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OPA proudly announces the winners of our 2020 Awards

Wednesday, September 16, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Karen Hardin
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The following individuals were recently recognized at OPA’s Virtual Board Retreat for their outstanding contributions to OPA and the field of psychology.

Distinguished Service Award:
Dr. Brad Potts received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award. Brad has been working diligently in the trenches leading the Advocacy Committee. This is a small but mighty committee that works with our lobbyist to monitor legislation that may impact Psychology and advances our legislative agenda through testimony, organizing grassroots action, and supporting our Political Action Committee. The legislative process often feels like walking through sand…taking two steps forward and sliding one step back. Despite the frustration Brad keeps relatively optimistic and on the lookout for new ways to get things moving. OPA owes a great deal to Brad and this award is just a token of our appreciation and admiration. 


Past President Awards:
Dr. Katharine Hahn Oh has now finished her three-year Presidential cycle (President-elect, President and Past President). OPA honors her and thanks her for her service and accomplishments on so many fronts. She was a key leader as we went through significant restructuring of our Board and adopted a new strategic plan.


President’s Award:
Every year the current President presents The President’s Award to an individual who has provided support, guidance, coaching and helped to advance the President’s agenda and initiatives. Dr. Erich Merkle, OPA’s 2019-2020 President, chose to recognize Dr. Steve Gravenkemper with the 2020 President’s Award. Steve is fairly new to OPA but has roots in Ohio. He is co-chairing the Succession Planning Task Force that is strategizing to find a replacement as Michael Ranney, OPA’s Chief Executive Officer, moves towards retirement. He has provided significant support to the Board by facilitating planning sessions that have been very productive and energizing. He has also done CE programs for us. His President’s Award is well deserved.

Public Sector Psychologist of the Year Award:
The Public Sector Issues Committee selects a public sector psychologist each year to recognize for their work. This year’s winner is Dr. Karen White. As the PSI Committee said: ‘Dr. White's achievements both in the VA and the greater community are numerous. She has demonstrated a strong commitment to providing quality care to our aging population. She is actively involved with advocacy efforts with the Adult Protective Services, Adult Guardianship Services, and Probate Court Systems. Dr. White is the only psychologist on the Cuyahoga County Adult Protective Service Steering Committee and Interdisciplinary team. She was nominated to consult with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation for their VA partnership for Caregiver Inclusion at a summit in Washington DC last summer, which is all the more impressive when you consider the large number of psychologists employed by the VA. Her work as the Chairperson of the Geriatric Ethics Task Force Subcommittee of the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center Bioethics Committee speaks to the thoughtful manner in which she approaches the care for complicated VA patients. She teaches at Case Western Reserve University and serves as a supervisor for psychology learners rotating through the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System. In keeping with her love of teaching about the aging, Dr. White was invited to present at the Aging in America conference in 2019. Dr. White's impressive contributions continue to grow each year without leaving any of her passions and projects behind. Congratulations to Dr. White!

Citizen Psychologist Award:
A new award this year is the Citizen Psychologist Award. This stems from an APA Presidential Initiative, which encouraged states to recognize psychologists who were working on important issues in their community. So many psychologists volunteer their time to help the underserved, work on Boards and advocate for the underserved. The winner of our first Citizen Psychologist is Dr. Suzanne LeSure. Suzanne has been making a difference with the immigrant population in the Cleveland area. Part of her award is a $1,000 donation to the non-profit organization she has been working with in her honor from the Foundation for Psychology In Ohio (PsyOhio). Congratulations Suzanne and thank you for undertaking this important work.

Outstanding Psychology Trainee Award:
Last but not least is Brittany Carbaugh, who is our 2020 Outstanding Psychology Trainee. This award ecognizes a graduate student, intern or unlicensed fellow for exceptional accomplishments or contributions to Ohio psychology or Ohio citizens. Brittany, an intern at the Cleveland VA, has been a key member of our Public Sector Issues Committee. She did a brilliant job planning and coordinating a panel that presented to graduate students on Advocacy and Social Justice.