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International Association of Applied Psychology honors Amy Ai for contributions to health psychology

Amy Ai, professor in Florida State University’s College of Social Work and a Faculty Affiliate with the Institute for Successful Longevity, has been honored by the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) for her long and distinguished history of scientific contributions to health psychology.

Amy Ai is a professor in Florida State University’s College of Social Work and a Faculty Affiliate with the Institute for Successful Longevity.

IAAP’s Division 8: Health Psychology gave Ai its Distinguished Health Psychology Contribution Award for 2018.

As noted by Urte Scholz, president of Division 8, “It was an extremely competitive field this year, as the applications were of such a high standard.” The selection criterion included contributions to health psychological science/ health psychology practice, peer-reviewed publications, international recognitions and research leadership.

“Dr. Ai’s seminal study on psychosocial recovery of open-heart surgery patients has set a new bar for interdisciplinary medical research in these patients…,” said one letter in support of her nomination for the award. “Because of the high impact of cardiovascular diseases and massive traumatic events in our society, her outcomes may help improve the quality of life for Americans in the future.”

Ai said she was grateful for the recognition from IAAP, the oldest international association of psychologists with members in more than 80 nations. “The award credits our patient-centered research in an ongoing interdisciplinary effort, a gift offered by my colleagues around the globe,” she said. “This gives great encouragement to my entire research team over the past decade, involving members from social sciences, cardiology, psychiatry, and immunology. Among them, I want to especially acknowledge my early mentor, Christopher Peterson, Ph.D., a founder of positive psychology.”

Jim Clark, dean of the College of Social Work, said the award reflects the high regard other scientist hold for Ai and her research. “Since her years as a doctoral student at Michigan, Dr. Ai has seen positive psychology and spirituality as potentially powerful tools for enhancing post-surgical recovery,” Clark said. “Her gifts as a quantitative model-builder has created new opportunities to develop and test interventions in this important domain of health and medicine.”

Ai, who received her joint doctorate in Psychology and Social Work from the University of Michigan, is also affiliated with FSU’s Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, the departments of Psychology and Social Medicine and Behavioral Science, as well as with the College of Nursing.

She will receive the award from IAAP’s Division 8 meeting in Montreal on June 27.