Recipients of the Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging

2013 Recipient: Michael Smyer, PhD

Award Citation: The American Psychological Association Committee on Aging presents its Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to Michael Smyer, PhD, in recognition of his significant contributions to research, education, practice, public interest and public affairs in psychology, and aging throughout his career. Smyer has played a key role in establishing the field of geropsychology and has shown extraordinary skill in noticing emerging trends and neglected themes in psychology and aging. He has been a longstanding and consistent advocate for addressing the mental health needs of older adults through community-based care. In the area of long-term care, he developed interventions that address the needs of the older adult, the needs of the caregiving staff, and the contextual forces of the institutional settings. Smyer has also advocated for a more objective and fair assessment of older adults’ decision-making capacity. In his most recent work, he has directed his attention to the societal implications of the aging work force and to ethical issues related to aging. Last but not least, Smyer has actively promoted graduate training in adult development and aging and has contributed to the education of multiple generations of psychologists who have become leaders in the field in their own rights. We are pleased to honor Smyer’s tireless efforts on behalf of psychology and aging.

2012 Recipient: Peter Lichtenberg, PhD, ABPP

Award Citation: The American Psychological Association Committee on Aging presents its Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to Peter Lichtenberg, PhD, ABPP in recognition of his outstanding contributions to clinical geropsychology that integrate science, practice, education, public interest and public policy. As director, he has guided the development of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University into a world-class institution that is renowned for its role in science, education and civic engagement, particularly with the African-American community. His books and articles on assessment in clinical gerontology extensively advanced clinical practice. Dr. Lichtenberg has also assumed critical leadership roles in APA, as president of Division 20 and chair of CONA, as well as serving as chair of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America, often contributing to seminal reports and guidelines, all the while maintaining an active clinical practice. Lichtenberg has worked tirelessly to advance the field of geropsychology. He has been remarkably generous in offering his time and expertise to support his colleagues, mentor his students and promote the welfare of his community.

2011 Recipient: Anderson Dodd Smith, PhD

Award Citation: The American Psychological Association Committee on Aging presents its Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to Anderson Dodd Smith, PhD in recognition of his extraordinary leadership across the domains of research, education and institutional development in the psychology of aging. The award text notes that Dr. Smith’s research on memory and aging established foundational structures in that field that stimulated a great deal of subsequent research and benefit for scientists to date. As a founder of a long-term training program in cognitive aging at the Georgia Institute of Technology, he has fostered the careers of students, post-doctoral fellows, junior colleagues and senior scientists. His 1986 creation of, and ongoing sponsorship for, the biennial Cognitive Aging Conference has nourished scientific advancements by providing a superb venue for promoting scientific discovery and collaborative investigation. His long-standing scientific leadership at the National Institutes of Health has influenced programs on translational research and has led to the support of many meritorious aging researchers and Smith’s leadership has also benefitted many professional organizations, including the APA and national training conferences. He has built bridges between science and practice communities, including service on the inaugural APA Committee on Aging. Smith is a master scientist with remarkable gifts for disseminating science to the public, which has rendered him exceptionally effective in public policy venues.

2010 Recipient: Jennifer Moye, PhD

Award Citation: The American Psychological Association Committee on Aging presents its Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to Jennifer Moye, PhD in recognition of her outstanding contributions to geropsychology aimed at improving the quality of life of older adults. Dr. Moye has provided leadership in training of clinical geropsychologists and advocacy for expanded mental health care for veterans. Her greatest impact may be in her role in translating research to the advancement of science, practice and public policy, particularly regarding assessment of competency and diminished capacity. This work has facilitated the protection of older adults who need decision-making assistance while at the same time, it has increased effective inter-professional communication among psychologists and attorneys, judges and policy makers engaged in legal and ethical issues affecting the lives of older adults and their family members. Moye has been a superb advocate for sound assessment in three ways: original research, cross disciplinary analysis and leadership of collaborations that generated publications providing state-of-the-art guidance for assessment of decision-making capacity. Her efforts have led to more effective application of psychological research and clinical services in legal processes affecting older adults. Moye's work has directly benefited older adults at risk for loss of basic legal rights.

2009 Recipient: Bob Knight, PhD

Award Citation: The American Psychological Association Committee on Aging presents its Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to Bob Knight, PhD in recognition of his extraordinary leadership across the domains of education, practice, organizational development and research in clinical geropsychology. His early career in public mental health grounds his contributions as a scientist and trainer, and is evident in his encouragement of the emerging field to address needs of diverse populations who are served by community practitioners. His leadership has benefitted many professional organizations, including the APA and two national training conferences. The Pikes Peak Model of Professional Geropsychology emerged under his leadership as a competency based model that can guide professional development at all levels from predoctoral to post-licensure. His insightful scholarship has better defined the field of psychotherapy outcomes and process with older adults and has articulated carefully empirically-based tenets of these therapies. Importantly, he has questioned the cultural limitations of established paradigms in caregiver research and reframed practice outcomes in public mental health settings as these apply to older adults. Knight's career as a scientist-practitioner has shaped the emerging field of geropsychology and the organizations that support it. 

2008 Recipient: Gregory Hinrichsen, PhD 

Award Citation: The American Psychological Association Committee on Aging presents its Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to Gregory Hinrichsen, PhD in recognition of his strong, consistent leadership in the field of professional geropsychology. As mentor, educator, researcher, clinician and advocate, Dr. Hinrichsen's manner is characterized by a remarkably kind, caring wisdom. He brings a sophisticated intellectual and scientific framework to his work, making substantive contributions in areas including the social context of late life depression, interpersonal psychotherapy for late life depression, family caregiving and multicultural gerontology. He has made significant contributions to professional organizations, including serving as Chair of CONA, President of the Society of Clinical Geropsychology, a member of two APA Presidential Task Forces, an APA/AAAS Science and Technology Fellow and is current Chair-elect of the Council of Geropsychology Training Programs. Hinrichsen, a geropsychologist with deep respect for older adults, has engendered love for this work in countless others. His many substantive contributions to psychological theory, knowledge, and practice with older adults have shaped and strengthened the field of professional geropsychology.

2007 Recipient: Martha Storandt, PhD 

Award Citation: The American Psychological Association Committee on Aging presents its Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to Martha Storandt, PhD in recognition of  her significant contributions to the psychology of aging throughout her career. Dr. Storandt has worked tirelessly and selflessly for more than four decades to help establish and advance the scientific study of the psychology of aging, translate that knowledge into practical results, and educate other psychologists and the public on aging issues. Her significant research accomplishments include early demonstration that dementia is a disease condition outside of normal aging as well as her ongoing efforts to differentiate across types of dementia. She has translated her research results to professional practice by developing neuropsychological assessments that are both easily administered and accurate. Storandt has contributed to gerontology education and the training of clinical geropsychologists, particularly through her service on the steering committee for the 1981 Conference on Training Psychologists for Work with the Aged and by her dedicated and caring mentoring. She helped establish the APA journal, Psychology and Aging and published Neuropsychological assessment of dementia and depression in older adults: A clinician's guide in support of continuing education in aging for practicing psychologists. Taken together, Storandt's scholarly contributions exemplify each aspect of CONA's mission to advance science, practice, policy, education, public interest and public affairs.

2006 Recipient: Antonette Zeiss, PhD 

Award Citation: The American Psychological Association Committee on Aging presents its Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to Antonette Zeiss, PhD in recognition of her significant contributions to geropsychology throughout her career and for furthering the multiple missions of CONA. Dr. Zeiss has contributed substantially to theory and research within the field of geropsychology, most notably in the areas of older adult depression and sexuality. She has also been a leading proponent of an interdisciplinary perspective in healthcare for older adults. She has used her leadership roles in multiple professional organizations and within the Veterans Affairs system to further the care and well-being of older adults. In her role as educator, she has contributed to the personal and professional development of hundreds of trainees over her distinguished career. As director of psychology training, she has been an extraordinary mentor whose students have been profoundly affected by her remarkable strength of character, personal values, superb clinical skills, exceptional intellect and personal warmth. Whether as a mentor, manager, advocate, leader, researcher, or clinician, Dr. Zeiss displays a remarkably kind, caring wisdom that we have all come to rely upon over the years. 

2005 Recipient: Margaret Gatz, PhD 

Award Citation: The American Psychological Association Committee on Aging presents its Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to Margaret Gatz, PhD in recognition of  her longstanding dedication to research, training, professional service and advocacy in geropsychology. Dr. Gatz has been a powerful force in the field of aging. She has made seminal empirical contributions that span behavioral genetics, emotion, perceived control, mental health and dementia. She is a superb methodologist with expertise in longitudinal data, population-based studies and qualitative data sets. She easily integrates knowledge of normal and disease-related aging as well as developmental and clinical geropsychology. She has been a major leader as editor of journals and books, consultant to domestic and international government agencies and aging-related organizations, officer of professional societies and developer of clinical training models. She is known as a caring mentor who has selflessly and generously guided students through their studies and into their careers. We are pleased to honor Gatz's tireless diligence on behalf of psychology and aging.

2004 Recipient: George Neiderehe, PhD  

Award Citation: The American Psychological Association Committee on Aging presents its Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to George Neiderehe, PhD in recognition of his pivotal role in the development of the field of geropsychology. Dr. Niederehe is to be commended for his creative leadership at the National Institute of Mental Health and his mentorship of students, fellows and junior colleagues. This award also applauds his leadership in promoting the recognition of clinical geropsychology within APA including the establishment of APA Division 12, Section 2 and his tenacious advocacy in the development of the Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Older Adults.  Niederehe is a model psychologist whose professional work has been grounded in theory and research. His broad perspective on scientific, clinical and educational issues has enriched geropsychology. 

2003 Recipient: Norman Abeles, PhD

Award Citation: The American Psychological Association Committee on Aging presents its Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to Norman Abeles, PhD in recognition of his extensive history of professional leadership and distinguished achievements in research, practice and education in the field of geropsychology. As President of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Abeles heightened the awareness of lifespan and aging issues within APA. Most importantly, during his tenure he institutionalized a presence and voice for geropsychology by championing the establishment of a continuing APA Committee on Aging and the APA Office on Aging. Abeles' career is an inspiration to all of those who continue to work toward the advancement of Psychology and Aging.