Her four-decade career has included significant professional recognition, but few honors meant more to Beverly Greene, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology, than the Lifetime Career Achievement Award bestowed on her recently by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Dr. Greene, a clinical psychologist and member of St. John’s University’s faculty since 1991, was recognized for her years of work with minority populations and members of marginalized groups, including the LGBTQIA+ community. In a ceremony at the organization’s annual convention held from August 3 to 5 in Washington, DC, APA President Thema S. Bryant, Ph.D., thanked Dr. Greene for “speaking for the silent and challenging destructive norms and constructs.”
“When Dr. Greene sees a problem, she will not rest until she has moved toward a solution,” Dr. Bryant continued. “She is an extraordinary leader in American psychology.”
Dr. Greene, a recipient of more than 40 professional citations—including the Outstanding Faculty Achievement medal from St. John’s in 2008—is the author of nearly 100 professional research publications. Nine of those publications have earned national recognition for their contributions to the “psychological literature on women, women of color, sexual minorities, African American women, and families.”
She teaches undergraduate and graduate classes at St. John’s and remains an advocate for marginalized groups and those overlooked by society.
“Just because you are warm and dry does not mean there is not a storm outside,” Dr. Greene said. “It just means that you are fortunate enough to have protection from it. Whether we are talking about the climate and natural forces, or the unnatural forces of inequitable social arrangements, it is important to be sensitive to pain and suffering.”
From almost the start of her career, Dr. Greene has been recognized as a leader in the fields of the psychology of women, and of gender and racial issues in psychotherapy. She is a recipient of a host of regional and national awards, including the Outstanding Leadership Award from the APA’s Committee on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns (1996); the Distinguished Leadership Award from the APA’s Committee on Women in Psychology (2003); and the Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest Senior Career Award (2009).
She has also been a driving force for the enhanced integration of psychology and social justice, challenging formerly accepted paradigms and developing new approaches more in line with the realities of diversity. That work was recognized by the organization Mental Health America in its 2021 salute to Black pioneers in mental health, and also by the Ackerman Institute for the Family, which presented Dr. Greene with its annual Moving Families Forward Award in 2022.
Ernest V.E. Hodges, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, called Dr. Greene a role model for both educators and clinical psychologists.
“Dr. Greene is a true pioneer, and her voluminous work has had a profound impact on the work of other academics, the training of countless clinical psychologists, and the lives of their clients,” Dr. Hodges said. “She is committed to social justice and uses her knowledge and clinical skills to assist marginalized communities, inspiring others to make a difference in the world.”
To Dr. Greene, acknowledging social inequities is a first step toward treating the psychological issues that emerge from them.
“It’s important to understand that when people are forced to adapt to social pathologies, not everybody does that well,” Dr. Greene said. “And because they don’t figure out the right way to do it, we must have better ways of addressing social pathologies so people aren’t in those situations to begin with.”
“We need to develop more research around why we have so many inequitable social arrangements that clearly disadvantage certain people to the advantage of others who are part of the dominant cultural group,” Dr. Greene continued. “Especially when we profess an ethic of fairness. That is one of our country’s values.”