SJU Psychology Professor Receives National Lifetime Award
In recognition of her work promoting multicultural psychology and “illuminating the mental health issues of underrepresented communities,” Beverly Greene, Ph.D., professor of psychology, has received the 2015 Henry Tomes Award for the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Psychology.
Sponsored by the Council of National Psychological Associations for the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Issues, the award was presented on January 14 at the biennial National Multicultural Conference and Summit in Atlanta, GA. “I am honored,” said Greene, who added that she “embraces the opportunity to help the profession to better understand how social inequities and cultural differences can lead to mental health problems.”
Greene was raised in a multicultural neighborhood in East Orange, NJ. She became interested in mental health issues affecting ethnic minority communities while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in psychology at New York University: “I was surprised by the lack of awareness of the impact cultural differences have on psychological well-being.” She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University. Greene went on to spend more than 10 years working in inpatient child and adolescent psychiatry at Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, NY.
Often asked to address ethnic minority mental health issues at professional conferences and workshops, Greene decided to seek a position in academia and, in 1991, joined St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Greene credits the University’s “commitment to cultural diversity and social justice” with enabling her “to pursue my research interests and help ethnic minority psychology gain acceptance by mainstream psychology.”
Among her many accomplishments, Greene has received more than 30 awards and honors, including the 2013 National Multicultural Conference and Summit Distinguished Elder Award; the 2012 Jewish Women’s Caucus Award for Scholarship; and the 2013 Oliva Espin Award for Social Justice Concerns in Feminist Psychology. She also has written and edited more than 100 publications, including books such as A Minyan of Women: Family Dynamics, Jewish identity, and Psychotherapy Practice (2011), which features chapters by two of her former students.
While teaching, Greene continues to run her private practice, which she started more than three decades ago. “Having first-hand experience as a working psychologist gives me practical experience and knowledge of industry challenges, such as meeting insurance requirements, which I am able to bring into the classroom,” she said.
Her students agree. Jasmine Ghannadpour ’16 Ph.D., a fourth-year doctoral student in clinical psychology, appreciates the “tough questions” that Greene considers in class: “I’m a more competent therapist thanks to our discussions about issues such as race and gender.” Shanee Stepakoff ’00 Ph.D. credits Greene with encouraging her "to create innovative, culturally-sensitive approaches to the healing and empowerment of my patients.”
“I find this work so interesting,” Greene said. “Even if I won the lottery today, I would continue to do what I do.”