USD professor honored by psychological association

USD professor honored by psychological association University of South Dakota Department of Psychology Professor Elizabeth Todd-Bazemore was honored with a 1999 Distinguished Career Contributions to Service Award at the 107th annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), Aug. 21 at the Westin Hotel in Boston, MA. The award was presented by APA's Division 45, The Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues.

Todd-Bazemore's award recognizes her contributions for her seven years of professional service in Native American community mental health, teaching and contributions to the APA organization with regard to ethnic minority issues, specifically the development of the USD psychology department's Students of Color in Psychology Mentoring Program (SCIP).

"I was very surprised and honored to receive this award, because so many people in Division 45 have done so much for ethnic minority populations," said Todd-Bazemore. "It means a great deal to me, because they are the people I looked to and admired for their work on minority issues as a graduate student and through my years as a faculty member."

In addition to her involvement with the APA and classroom teaching responsibilities, Todd-Bazemore is a member of USD's Disaster Mental Health Institute (DMHI). As a team member of mental health professionals and cultural and spiritual leaders, she has traveled to reservations in the region to work with various Native American tribes.

"USD clearly is becoming known for trauma work because of the Disaster Mental Health Institute. This award really belongs to the whole team," said Todd-Bazemore. "Most of the work centers around trauma and community healing, and suicide is the biggest area that I personally deal with. For instance, we went to a reservation community this past year where there were a large number of youth suicides and suicide attempts. The community asked that the team develop a community-wide needs assessment. We conducted focus groups with many, many groups in the community so that everyone had the opportunity to give their input. That information will help the tribe to develop programs and initiatives to help in the community healing process."

Todd-Bazemore notes that the DMHI team experience can also be an excellent practical learning experience for her students. "Some of the work occurs in the summertime, and being a member of the DMHI, I do have more flexibility to respond to trauma when it happens," Todd-Bazemore said. In one instance last year, the team was called upon while she was in the midst of teaching a DMHI course. "I was able to take some of my graduate and undergraduate students along with the team and they helped out with the surveys and other things," she said.

"It (the award) reflects the work I've done in the past seven years in Native American communities and with mentoring students of color in psychology," Todd-Bazemore said. "It's very encouraging to have that work recognized. But, I feel like this award is clearly shared with the Native American communities and people I've had the honor to work with."

Todd-Bazemore has been a faculty member at USD for all seven years of her professional career in psychology. She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Houston in 1992. She is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians of western New York State.

For more information contact Elizabeth Todd-Bazemore at (605) 677-5353.

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