University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Department (CTAHR) Chair Barbara W. K. Yee was awarded the American Psychological Association’s James Jones Lifetime Achievement Award during the organization’s recent national meeting in Honolulu.
The award was presented by APA’s Minority Fellowship Program in recognition of Yee’s longstanding and distinguished contributions to the field of racial and ethnic minority psychology through teaching and training.
A developmental psychologist, Yee is a professor and chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. Her research bridges immigration, acculturation, gender issues, health literacy and lifestyle practices. She has followed Southeast Asian immigrant and refugee families since the fall of Saigon in 1975, studied immigrant women from the Philippines and Mexico, and looked at generations of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander families.
As part of the APA program, Yee organized a symposium on improving Native Hawaiian outcomes in health and mental health featuring colleagues Keawe Kaholokula, chair of Native Hawaiian Health at the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine, and Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, who was also honored for achievement in becoming CEO of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. All three are alumni of the UH Mānoa Department of Psychology.
Widely published, Yee has briefed national leaders on health disparities among ethnic minority women and adaptive aging. A fellow of the American Psychological Association and Gerontological Society of America, she has served on the National Institutes of Health Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health, chaired the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee of Novartis International and served on committees for several professional organization. She has served on editorial boards for several academic journals—most recently the Journal of Orthopsychiatry and Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation—and is associate editor for the Journal of Asian American Psychology.
The University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center on Aging named Yee its Joseph C. Valley Gerontological Professional of 1999 for her research, teaching and advocacy on behalf of underserved elders around the world.
Yee called the latest award particularly meaningful, since she received Minority Fellowship Program support as a student. The federally funded program provides support, training, mentoring and career development to increase the number of minority professionals in psychology and advance understanding of the life experiences of ethnic minority communities.