Janet E. Helms, the Augustus Long Professor in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development and director of BC's Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture, has received the American Psychological Foundation's 2019 Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Psychology in the Public Interest.

Janet E. Helms

Janet E. Helms

The Washington, D.C.-based foundation, a grant-making organization affiliated with the American Psychological Association, or APA, provides financial support for innovative research and programs that enhance the power of psychology to elevate the human condition and advance human potential both now and in generations to come.

The award was presented to Helms, a faculty member of the Lynch School’s Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology, at the APA annual meeting this month. She had previously accepted two lifetime achievement awards at last year’s APA gathering: one in mentoring from the Society of Counseling Psychology (APA Division 17), and another for outstanding contributions over the course of her career in the promotion of ethnic minority issues from the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race (APA Division 45).

The APA is the nation's leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology, with more than 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students as its members.

A BC faculty member since 2000, Helms has been frequently recognized by her peers. Her honors include the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award for mentoring students; an engraved brick in her name in the Plaza of Heroines at Iowa State University, where she received her doctorate; the Distinguished Career Contributions to Research Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues; APA awards for Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training in Psychology and for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy; and the Association of Black Psychologists' Distinguished Psychologist Award.

In 1991, she was the inaugural recipient of the Janet E. Helms Award for Mentoring and Scholarship in Professional Psychology, now an annual honor given by Columbia University Teachers College.  

Dr. Helms is past president of the APA's Society of Counseling Psychology, and a fellow in the APA's divisions 17 (Counseling Psychology), 45 (Culture, Ethnicity, and Race) and 35 (Psychology of Women).  Additionally, she is a member of the American Psychological Society, the Association of Psychological Science, and the American Educational Research Association.

–Phil Gloudemans | University Communications | August 2019