Johnson to lead American Psychological Association

Suzanne Johnson

Suzanne Bennett Johnson, Distinguished Research Professor in the Florida State University College of Medicine’s Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences, is the newly elected president of the American Psychological Association for 2012.

The APA has 150,000 members, making it the largest association of psychologists in the world. It is based in Washington, D.C.

“After 35 years in academia, I have given up my administrative duties to devote my time to research and service,” said Johnson, former chair of the College of Medicine’s medical humanities department. “I am grateful for my career as a psychologist, and service to psychology is my way of giving back. I am honored to have been chosen to serve as APA president.”

John Fogarty, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine, said Johnson’s election reflects well on the esteem she is held in among her peers.

“Dr. Johnson is an outstanding scholar in her field,” Fogarty said. “We are very proud of her but not surprised that her colleagues selected her for this important role.”

With 30-plus years of research funding from the National Institutes of Health, Johnson has focused her work on medical regimen adherence, childhood diabetes, pediatric obesity and the psychological impact of genetic screening on children and families. She received awards for her research contributions from the Society of Pediatric Psychology, the Association of Medical School Psychologists and the American Diabetes Association.

Johnson was director of the Center for Pediatric and Family Studies at the University of Florida Health Science Center until 2002, when she came to Florida State.

A licensed psychologist who holds certification from the American Board of Professional Psychology, Johnson spent more than three decades seeing children and families in a pediatric diabetes clinic as part of an integrated multidisciplinary care team. She worked with the American Diabetes Association to develop standards for the psychological care of patients with diabetes and worked with the APA Practice Directorate to establish the Health and Behavior CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) codes, permitting psychological services to be reimbursed as part of the medical benefit.

She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cornell University and her doctorate in clinical psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She is a native of Johnson City, N.Y.

Johnson has chaired 56 completed master’s theses and doctoral dissertations and has been instrumental in developing an innovative, integrated biopsychosocial curriculum for FSU’s College of Medicine. She received awards for her mentorship from both the McKnight Foundation and APA’s Div. 54 (Society of Pediatric Psychology).

As co-chair of the psychosocial studies committee of NIH’s The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study, she is responsible for all psychological components of this international study. The National Academy of Science’s report on International Collaborations in Social and Behavioral Research was a product of her work as chair of the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Psychological Science. She is a member of the International Union of Science’s Planning Group on Health and Well-being in the Changing Urban Environment.

In 2001-2002, serving as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow for then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, Johnson helped develop Clinton’s response to the mental health needs of New York City children after Sept. 11. The Lifespan Respite Care Act, which Johnson wrote during her fellowship, became law in 2006.