Past APA Award Winners

Congratulations to all of the SCRA/Division 27 members who received awards from the American Psychological Association!

Leonard Jason: 2015 Winner of APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research

Leonard Jason

For extraordinary lifetime contribution Leonard A. Jason received APA’s 2015 Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research. Lenny Jason is a prolific innovator in the study of new topics in clinical-community psychology. Lenny is a Professor of Psychology at DePaul University and the Director of the Center for Community Research who is completing his 40th year as a DePaul faculty member.  

Lenny is among the pre-eminent clinical-community behavioral health psychologists in the United States and has led scientific study in three areas of clinical-community psychology. He has developed and empirically verified the value of new ways of reducing underage youth’s access to tobacco. These approaches have been implemented in communities across the nation. Due to this work, he was asked to testify at Congressional hearings on the tobacco settlement.

Second, he has played a major role in establishing the scientific basis of chronic fatigue syndrome/ myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). Because of his work, Lenny was asked to Chair the US Research Sub-Committee of the CFS Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations on CFS/ME for the Secretary of HHS. Third, Lenny’s work has demonstrated the effectiveness of recovery homes run by people recovering from alcoholism, known as Oxford Houses, in preventing residents from relapsing.  With about 1700 homes, Oxford Houses are the largest organized system of recovery homes in the U.S. His research led to SAMHSA determining that Oxford Houses were an empirically validated approach for substance abuse recovery.

In addition, Lenny has edited or written 23 books, and he has published over 600 articles and 75 book chapters in community psychology. Consequently, his work has been widely cited and he has served on the editorial boards of ten psychological journals. 

Lonnie Snowden: 2014 Winner of APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy


For extraordinary lifetime contribution Lonnie R. Snowden received APA’s 2014 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy. He is Professor of the Graduate School in the Health Policy and Management Program, School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley and he is affiliated with the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program, UC Berkeley’s Psychology Department, and with the Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis. Snowden’s research focuses on mental health and other health services disparities in access and quality of care, and on understanding disparities from social and health policy and treatment systems perspectives. Snowden has published more than 150 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters, and he is recipient of numerous research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and from other sources. Snowden contributed to “Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General” and was Co-Scientific Editor of “Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity: A Supplement to: ‘Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Snowden’s other awards include The Society for Community Research and Action’s Distinguished Contributions to Theory and Research in Community Psychology, the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Award, and the Berkeley Citation. 

Tom Wolff: 2014 Winner of APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Independent Practice

AUG_7612_5x7_BW__1.jpgTom Wolff is a nationally recognized consultant on coalition building and community development, with over 40 years’ experience working with individuals, organizations and communities across North America. His clients include federal, state and local government agencies, foundations, hospitals, non-profit organizations, professional associations, and grassroots groups. Examples include: Boston Public Health Commission’s Center for Health Equity and Social Justice, CMMS End Stage Renal Disease Networks, Institute for Community Peace, IRS’ VITA program,  US Breast Feeding Coalition, Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, Holyoke Unites/Holyoke Se Une, North Quabbin Community Coalition.

Tom is committed to “giving community psychology away”. To that end he has partnered with the Community Tool Box for 20 years ( with 7,000 pages of free resources on community health and development and 3 million users a year.  His web site ( is a source for free community building material for thousands. His newest book is The Power of Collaborative Solutions: Six principles and effective tools for building healthy communities.

From 1985 to 2002, Tom founded and directed Community Partners, a technical assistance and training program affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In that role he created Healthy Communities Massachusetts which assisted numerous communities in creating concrete changes (transportation, dental access, early childhood prevention programs). Tom is a Fellow of APA, which through Division 27 has granted him its 1985 National Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Practice in Community Psychology, its 1993 Henry V. McNeil Award for Innovation in Community Mental Health, and its 2010 John Kalafat Award in Applied Community Psychology. The APA Monitor covered his work in April 2011, and Eye on Psi Chi in Summer 2012. In 2000 he received the “For the People Against the Tide Award” from the advocacy group, Health Care for All for his “outstanding efforts to energize and educate local communities in areas of health care justice.

He has held academic appointments at the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health, the University of Massachusetts Medical School Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and Wellesley College’s Stone Center. He received his undergraduate degree from Clark University and his doctorate from the University of Rochester. His earlier popular books were: From the Ground Up: A Workbook on Coalition Building and Community Development (1997 with Gillian Kaye), and The Spirit of the Coalition (2000 with Bill Berkowitz), published by the American Public Health Association. 

Below is a video from The Center of Health Equity and Social Justice.  This video includes brief commentary from Tom, and highlights an area of his community interests. 

Gary Melton: 2014 Winner of APA Senior Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest

Gary MeltonA professor of pediatrics and of community and behavioral health at the University of Colorado, Gary Melton was previously honored for early-career contributions to the public interest through scholarship and advocacy (1985), public service through professional practice as a community psychologist (1999), and international advancement of psychology through scholarship and advocacy on human rights (2005).  He has also received awards for scholarship and public service from APA Divisions 18 and 37, the American Orthopsychiatric Association, the American Professional Society on Abuse of Children, the American Psychological Foundation, Prevent Child Abuse America, and Psi Chi.

The author of more than 350 publications, Melton has grounded his work in embrace of community—respect for human dignity for everyone, no matter how small, and promotion of norms of inclusion and humane care in the settings of everyday life.  To that end, much of his work has been in legal architecture—design of public policy and local practice in ways that they create structures and processes to facilitate expression of community values.

In general, Melton’s approach has been to embed assistance “naturally” within primary community institutions, ideally in ways that they fulfill an ethical maxim that “people shouldn’t have to ask.”  He was co-principal investigator of the early community trials of multisystemic treatment, an intensive home- and community-based approach to treatment of children and adolescents.  His work led to the development of statewide school mental health services in South Carolina and the introduction of a legislative package for reform of child and family services in Nebraska.

Building from his service on the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect in the early 1990s, Melton led the mobilization of thousands of volunteers and hundreds of community organizations in the Greenville, SC, area to prevent child maltreatment.  Instilling norms of community responsibility and defining child protection as a task of everyday life, Strong Communities was designed to promote norms of noticing and caring for young children and their families.  For 30 years, Melton led interdisciplinary university-based centers and institutes that undertook such efforts to promote human rights by fostering the development of social capital.

Below is a video of a keynote address given by Gary at the Australasia regional meeting of the International Society for Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect.