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FSU alumni named President of American Psychological Association

Wednesday, the American Psychological Association announced that Florida State University...
Wednesday, the American Psychological Association announced that Florida State University alumni, Jennifer Kelly, was named the president of the Association.(WCTV)
Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 7:08 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Wednesday, the American Psychological Association announced that Florida State University alumni, Jennifer Kelly, was named the president of the Association.

Kelly earned her master’s degree in psychology from FSU in 1984 and her doctorate in clinical psychology in 1987.

She assumed the president’s post at the APA on Jan. 1 after spending a year as the organization’s president-elect. 

In the press release, Kelly said that becoming president during a pandemic presents obvious challenges, but that it also provides many opportunities to advance the APA’s mission to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.

“We know what works in helping to combat the pandemic — wearing masks, social distancing — and psychology has an important role to play in helping people understand how these behaviors can impact our health and the health of the world,” she explained. “And when you talk about the increases in substance abuse and depression that we have seen through the pandemic, people need and are using our services, more than ever before.”

According to the press release, FSU helped prepare Kelly for private practice as a clinical health psychologist and her time now at the APA.

“One of the things I have always been proud of is to have graduated from Florida State; it’s a highly respected institution,” she said. “That was what my research interest was and being at FSU afforded me the opportunity to train with experts in that area.”

Kelly is the director of the Atlanta Center for Behavioral Medicine and is an expert in disorders that involve the relationship between physical and emotional conditions.

The press release stated that the Coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected minority communities, and Kelly said she intends to address those inequities during her presidency.  

“I was originally going to work on health inequities and when the pandemic happened it really highlighted the disparities that have been there,” she explained “That has been my commitment and now I have a platform to focus on it.” 

Kelly said that the pandemic has changed how she will work to carry out the daily  responsibilities of the APA president, a role that typically requires heavy travel currently halted by COVID-19 restrictions.

“Usually, they’d have me traveling all over the world; just a tremendous amount of travel,” she said. “The APA represents the largest group of psychologists in the world; so, I will miss those face-to-face meetings with people. Those meetings are now occurring virtually.”

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