A Florida State University clinical psychologist has been recognized with a national award for inspiring the next generation of psychology professionals to make a difference.
Distinguished Research Professor Brad Schmidt received the 2023 Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award, which is presented annually by the American Psychological Association to educators who have inspired former students to create an organization that has a demonstrable benefit on their community or to establish a lasting concept, procedure or movement that generates a community benefit.
“I’m honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award, which is particularly meaningful because it is recognition that your students are creating some benefit to the community at large,” said Schmidt, who has also served as director of FSU’s Anxiety and Behavioral Health Clinic (ABHC) since 2003 and presently chairs the psychology department.
Since its establishment in 2008, the Beckman Award has honored 132 current or former academic faculty members from across the U.S. Schmidt is among eight faculty members selected this year. He is slated to receive the award, which includes a $30,000 cash prize, at an Oct. 14 ceremony in Atlanta.
Schmidt’s research focuses on the nature, causes, treatment and prevention of anxiety and associated forms of psychopathology, including post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use and suicide. He is an expert on prevention and treatment of anxiety pathology, investigation of bio-behavioral parameters affecting anxiety pathology, and the relationship between anxiety pathology and physical health.
Through FSU’s ABHC, which is committed to developing and providing state-of-the-art treatments for individuals suffering from anxiety-related problems, Schmidt also supervises and guides graduate student therapists-in-training as they provide clinical services for clients and build professional relationships with mental health professionals in the Tallahassee area.
“For many professors, certainly for me, one of the best parts of our job is getting to work with graduate students,” Schmidt said. “The clinical psychology Ph.D. program at FSU is among the best in the country. It offers so many different types of opportunities to our students, and I am so fortunate to have been able to recruit and train amazing graduate students who have gone on to incredible careers in academics and in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the military and the private sector.”
“The clinical psychology Ph.D. program at FSU is among the best in the country. It offers so many different types of opportunities to our students, and I am so fortunate to have been able to recruit and train amazing graduate students who have gone on to incredible careers.”
– Distinguished Research Professor Brad Schmidt
To be considered for the Beckman Award, candidates must be nominated by a former student who can demonstrate tangible, lasting outcomes motivated by the nominee’s guidance and mentorship. Schmidt was nominated by Julia Buckner, who earned a master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology at FSU in 2005 and 2008 and is now a professor of psychology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and director of LSU’s Anxiety and Addictive Behaviors Laboratory and Clinic.
Buckner credits Schmidt and FSU as both inspiration and model for the formation of her own specialty clinic, which provides clinical services on LSU’s campus and in various in-patient and out-patient units of Baton Rouge’s Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. Buckner emulates Schmidt’s emphasis on clinical research publication and pursuit of federal funding, publishing more than 200 professional works and serving as a primary investigator, co-PI, consultant or sponsor on 13 federal, local, research and training grants.
“The research and clinical experience gained under his mentorship provided me with a solid foundation for my clinic’s work,” said Buckner, who served as assistant director of FSU’s ABHC for several years during her graduate studies. “He inspired me to build my own programs of research both related to the work we did together when I was in graduate school as well as venturing into my own line of research and clinical work with underserved populations.”
Schmidt earned a doctorate in clinical psychology in 1991 from the University of Texas at Austin before joining the FSU faculty in 2003. Earlier this year, he received a five-year, $3.7 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to conduct a clinical trial aimed at testing a novel treatment for anxiety in patients living with Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias, or mild cognitive impairment.
“It is a pleasure to congratulate Brad on this latest honor,” said Sam Huckaba, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “It is most significant that the award is student-generated and recognizes inspirational mentorship on the part of recipients. Brad fulfills this condition with great distinction.”
To learn more about Schmidt’s work, the FSU Department of Psychology, and FSU’s Anxiety and Behavioral Health Clinic, visit psychology.fsu.edu.