Honor recognizes psychologists who improve communities, benefit society

WASHINGTON – Dr. Rebecca Thomley of Headwaters Relief Organization has been named a 2018 APA Citizen Psychologist by the American Psychological Association for her promotion of volunteerism.

“Dr. Thomley exemplifies the definition of a Citizen Psychologist by using psychology to make her community a better place,” said 2018 APA President Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD. “Helping to improve lives one community at a time is how we can change the world.”

Dr. Thomley has championed volunteerism among her organization’s employees and in the community, both by making community service an employment requirement and by creating a nonprofit, Headwaters Relief Organization, to help in the wake of national and international disasters. Headwaters draws volunteers nationally and internationally to respond to disasters including tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding and more.

Launched by Daniel, the Citizen Psychologist Initiative recognizes APA members who engage their communities through public service, volunteerism and board membership. Representing every branch of psychology, Citizen Psychologists serve as long-term volunteers for Habitat for Humanity; participate in church ministries; and volunteer as expert speakers for non-profit organizations, among other roles.

The goals of the APA Citizen Psychologist Initiative include:

  • Demonstrating how psychology contributes to the public good and improves communities.
  • Educating high school, undergraduate and graduate school students through internships, postdoctoral fellowships and lifelong learning about how to become a successful APA Citizen Psychologist.

“Through their efforts, Citizen Psychologists work toward APA’s mission to use psychology to benefit society and improve people’s lives,” Daniel said.

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