The APA Citizen Psychologist program is an initiative of APA President Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, ABPP, for 2018 and beyond.

What is an APA Citizen Psychologist?

APA President Jessica Henderson Daniel describes the Citizen Psychologist initiative.


APA Citizen Psychologists serve as leaders in their various communities. Through prolonged engagement in significant activities, they contribute to improving the lives of all. This can include public service, volunteerism, board membership and other strategic roles often not directly associated with the day-to-day work of psychologists in our careers. APA Citizen Psychologists come from all branches of the field of psychology. They bring psychological science and expertise to bear on existing challenges to improve community well-being locally, nationally or globally.

APA Citizen Psychologist program

Psychology is every day, in every way

Be recognized for using your psychological expertise to benefit people’s lives.

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Goals of the APA Citizen Psychologist Initiative

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Educate the public about how psychology contributes to the formulation and implementation of policies that improve our communities.

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Provide learning objectives and educational materials (PDF, 1.9MB) to help educate people from high school, undergraduate and graduate school, internship, postdoctoral fellowship, and lifelong learning about how to become or serve as a successful APA Citizen Psychologist.

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Award Presidential Citations to exemplary APA Citizen Psychologists and other members of the psychology community.

Featured Citizen Psychologists

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From APA President
Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, ABPP

Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD

The APA Citizen Psychologist initiative grew out of my mantra: Psychology Is Every Day In Every Way.

Almost every aspect of human existence is impacted by psychological science, education and practice. And almost every social policy can be informed by it. For these reasons, I firmly believe that psychologists and psychology students need to be in more rooms, at more tables, and at the heads of those tables when decisions affecting the public are formulated and implemented.

I would like APA members to be energized and motivated as they discover how to serve as an APA Citizen Psychologist! So, I am launching it as my core initiative as 2018 President of APA.

My dream is that the APA Citizen Psychologist concept will be infused into the discipline through education at all levels — from high school to lifelong learning. It is important to me that this concept of service to the public good endures as an integral part of APA’s future.

I will honor the work of APA Citizen Psychologists and other members with APA Presidential Citations, and ask divisions and state, provincial and territorial organizations to not only help me identify worthy recipients, but also sustain recognition well beyond 2018.

It is rewarding to be in such a dynamic and expansive discipline. I am excited to see where our members will take psychology next.

Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, ABPP
2018 APA President

Nominations Closed

Thank you for your interest in this initiative. Nominations are now closed for 2018.

APA Citizen Psychologist™ FAQs

What is a Citizen Psychologist?

Citizen psychologists are psychologists who have been engaged in activities to improve the lives of people in their communities. These activities can include public service, volunteerism, board membership and other strategic roles which are not directly associated with one’s day-to-day job as a practitioner, scientist or educator. Presidential Citations will be awarded to the most exceptional Citizen Psychologists we can identify among APA members.

Why did APA President Daniel choose this as her primary APA presidential initiative?

President Daniel has long been committed to having psychologists recognized for their contributions to, and leadership within the communities in which they work and live. She also believes that psychologists must be “in the room, at the table and at the head of the table” where decisions are made, whether in healthcare, federal and state policy, community enrichment programs or elsewhere. President Daniel’s longstanding interest in diversity underlies her strong belief that inclusion at all levels adds to the richness and diversity of all communities.

What is the goal of this initiative?

Overall, the initiative seeks to establish the ongoing importance of the Citizen Psychologist movement as part of the education of each new generation of psychologists, and bring the science of psychology into decision making on community programming, legislation and other processes that have the potential to improve the lives of all members of society. 

There are three short-term strategies in the Citizen Psychologist initiative:

  • Recognize Citizen Psychologist leaders and members doing citizen psychology work through APA Presidential Citations.
  • Develop and disseminate learning objectives for attaining the competencies required for becoming a Citizen Psychologist at all levels of learning: high school, undergraduate, graduate, internship, postdoctoral and lifelong learning.
  • Obtain baseline survey data for the frequency and roles that psychologists are currently engaged in nationally as Citizen Psychologists.
What are some examples of being a Citizen Psychologist?

Being a Citizen Psychologist means demonstrating engagement in your community. Engagement can be at any level — from just beginning to explore opportunities in one’s neighborhood that might benefit from a psychological lens, to sustaining meaningful connections with civic and public sector partners on a project of several months or years, to delivering impactful change through exceptional leadership. Roles are as varied as being a long-term volunteer for community programs such as Meals-on-Wheels or Habitat for Humanity; being a state delegate for a political party; participating in your church ministries; volunteering as a content expert speaker for a non-profit organization, such as the local Alzheimer’s Association; fundraising for a charity of your choice; and so on.

Showing leadership as a Citizen Psychologist, one might begin and sustain a mentoring program for a vulnerable population in the community; be elected to a community position such as the school board or the city council; be appointed to the executive committee of a local or national non-profit or professional organization; and so on. Exceptional leadership activities of Citizen Psychologists will be recognized specifically by Daniel in 2018 with APA Presidential Citations.

What are the criteria for receiving a Presidential Citation?

There are five criteria for our selection process for an APA Presidential Citation. All nominees must be a member* of APA; have sustained activities in improving their communities; bring psychological science or expertise to these activities beyond their day-to-day work; and at least one of their community roles must be as a leader, demonstrating exceptionalism in said leadership role.

*All member types are eligible. Nominees must hold a doctorate in any psychology subfield and be a full member, fellow, or hold a lifetime status membership in APA. We also invite nominations from APA associate members, international affiliates, graduate student affiliates, undergraduate student affiliates, high school student affiliates, community college teacher affiliates, and high school teacher affiliates, and other lifetime status members. 

When should I nominate myself or someone else for an award?

The nomination period for 2018 has ended. Thank you for your interest in this initiative.

For more information

If you have further questions about this initiative, please contact Eddy Ameen or Jessica Andrade, staff liaisons.

Citizen Psychologist Working Group members

Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD (2018 APA president); Kate Brown, PhD (co-chair); Ron Rozensky, PhD (co-chair); Sharon Bowman, PhD (citations); Lara Bruner (high school curriculum); Kermit Crawford, PhD (internship curriculum); Cynthia de las Fuentes, PhD (citations); Cynthia Gomez, PhD (survey); Amber Hewitt, PhD (postdoctoral curriculum); Elizabeth McQuaid, PhD (internship curriculum); Jeff Mio, PhD (undergraduate curriculum); Carlos Montalvan (high school curriculum); Roger Reeb, PhD (graduate curriculum); Ana Ruiz, PhD (undergraduate curriculum); Peter Sheras, PhD (graduate curriculum); Wayne Siegel, PhD (postdoctoral curriculum), Jennifer Taylor, PhD (lifelong learning curriculum); and Wendi Williams, PhD (lifelong learning curriculum). Staff liaisons: Ameen; Andrade.