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Simmons Dean Elected Head of American Psychological Association

BOSTON (December 20, 2004) — Gerald P. Koocher, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Health Sciences at Simmons College in Boston, has been elected president of the American Psychological Association (APA) for 2006.

Koocher, a psychologist and Simmons professor, will begin his term as president-elect Jan. 1, 2005. His term as president will begin Jan. 1, 2006.

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 155,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students.

The former chief pediatric psychologist at Boston's Children's Hospital, Koocher brings a wealth of skills to the position, ranging from his combined research, teaching, and clinical experience on the professional and ethical aspects of psychology practice, to scientific research. He also specializes in working with children and adults coping with chronic or life-threatening illnesses, especially cancer, cystic fibrosis, and diabetes. Additionally, Koocher is considered a national expert in coping with bereavement and loss, psychological assessment, and mental health malpractice.

Koocher has more than 25 years of experience in APA governance, highlighted by his service on APA's Ethics Committee and two five-year terms as APA treasurer, an office that includes membership on APA's Board of Directors.

As president, Koocher said he wants to continue the APA's efforts to increase diversity among psychologists, so the association can truly reflect what America looks like today.

"Our society is becoming diverse in ways that couldn't have been imagined 20 years ago," said Koocher, noting the growth of minority populations and the increase in trans-racial marriages, as well as international adoptions. "Psychology has to be prepared to move in that direction."

Koocher also said he plans to "focus on family." His goal is to not only focus on how psychologists can contribute to the many aspects of family wellness, but also how they can strengthen the profession's family of researchers, practitioners, educators and advocates.

"I would like the APA to continue to raise the public's awareness of how psychological services can be more a part of peoples' lives in maintaining their health," he said. "Psychologists can help people create better work/family balances, strengthen their intimate relationships and raise their children in less stressful circumstances."

Simmons College's School of Health Sciences is a coeducational and nationally recognized school in Boston that includes four graduate programs: nursing (advanced primary care), nutrition and health promotion, health care administration, and physical therapy.