHP Graduate Student Research Awards

The Society for Health Psychology (Division 38 of the American Psychological Association) sponsors six graduate student awards each year to support new research. Each award is for $2000.



For further information, please email apadiv38.studentawards@gmail.com.



  • Etiology, promotion and maintenance of health;
  • Prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of physical illness;
  • Psychological, social, emotional and behavioral factors in physical illness;
  • Child health psychology; and
  • Health care systems and health policy.


The SfHP recognizes the need to increase the number of scientists from underrepresented groups participating in research relevant to health psychology. The purpose of this program is to provide a graduate student from an underrepresented group with funding to allow them to successfully complete a health psychology relevant research project.

Eligible applicants are graduate student members of SfHP who self-identify as being from one of the underrepresented groups in biomedical and health psychology research:

  1. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis. The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical and health psychology research: African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be convincingly demonstrated to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in this program.
  2. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  3. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as:
    1. Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size; published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at HHS – Poverty Guidelines, Research, and Measurement. For individuals from low income backgrounds, the participants must have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or they have received any of the following student loans: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.
    2. Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.


Health disparities are defined as “differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population group” (National Institutes of Health). In particular, the award for health disparities research is intended to support research focusing on various health conditions that are more prevalent, serious, or specific to disadvantaged and medically underserved groups, or on healthcare inequities relevant to these groups, specifically, ethnic minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged individuals in rural and urban areas.

Previous Winners

2017 Graduate Student Research Awards:

  • Chloe Boyle, MS, (University of California, Los Angeles), for “Stress, Inflammation and Reward Processing: Implications for Major Depressive Disorder”
  • Casey Gardiner, MA, (University of Colorado, Boulder), for “Mechanisms of Dietary Behavior Change: Incentives, Motivation, and Weight Status”
  • Kristie Harris MS, (Ohio State University), for “Insomnia, Cognitive Impairment, and Decision-Making Among Patients with Heart Failure: A Randomized Study of Brief Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia”
  • Amy Noser, MS, (University of Kansas), for “Physical Activity and Glycemic Variability in Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes”
  • Sarah Stromberg, MS, (University of Florida), for “The Impact of Pre-Surgical Dietary and Psychosocial Factors on Post-Surgical Diet in a Population of Bariatric Surgery Patients”

2016 Graduate Student Research Awards:

  • Michael Bernstein, MA, (University of Rhode Island), for  “A Text Message Intervention for Reducing 21st Birthday Alcohol Involvement”
  • Lacey Clement, MA,  (University of Colorado, Denver), for “Death Anxiety and Meaning in Life as Predictors of Medical Decision Making in Patients with Heart Failure”
  • Helen Murray, (Drexel University), for“Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Decision-Making and Reward Sensitivity: Impact on Dietary Consumption and Weight”
  • Courtney Stevens, MA, (University of Colorado, Boulder), for “Get ACTive! A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effectiveness of an Acceptance-Based Behavioral Intervention to Promote Exercise Adoption and Maintenance”
  • Ashley Whillans, MA, (University of British Columbia), for “From Misperception to Social Connection: Fostering Friendships and Health among First Year University Students”

2016 Travel Awards for Outstanding SfHP Poster Presentations:

  • Shuchang Kang, (University of Florida), for “A Culturally Sensitive Church-Based Health Promotion Intervention for African Americans”
  • Melissa A. Kwitowski, (Virginia Commonwealth University), for “Stakeholders’ Perspectives on School Food Policies in a Title-I Elementary School”
  • Anna G. Larson, (University of Wisconsin, Madison), for “Mindfulness Facilitates Psychological and Physical Functioning After Stem Cell Transplantation”
  • Tyler C. McDaniel, (University of South Carolina), for “Gene-Environment Interaction Predicts BMI in Underserved African American Adults”
  • Kyle A. Schofield, (Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH), for “Emotional Adjustment to Congenital Heart Disease: The Role of Perceived Health Competence”
  • Jaime L. Williams, (University of Florida), for “Impact of a Health-Promotion Program on Employees’ Motivators of and Barriers to Healthy Behaviors”

2015 Graduate Student Awards: 

  • Laura A. Cousins, MA, Georgia State University
  • Nicole A. Hollingshead, MS, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
  • KayLoni L. Olson, MA, Ohio State University
  • Megan E. Sutter, MS, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Jennalee S. Wooldridge, MA, University of Colorado, Denver

2015 Travel Awards for Outstanding Division 38 Student Posters:

  • Matthew Clyde, MS, for “Smoking Cessation Self-Efficacy and Symptoms of Withdrawal in Individuals”
  • Krystal S. Frieson, EdS, for “MACARTI: Psychological Predictors of HIV Medical Adherence and Viral Load Suppression”
  • Liz Midence, MS, for “Psychosocial Outcomes among Women referred to different Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Models”
  • Chung Jung Mun, MA, for “Influence of Adolescent Weight Concern Trajectories on Symptoms of Eating Disorders and Weight Gain”
  • Guillermo M Wippold, MS, for “Health Self-Empowerment Theory: A Predictor of Health Behaviors among Overweight Hispanic Adults”

2015 Early Career Professionals Awards for Outstanding Division 38 Presentations:

  • Gregory Privitera, PhD, for “Emolabeling Increases Healthy Food Choice With Grade School Children in a Grocery Aisle Setting”
  • Ryan A. McKelley, PhD, for “Placebo Study on the Efficacy of Heart-Rate Variability (HRV) Biofeedback on Acute Stress”

2014 Graduate Student Awards:

  • Jiabin Shen (University of Alabama in Birmingham), for “A Randomized Trial Evaluating Child Dog-Bite Prevention in Rural China through Video-Based Testimonials”
  • Kimberly Bowen (University of Utah), for “Testing a Mediational Model of Culture, Social Support, and Health”
  • Michelle Zaso (Syracuse University), for “Interaction Effects between the DRD4 VNTR and Heavy-Drinking Peers on Alcohol Consumption”
  • Jennifer Pellowski (University of Connecticut), for “Patient Self-Advocacy and Low Health Literacy among People Living with HIV”
  • Jessica Chiang (University of California, Los Angeles), for “Early Family Stress and Inflammation: Underlying Biological and Psychosocial Mechanism”

2013 Graduate Student Awards:

  • Amitha Gumidyala (Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science), for “Understanding Factors that Influence Transition Readiness of Youth with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Socioecological Approach”
  • Caitlin Murray (Loyola University Chicago), for “Sleep-wake Disturbances and Psychological Health in Youth with Spina Bifida”
  • Lauren Greenberg (Drexel University), for “A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the Efficacy of Problem Solving Therapy to Enhanced Treatment-as-Usual for Reducing High Blood Pressure”
  • Jennifer Boylan (The University of Wisconsin Madison), for “Psychosocial Moderators and Neurobiological Mediators of Inequalities in Health”
  • Anjali Rameshbabu (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), for ” Self-regulation of Saturated Fat Intake in Blue-collar Employees: The Saturated Fats Study”

2012 Graduate Student Awards: 

  • Laramie Gress-Smith (University of Connecticut), for “A Theory-Based Approach to Strengthening Retention in HIV Care in the Inner City”
  • Sandra Coulon (University of South Carolina), for “Social-Environmental, Physiologic, and Genetic Determinants of Blood Pressure in Underserved African Americans”
  • Erin Rabideau (Ohio University), for “Direct and indirect effects of performance-related feedback on cortisol levels”
  • Emily Zale (Texas A&M University), for “The Effects of Smoking Abstinence on Pain Reactivity: A Human Experimental Study”
  • Akhila Sravish (University of Massachusetts), for “Cardiac and Affective Activation: Exploring Bio-Behavioral Stress Markers in Infant-Mother Dyads following a Social Stressor”

2011 Graduate Student Awards:

  • Jenny Cundiff (University of Utah), for “Relative Social Status, Interpersonal Dominance, and Cardiovascular Reactivity”
  • Jenna Gress-Smith (Arizona State University), for “Resilient Profiles and Postpartum Depression in Low-Income Mexican American Women”
  • Liisa Hantsoo (The Ohio State University), for “Genetic Variants and Dietary Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Intake: Associations with Negative Affect”
  • Suman Lam (University of California, Irvine), for “Chronic Stress and Emotion Regulation: Effects on the Cortisol Awakening Response”
  • Sara Mijares St. George (University of South Carolina), for “Examining Parent-Adolescent Health Behaviors in a Family-based Intervention for Improving Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Diet”

2010 Graduate Student Awards:

  • Shiquina L. Andrews (University of Alabama at Birmingham), for “The Effects of Spiritually Integrated Therapy on Psychological Distress in Infertile Women”
  • Matthew R. Cribbet (University of Utah), for “An Examination of Marital Quality and Insomnia: A Daily Diary and Ambulatory Physiology Monitoring Approach”
  • Jessie D. Heath (Syracuse University),  for “Health Disparities Examining the Impact of Provider Stigmatization on the Care of HIV+ Patients: Effects to Engagement in Care, Comfort, and Perceptions of Healthcare Providers”
  • Meghan E. McGrady (University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center), for “Illness Representations and Glycemic Control in Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes”
  • Shu-wen Wang (University of California, Los Angeles), for “Stress Responses to Social Support in Asian American and European American Students: Implications for Health and Wellbeing”

2009 Graduate Student Awards:

  • Andrea R. Croom (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center), for “Grandparent Involvement in Families of Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes”
  • Ann Marie Hernandez (Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis), for “Illness Representations of Breast Cancer among Hispanics”
  • Sarah Linke (SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology), for “Walk Away from the Habit: Overcoming Nicotine Dependence through Exercise”
  • Natalie Stevens (University of Kansas), for “Measuring Perceived Control and Satisfaction with the Childbirth Experience”
  • Victoria Willard (Duke University), for “Deficits in Social Functioning in Survivors of Pediatric Brain Tumors”

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