2012 Award Recipients


2012 Award Recipients

Excellence in Health Psychology Research Award

Jerry M. Suls, PhD

University of Iowa

By Alexander Rothman, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

I am delighted to introduce Jerry Suls as the recipient of the 2012 Excellence in Health Psychology Research Award.

Jerry is a professor of psychology and Collegiate Fellow at the University of Iowa. He received his undergraduate and graduate training in psychology at Temple University and, before joining the faculty at the University of Iowa in 1990, he was on the faculty at Georgetown University and SUNY-Albany.

In baseball, they speak of truly great players as five-tool players – they excel at everything: hitting for average, hitting for power, base running, fielding, and throwing. In academia, one also finds people who excel at everything – our own “five tool” players. In this case, the five tools could be described as – research, academic leadership, professional leadership, teaching, and mentoring. With this award, Division 38 honors one of our own five-tool players as we recognize the contributions Jerry has and continues to make to the field of health psychology.

Through his research and writing, Jerry has made extensive contributions to the field. He has published over 125 papers and edited or co-edited twelve books. His work sits at the intersection of social, personality, and health psychology, and engages all facets of the biopsychosocial model. Jerry’s influence – his fingerprints – can be found in numerous areas within health psychology. For example, he has helped us understand how social comparison processes shape how people think and reason about their health; he has mapped out the complex interplay of social, psychological, and physiological processes that underlie the interpretation of physical symptoms and their effect on treatment seeking; he has clarified the role that stress plays in the recovery from or management of chronic illness and the impact that psychosocial factors have on the etiology of coronary heart disease. In many, if not all, of the areas in which he works, Jerry has moved seamlessly from the lab to the field and back. Through his work, Jerry can be counted on not only to contribute key findings, but also to help us connect the dots – bringing together disparate findings either within or across literatures – and we can count on him to tell us when the pieces don’t add up or that the work that has been done to date is not sufficient. In recognition of his work, Jerry has been elected as a Fellow of Divisions 8 and 38 of APA, a Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and a member of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. In addition, his work has been funded continuously by NIH or NSF since 1988, when he received his first R01, a span of 25 years.

Jerry’s impact on the field can also be seen in the critical academic and professional leadership roles he has taken on. At the University of Iowa, he has helped found and lead the doctoral training program in Health Psychology. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the Social and Personality Psychology Compass and past editor of Personality and Social Psychological Bulletin. Jerry has also been a valuable representative of the field at the NIH and NCI, contributing to working groups and facilitating the development and implementation of important initiatives. And last, but not least, within Division 38, he has taken on several leadership roles, including serving as President of the Division in 2009-2010.

Jerry has also served as an important teacher and mentor to both graduate students and young faculty. In particular, he has played an important role as a model for investigators whose interest and training cross many fields – both within and across disciplines. This is particularly true for those of who are engaged in the field of health psychology, but were trained as social-personality psychologists.

In sum, what I believe underlies Jerry’s contributions to health psychology is his confidence in the impact that our field, health psychology, can have on human health and well-being and his commitment to ensuring that we, the people who make up the field of health psychology, deliver on our potential. Please join me in congratulating Jerry Suls, recipient of the 2012 Excellence in Health Psychology Research Award.

Excellence in Health Psychology Research by an Early Career Professional Award

Tené T. Lewis, Ph.D.

Rollis School of Public Health, Emory University

By Hector F. Myers, Ph.D., Professor & Director of Clinical Training, Department of Psychology, UCLA

It is with great pleasure that I introduce Dr. Tené T. Lewis as the 2012 recipient of the  Excellence in Health Psychology Research by an Early Career Professional Award from Division 38.

Dr. Lewis is currently an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. She received her Bachelor’s degree with Honors and Distinction in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1996 and her PhD in Clinical Psychology with a minor in Health Psychology from UCLA in 2003. From the time she entered graduate school, Dr. Lewis has been committed to an active and productive program of research on the health issues of African American women and families. In pursuit of this interest, she wrote a Master’s thesis on the relationships among stress, coping, religiosity and psychological distress in HIV-positive African American women, and followed that up with a study of early trauma, chronic stress and disease progression in a multi-ethnic sample of HIV-positive women.

Since going to Rush University Medical Center for postdoctoral training, and most recently as an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Yale University, Dr. Lewis has developed substantial expertise on factors that account for the disproportionate burden of cardiovascular disease among African American women. She has authored several high visibility papers, including her 2005 Archives of Internal Medicine study on “Black-White differences in obesity across levels of education”, her co-authored 2005 Annual Review of Public Health paper of “Psychosocial Factors and Cardiovascular Disease”, and her 2006Psychosomatic Medicine paper on “Chronic Exposure to Everyday Discrimination and Coronary Artery Calcification in African American Women: The SWAN Heart Study.” This widely-cited paper received considerable public attention with a full page write up in the Washington Post. Most recently, two other papers also received considerable public attention. Her 2010 paper on “Self-Reported Experiences of Everyday Discrimination are Associated with elevated C-Reactive Protein Levels in Older African American Adults” published in Brain, Behavior and Immunitywas reported in a feature article in the Boston Globe and on National Public Radio. And most recently, her 2011 paper on “Self-Reported Experiences of Discrimination and Visceral Fat in Middle-Aged African and White Women that was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology was featured in the Boston Globe and on This is an extraordinary accomplishment for someone so junior.

Her work on exposure to everyday discrimination and CVD in African American women is some of the best work on this important topic. It is timely, rigorous, sophisticated and accessible to the general public. She has been very successful in obtaining grant support for her work, and has received numerous awards in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field. She is clearly meritorious of the recognition she is receiving today as an outstanding young scholar.

Excellence in Clinical Health Psychology Award *Timothy B. Jeffrey Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Health Psychology

Jennifer F. Kelly, PhD, ABPP

Atlanta Center for Behavioral Medicine

By Helen L. Coons, Ph.D., ABPP, Women's Mental Health Associates, Philadelphia, PA

Jennifer F. Kelly, Ph.D., ABPP is the recipient of the 2012 APA Division of Health Psychology/American Psychological Foundation Timothy B. Jeffrey Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Health Psychology. Dr. Kelly is a board certified clinical health psychologist who is Director of the Atlanta Center for Behavioral Medicine. Since 1994, her comprehensive practice has been dedicated to the psychological management of health-related conditions. She is highly regarded as an expert in the treatment of women and men coping with pain-related conditions and disability. Dr. Kelly is well known for her work with patients, as well as her collaborative approach with referring health care providers and pain treatment teams. In addition, her innovative, full-time practice is co-owned with an anesthesiologist/pain management specialist. They have provided collaborative care since 1991, and became business partners two years ago.

Dr. Kelly’s distinguished contributions in clinical health psychology extend far beyond the patient office. First, she regularly publishes and presents on pain management issues and serves as an expert source for the media. For example, a presentation at the 2010 APA Convention on research and clinical issues related to gender differences in pain syndromes was immediately picked up by national and international media. She has been interviewed on women and pain by an impressive range of news sources such as: CBS News 98 Los Angeles; Discovery; Health.Com; WebMD; US News and World Report;; The Saturday Evening Post, The Daily Telegraph in the UK; Revista ISTOE’- a Brazilian Magazine;Good Health-Australian Magazine; Verlagsgruppe News (Vienna, Austria); and RTT!

Dr. Kelly’s work has been published in Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice; Behavioral Sciences and the Law; Pain Digest; Comprehensive Review Book for Pain Medicine; and Practical Management of Pain. She is also an Associate Editor of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice; and a past Associate Editor for Pain Digest and Pain Practice.

Dr. Kelly has extensive APA and SPTA governance experience where she is a highly-effective advocate for health psychology science, education and training, practice and policy issues. In fact, she currently serves on the APA Board of Directors as a Member- at-Large. Dr. Kelly was also a Past-Chair of the Board of Professional Affairs (BPA); served on the Council of Representatives, the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP) as well as four APA Task Forces; and was a Past-Chair of the Association for the Advancement of Psychology. In all of her APA leadership roles, Dr. Kelly is a strong voice for our health psychology agenda.

Dr. Kelly is also widely respected for her health and mental health policy and advocacy efforts at the State and Federal level. A past president of the Georgia Psychological Association, she has served as the Federal Advocacy Coordinator for her State Association for 13 years. In fact, Dr. Kelly has received five awards for her highly impressive advocacy efforts! In 2011, she was the recipient of APA’s State Leadership Award to honor her for her advocacy on behalf of psychology as well as the Diversity Award from the Committee of State Leaders of APA. Dr. Kelly also received the 2000 highly prestigious APA Karl F. Heiser Advocacy Award. She was also presented with the Legislative Award by the Georgia Psychological Association, and was the recipient of the 2004 Federal Advocacy Award by the APA Practice Organization.

Dr. Kelly also routinely works to bring the science and practice of health psychology to the public through community presentations, and, as noted above, by serving as an expert resource for the media. Community presentations focus on topics such as: maintaining a healthy lifestyle, stress management, the psychological benefits of exercise, and smoking cessation. She is also a frequent mental health expert on local radio stations in Atlanta for stories which address the relationships between physical and emotional health. Many of these interviews target the minority community. Dr. Kelly has been featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Jet Magazine where she addressed the role of stress in the development of physical and emotional difficulties. She also served as a volunteer consultant to the YMCA’s national African-American and Hispanic/Latino Health and Well-Being Collaborative, designed to address specific health issues facing African-American and Latino communities.

Dr. Kelly’s long standing and distinguished clinical work in health psychology; extensive leadership contributions at APA on behalf of health psychology as well as her community and policy work underscore why she is entirely deserving of the Timothy B. Jeffrey Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Health Psychology.

Nathan W. Perry, Jr. Award for Career Service to Health Psychology

John C. Linton, PhD, ABPP

West Virginia University

By Richard Seime, Ph.D., L.P., ABPP, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

It is my distinct pleasure to introduce Dr. John C. Linton, the 2012 recipient of Division 38’s Nathan W. Perry, Jr. Award for Career Service to Health Psychology. I have had the privilege of knowing Dr. Linton since the outset of my career – which began where Dr. Linton’s career began, at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology in Morgantown. While it is a challenge to summarize and his career in this introduction, it is my hope that I can convey the breadth and depth of his contributions and the personal qualities that make him such a uniformly trusted and valued colleague.

Dr. Linton’s “home base” has been at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Charleston where he has enjoyed a distinguished career as a faculty member. He began his career at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry before moving to Charleston to establish the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry in the Charleston Division. He is now Professor of Psychiatry, Chief Psychologist, and Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, both roles in which he has served for many years. This academic year he is the interim Chair of the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry. He also has ably directed the APA-accredited doctoral internship in Charleston since its inception 35 years ago, and he has been Director of the medical student clerkship for 21 years. Notably, he has received two prestigious awards in West Virginia in recognition of his commitment and contributions to medical education, i.e., the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service to the West Virginia University School of Medicine (2004) and the William J. Maier, Jr., Health Sciences Education Award (2005).

It is safe to say that he is probably the most widely known and uniformly respected psychologist in the state of West Virginia. His reach extends throughout the entire state as evidenced by his work on numerous state boards and committees. He has served on the WV Board of Examiners of Psychologists and for most of that time was Board Secretary. Likewise, Dr. Linton has also been active in numerous leadership roles in the West Virginia Psychological Association. He is sought out for his expertise in ethics, professional practice, professional affairs, medical and psychology education, and regulatory issues affecting research/education/clinical practice both at the state and national levels.

Since early in his career, Dr. Linton has been involved at the national level. He has been a member of numerous commissions and task forces for the American Psychological Association which include having served on the APA Public Information Committee, the APA Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice, APA/Red Cross state disaster mental health co-coordinator, APA Ethics Committee, the Task Force to Review the Composition of the APA Accreditation Committee, the Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology, and APA Council of Representatives. During his career he has been active in several APA divisions: Society of Clinical Psychology, State Psychological Affairs, Rehabilitation, and Health Psychology. He has served on the Executive Committee and as Secretary of the APA Society of Clinical Psychology. He is an APA Fellow and a Fellow in each of the divisions of which he is a member.

His contributions to the Division of Health Psychology in particular are numerous, including his service as Co-chair of Public Information, Representative to the APA Council of Representatives, and Co-chair of the Health Services Committee. He was the founding editor ofThe Health Psychologist and ably served as the editor from 1979 to 1994.

Dr. Linton has consistently made important contributions to professional psychology board certification through his service on the American Board of Professional Psychology, including his tenure as President of the American Board of Clinical Health Psychology and service on the ABPP Board of Trustees and Board of Trustees Ethics Committee. He is board certified in both clinical psychology and clinical health psychology. In the Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers, he has had various leadership roles including President. He has been the recipient of several awards in recognition of his outstanding contributions his role as mentor, advocate for the profession, and psychologist leader, i.e., Division 38 Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology (1991); Karl F. Heiser Award, APA Presidential Citation(1996); Distinguished Professional Career Award-National Register of Health Service Providers(2009); and Outstanding Contributions and Distinguished Service-American Board of Clinical Health Psychology (2010).

In addition to the numerous contributions already mentioned, Dr. Linton also has been an active scholar in the area of health psychology. He has edited a book on obesity interventions and authored numerous book chapters and journal articles. His work includes contributions related to obesity, bariatric surgery, psychological assessment in medical settings, professional issues, ethics, and life-long competencies in clinical health psychology to name a few.

Dr. Linton’s career exemplifies his commitment to education, clinical practice, professionalism, and scholarship. He has personal qualities that have contributed to his effectiveness as an educator, clinician, and leader. These include his kindness, his remarkably wicked and irreverent sense of humor, and his quietly competent manner. He is a consummate professional who has provided sustained, significant contributions to the field of psychology and health psychology in particular, and to the public and patients our profession serves. His many colleagues and the generations of those he has trained have benefited greatly from his wisdom, good counsel, and support.

For all you have done my friend, over your distinguished career, you are most deserving of this award. Congratulations!