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Professor Donald Bersoff Takes Helm to Lead American Psychological Association

January 03, 2013

Having begun his term as president of the American Psychological Association Jan. 1, Professor Emeritus Donald Bersoff outlined three initiatives he will pursue in 2013.

Bersoff, who launched the law school’s JD-PhD in Law and Psychology Program, is the first lawyer practitioner elected to lead the APA, which is the largest group of psychologists in the world.

He has announced initiatives that will focus on serving military veterans, increasing diversity among psychologists and boosting the association’s membership among academic psychologists and scientists.

Citing high rates of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bersoff said he will step up efforts to address the mental health needs of military personnel and their families.

Specifically, Bersoff said he aims to focus attention on both research and evidence-based programs that have effectively served military personnel and their families at the 2013 American Psychological Association Convention.

With the population of Hispanics, Asians, Middle Easterners and other non-white groups burgeoning in the U.S., Bersoff said he will also launch an award program that recognizes doctoral programs that admit, retain and graduate diverse students.

Bersoff said he will work with the APA’s board of directors to develop strategies for attracting and retaining more scientists and academic psychologists as members of the organization.

In mid-January, Bersoff will speak at the 2013 National Multicultural Conference & Summit, which will focus on transforming multicultural psychology, in Houston, Tex.