Distinguished Scientific Contribution

The Division offers this award for distinguished theoretical or empirical contributions to lesbian, gay, or bisexual psychological issues. The winners of this award have made far-reaching and visionary contributions to the development of a science of LGBT psychology and have provided the science base for practice, education, and the development of public policy. Many of these award winners are pioneers who first asked affirmative research questions about the lives of LGBT people, their families, and their communities.

2012 winner

This years recipient is Dr. Margaret Rosario. Dr. Rosario has dedicated her academic career to researching the sexual identity development of LGB youth and developed a multidimensional model of LGB identity formation and integration. Her research has also focused on the health of LGB youth. Her research has been cited extensively. For these reasons she is the recipient of this years award. Dr. Rosario is not here to accept her award however she sent the following message: It is a privilege to be honored by the Division in this way. I am deeply appreciative and moved. I hope to continue making the Division proud of my scientific contributions. Thank you very much.

2011 winner

Brian Mustanski, PhD, Indiana University

2010 winner

Kimberly F. Balsam received her BA and MS from the University of Oregon and a PhD from the University of Vermont in 2003. She is currently Research Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington. Dr. Balsams research record is astounding, especially for an early career psychologist. She has over two dozen peer reviewed publications in prestigious journals. She is the senior author on five book chapters and co-author of another. She is the editor of the book, Trauma, Stress, and Resilience among Sexual Minority Women: Rising Like the Phoenix. She has been the recipient of grants from federal agencies that total over a million dollars.

Dr. Balsams scholarship has advanced knowledge of LGBT issues in several important ways. First, it has documented the harmful effects of minority stress on LGBT peoples lives and same-sex relationships including the higher incidence of lifetime victimization experiences by LGBT persons compared with their heterosexual siblings. Second, her work has increased our understanding of the challenges and unique life issues related to the development of LGBT persons of color. Third, her work has identified the means by which these factors may impact mental, relational, and physical health, and has identified factors that help LGBT persons resist and overcome oppressive minority stressors. Fourth, her work has examined the impact of civil unions on same-sex couples. In addition to her remarkable record of scientific research accomplishments, she has been a dedicated advocate in service, leadership and activism for advancing the status of LGBT people. In sum, Dr. Balsam has offered exceptional research and tireless advocacy for the advancement of LGBT issues. She clearly exemplifies the attributes we seek in the recipient of our Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award.

2009 winner

Caitlin C. Ryan, ACSW, Ph.D. - Dr. Ryan received her MSW from Smith College in 1985 and her Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2006. For over thirty-five years, she has made contributions to the LGBT community through her research, community development, advocacy, and policy initiatives. She is founder and pastpresident of the National Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation and a founder of the National Association of People with AIDS. In 1999, the National Association of Social Work named her National Social Worker of the Year. This was the same year she received Division 44's Distinguished Book Award for her book with Diane Futterman, Lesbian and Gay Youth: Care and Counseling.

Her article (with Russell, Huebner, Diaz, and Sanchez), "Family Rejection As a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young Adults" published this year in Pediatrics, has been hailed by researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners as one of the most important publications ever in the field of LGB health. Dr. Ryan conclusively demonstrates that the extent of family acceptance or rejection is a major predictor of a long list of health outcomes among white and Latino young adults. The children of accepting parents are less likely to be depressed, to attempt suicide, to use illegal drugs, and to engage in unprotected sex. This article is just one of her almost 75 impressive publications.

Dr. Ryan's record of scientific achievement is extraordinary.

2008 winners

Jeffrey T. Parsons, Ph.D. - Dr. Parsons' academic training is in developmental psychology from the University of Houston. He has served as a tenure-track faculty member since 1992, and more recently tenured full professor, at New Jersey City University and now at Hunter College of the City University of New York, the flagship campus of the CUNY system.

Since 1996, he has served as the founding Director of the Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST), a multi-disciplinary research center in the heart of New York City's Chelsea neighborhood that focuses on the scientific study of HIV/AIDS and sexuality. As Principal Investigator, Dr. Parsons has received an astounding $16 million in federal funding and an additional $17 million as Co-Principal Investigator and subcontractor. His projects have focused on primary and secondary HIV/AIDS prevention, HIV treatment adherence, sexual compulsivity, and alcohol and illicit drug use. The outcome of this impressive funding history is over 120 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and literally hundreds of presentations around the country and the world at conferences including the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health, and the World Association of Sexology. Routinely tapped to discuss sex and sexuality issues for the popular press, he has appeared in columns in The New York Times, the Gay City News, and USA Today. Recently, Hunter College took special note of Dr. Parsons' vast experience with LGBT and HIV research and named him the founding director of the Roosevelt Center for Sexual Minorities and Public Policy, where he will serve as an advocate for the scientific study of LGBT issues at the local, state, and federal levels. Having a stellar researcher at the helm, given so many recent challenges to LGBT civil rights, will benefit us all in the coming years.

In sum, Dr. Parsons is a world-renowned sexologist who has spent his career focused on the scientific study of sexual behavior and identity, especially as these constructs relate to physical and mental health and functioning.

Nanette Gartrell, M.D. - Dr. Gartrell is a psychiatrist who received her B.A. from Stanford University and her M.D. from the University of California at Davis before joining the faculty at Harvard University. She is currently on the faculty of the University of California at San Francisco at the Center of Excellence in Women's Health. Dr. Gartrell has been a fellow of Division 44 since 2000.

Dr. Gartrell has a long and distinguished career as a practitioner and researcher. She is internationally known for her research and advocacy on ethics in psychotherapy. Early in her career, she surveyed mental health professionals and physicians about sexual contact with patients. In over a dozen publications, Dr. Gartrell focused on such issues as prevalence of psychiatrist-patient sexual contact, attitudes about this abuse, how psychiatrists report evidence of sexual misconduct by colleagues, rehabilitation of sexually exploitive therapists, sexual contact between psychiatric residents and their supervisors, sexual contact between physicians and patients, ethical boundaries in lesbian therapy relationships, and sexual abuse of women by women in counseling and therapy. Dr. Gartrell edited the book Bringing Ethics Alive: Feminist Ethics in Psychotherapy Practice (1994).

Based in part on Dr. Gartrell's research and publications, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association amended their ethics codes to rule sexual conduct with current or former patients unacceptable. Dr. Gartrell also assumed a number of positions within the American Psychiatric Association. However, she publicly resigned from that organization in 1989 to protest its support of a Colorado psychiatrist who acknowledged sexually abusing his client. This case was depicted on PBS in 1991 as the documentary "My Doctor, My Lover" and caused great controversy within the American Psychiatric Association. Thus, Dr. Gartrell wanted to become a member of the American Psychological Association, given its strong ethical stand against therapist-client sexual abuse and its history of advocating for psychotherapy practice that is affirming of sociocultural diversity. She has been a member of our APA since 1999.

Most significantly, Dr. Gartrell has conducted the longest-running study of lesbian mothers who had children as the result of donor insemination during the lesbian baby boom of the 1980s. This longitudinal National Lesbian Family Study began with interviews of the prospective mothers (birthmothers and co-mothers) before the children were born, and focused on parental relationships, social supports, reasons and motives for pregnancy, concerns about stigmatization, and coping strategies. The second wave of this study re-interviewed the mothers when their children were toddlers, and focused on parenting experiences, family structure, relationship stress, time management, health concerns, and issues related to discrimination. Dr. Gartrell has since completed the third wave (when the children were five years old) and the fourth wave (with ten-year old children), and this study will continue into the next century as the children reach adulthood. She is now collaborating with a Dutch research team to do cross-national research on lesbian families in the U.S. and the Netherlands.

Dr. Gartrell has been asked to write about her life and research on numerous occasions, including chapters in the books Feminist Foremothers in Women's Studies, Psychology and Mental Health; Lesbians in Academia; Everyday Mutinies: Funding Lesbian Activism; among others.

In addition to her scholarly contributions, Dr. Gartrell has the ability to translate science and medicine for the public. She has written for the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine, and currently writes a periodic column for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her best-selling book My Answer is NO...If That's Okay with You: How Women Can Say NO and (Still) Feel Good About It (Simon & Schuster, 2008) has received acclaim and was featured on Good Morning America, among other major media outlets.

In sum, her research and theoretical writing have made important scientific contributions to psychology. Her work is cited by psychologists in the U.S. and in other countries, as well as by major mainstream media.

2007 winners

Beverly Greene - Dr. Greene is a professor of psychology at St. Johns University and holds a diplomate in clinical psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology. Dr. Greene received her PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University, and has held several hospital positions where she focused on child and adolescent mental health - and she also was a school psychologist in a former life! Dr. Greene is a fellow in six divisions of APA, is a member of several editorial boards, serves on innumerable boards, committees, and organizations in which science is a key focus, and served as one of two founding editors of the Division 44 book series. She receives several awards a year for her pioneering efforts to integrate gender, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity in psychology, and the scope of her work is remarkable. She writes about therapy, teaching, abnormal psychology, academe, ethics, couples/families/children, women, policy/law, racism, sexism, anti-semitism, heterosexism, and homophobia, all with an integrative focus that has given us new concepts and fresh language to understand the experiences of LGBT people of color. It is probably safe to say that there is not a single paragraph being written in contemporary feminist, LGBT, or multicultural psychology that does not cite Dr. Greene's work. In addition to her dozen books and numerous articles and chapters, Dr. Greene also is exceptionally generous in disseminating scientific knowledge through speaking, and she has hundreds presentations to her credit. Dr. Greene's work has had extraordinary impact, and we honor her for her groundbreaking scientific ideas and her outstanding commitment to translating and transmitting scientific knowledge to diverse audiences.

John De Cecco - Dr. De Cecco is well-known to most of us as the long-time editor of the Journal of Homosexuality. Dr. De Cecco received his PhD in history at the University of Pennsylvania, and went on to post-doctoral study at Michigan State University in Educational Psychology, where he later joined the faculty of that program. He left Michigan for the psychology department at SFSU in 1960, and was a member of the group that founded the program in Human Sexuality Studies, of which he served as director for 13 years in the period between 1978 and 1996. Dr. De Cecco has had an extraordinary scholarly career that includes 15 books and dozens of articles on sexuality, service on the editorial boards of most of the major journals in sexuality, and numerous awards, including, in 1997, having a day in San Francisco named "John Paul De Cecco Day." He has been the editor of the Journal of Homosexuality since 1978, and was one of the first academic journal editors at Haworth Press, the publisher that is a long-time friend of Division 44. This interdisciplinary journal has been an extremely important outlet for disseminating scientific knowledge in LGBT psychology, and for many years was the only such venue - in fact, it is probably fair to say that many scientists in this room probably began their publishing careers in this journal. It is an extraordinary mark of progress in scientific LGBT psychology that, 30 years later, there are now multiple outlets for our empirical work, and we honor Dr. De Cecco today for his vision, courage, and sustained leadership of the journal where much of it began.

Past winners

  • 2006 Lisa M. Diamond
  • 2005 Ilan H. Meyer
  • 2004 Maria Cecilia Zea
  • 2003 Perry N. Halkitis, Larry Kurdek
  • 2002 Letitia Ann Peplau
  • 2001 Ritch C. Savin-Williams
  • 2000 Anthony D'Augelli
  • 1999 Gregory Herek
  • 1998 Susan Cochran
  • 1997 no award
  • 1996 Charlotte Patterson
  • 1995 Vickie Mays
  • 1994 no award
  • 1993 Celia Kitzinger
  • 1992 Frederick Bozett
  • 1991 Esther Rothblum & Anthony D'Augelli
  • 1990 John Gonsiorek & John L. Martin
  • 1989 Gregory Herek


Please send nominations for this award to the President-Elect.