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Meet APA’s New Science Officer

Mitchell PrinsteinABCT member Mitchell J. Prinstein, PhD, has been named the American Psychological Association’s new chief science officer, responsible for leading the association’s science agenda and advocating for the application of psychological research and knowledge in academia, government, industry and the law.

Prinstein will begin transitioning into the post March 1 after a long career as a psychology professor, researcher, and university administrator. He is currently the John Van Seters distinguished professor of psychology and neuroscience and assistant dean of Honors Carolina at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He joined the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2004 as an associate professor, rising to full professor in 2008. He began his academic career in 1999 as an assistant professor and later the director of clinical psychology at the Yale University Department of Psychology.

With continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health for over 20 years, Prinstein has published more than 150 scientific articles and nine books, including a set of encyclopedias on adolescent development, textbooks for both graduate and undergraduate education in psychology, and two professional development volumes for graduate students. His developmental psychopathology research has focused on popularity and peer relations, particularly among adolescents. He also has examined the associations between adolescents’ interpersonal experiences and psychological symptoms, including depression, self-injury, suicidal behavior and other health-risk behaviors. He is author of the mass-market book “Popular: Finding Happiness and Success in a World That Cares Too Much About the Wrong Kinds of Relationships.”

“I believe that science is the heart of our field, and the foundation upon which our association’s work is based,” Prinstein said. “Psychological science has enormous power to improve people’s lives and I am honored to join APA’s staff, where I will continue to work with APA and our profession to increase the production, dissemination and application of psychological science.”

A longtime leader in promoting psychological science, Prinstein has an extensive record of professional service, including as an elected member of the Executive Committee of the Coalition for the Advancement and Application of Psychological Science. This is a group of 12 national associations, including ABCT and APA, that are committed to the public dissemination of psychological science and the promotion of science-based graduate training in the United States.

Prinstein has served on APA’s Board of Directors as an at-large member, and has been active in APA governance, including the first APA Graduate Students representative to the APA Board, first chair for the Committee on Early Career Psychologists, and a member of the Good Governance Group. He also has been president of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, president of the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and editor of the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

At ABCT, Prinstein served as Web Editor and was awarded Outstanding Mentor in 2012. He and his lab were recently featured and he was a contributor to ABCT’s briefing book on Suicide.

Beyond his work as an academic, Prinstein is skilled in translating psychological science for a general audience, having written for or been interviewed by hundreds of mainstream media outlets to elevate the impact of psychological science.

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