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The annual Frances J. Bonner, MD award recognizes an individual who has overcome adversity and has made significant contributions to the field of mental health and/or the care of minority communities.
The Frances J. Bonner, MD award was established in 2010 by the MGH Department of Psychiatry and the MGH Psychiatry Center for Diversity in order to promote diversity and inclusion in the psychiatric community. This annual award recognizes an individual who has overcome adversity and has made significant contributions to the field of mental health and/or the care of minority communities.
The late Frances J. Bonner, MD, was a 50-year veteran of the MGH Psychiatry Department and the first African-American woman physician to train on an MGH service. Dr. Bonner came to MGH in 1949 after completing her neurology training at Boston City Hospital. She started her research career at the MGH with a two-year fellowship from Radcliffe to study hysteria and later conducted neurobiological research at MGH. Dr. Bonner received her psychoanalytic certification at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute in 1975 and with others, founded the Psychoanalytic Institute of New England. Dr. Bonner devoted most of her career to clinical practice and supervising residents in individual psychotherapy. She was a pioneer in crossing racial and gender boundaries within medicine.
In honor of Dr. Bonner's contributions, a formal portrait was unveiled in late 2013, with members of the Bonner family joining Mass. General Hospital leaders and staff for the dedication ceremony. The portrait now hangs in the White lobby, near the hospital's main entrance.
Jessica Henderson Daniel, Ph.D., ABPP was the recipient of the 2015 Frances J. Bonner, MD, Award.
Dr. Daniel is Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. At Boston Children's Hospital, she is the director of training in psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and associate director of the LEAH (Leadership Education in Adolescent Health) Training Program in the Division of Adolescent Medicine.
In the American Psychological Association (APA), she is the first African American woman elected to serve on the APA Board of Directors. While on the BOD, she initiated the formation of the Task Force on Resilience and Strength in Black Children and Adolescents. The task force report: Resilience in African American Children and Adolescents: A Vision for Optimal Development, has been widely distributed and well-received.
She is also a co-editor of The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women, Featuring Females: Feminist Analyses of Media in 2005. Much of her career has focused on instruction, training, and mentoring trainees and junior faculty. Dr. Daniel has received several awards for excellence in diversity training and outstanding mentorship.
Dr. Daniel presented at Psychiatry Grand Rounds on Nov. 5, 2015 on The Tapestry of Difference: Weaving Cognition and Affect into Practice, Research and Training.
Haji Shearer, LSW was the recipient of the 2014 Frances J. Bonner, MD, Award.
Haji Shearer is a social worker who is the Director of the Fatherhood Initiative at the Children’s Trust in Boston. Children’s Trust is a statewide Child Abuse and Prevention agency. He’s been supporting families in urban, at risk communities as a home-based clinician, parent group facilitator and professional development trainer since 1993. Haji is a Licensed Social Worker, husband, father and has practiced meditation for over 30 years.
Much of his professional work has been with low-income men of color. He started working in residential homes with mentally ill adults while earning a degree in Management of Human Service from UMASS Boston. After graduation he began working with a home-based team at Family Service of Greater Boston that served families who were in danger of having their minor children placed outside their home.
His skill in engaging fathers led to an opportunity at the Family Nurturing Center where he established parenting groups largely for African-American and Latino fathers. Over a six year period over 200 fathers and 600 children benefitted from over 25 cycles of the 13 week Nurturing Father’s Program. In 2006 he began working for the Children’s Trust. In his role there he has helped to institute system change in over 30 family service organizations across the state with programs which bring a message of cooperative parenting and empathic discipline.
This is but a snapshot of Haji’s background and the work he has done, but I hope it gives you a hint of the individual he is. It was felt by the Diversity Committee this is an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of mental health care of minority communities and is a deserving recipient of the Frances J. Bonner, MD Award.
Mr. Shearer presented at Psychiatry Grand Rounds on Dec. 11, 2014 on "Integrating Culture and Mindfulness to Support Father, Mother and Child Well-being". View his presentation here.
Joseph E. Trimble, Ph.D., was the 2013 Francis J. Bonner, MD, Award recipient, presented on Nov. 21, 2013.
There is no multicultural psychologist who has influenced, mentored, taught and wrote about American Indian life, culture and psychology to the degree of excellence characterized by his life’s work.
Dr. Trimble (PhD, University of Oklahoma, Institute of Group Relations, 1969) is a Distinguished University Professor and member of the Department of Psychology, the Woodring College of Education, and a Research Associate in the Center for Cross-Cultural Research at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. Also, he was a former Senior Scholar at the Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research and an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Colorado State University and a Research Associate for the National Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. From 2000-2001, he was a Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University. In September 2010, he was appointed as a President’s Professor at the Center for Alaska Native Health Research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Dr. Trimble earned a baccalaureate degree from Waynesburg College (now University) in 1961 and pursued graduate studies in psychology at the University of New Hampshire, Harvard University, and the University of Oklahoma. In addition, he pursued postdoctoral studies at the University of Colorado, Ohio University, and the University of Hawai’i-Manoa, /East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Throughout his career, he has focused his efforts on promoting psychological and sociocultural research with indigenous populations, especially American Indians and Alaska Natives.
You can view Dr. Trimble's presentation at the Dept. of Psychiatry Grand Rounds on Nov. 21, 2013.
Dr. Margarita Alegria, a distinguished professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is the 2012 recipient of the Frances J. Bonner Award. Her research interests include health disparities and Latino health issues. Specifically, her focus is on mental health availability and quality for minorities, especially Latino populations. Dr. Alegria has studied high risk behavior and HIV/AIDS in minority populations as well as ways to improve mental health care for Latinos. In this capacity she has served as a consultant on many national and international committees for health reform and better healthcare for minorities.
Dr. Alegria's distinguished career includes a long list of awards. Most notably, Dr. Alegria was named one of the “twenty most distinguished women in Puerto Rico” in 1996 and in 2007 she was awarded the Latino Leadership award by the Twin cities Latino Coalition. Dr. Alegria was named a full professor of psychiatry at Harvard medical school in 2004 at the remarkably young age of 42.
As a result of her expertise, Dr. Alegria has been invited to participate in several committees that have shaped the way ethnic minorities receive mental health care in the U.S. She was a member of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s Healthcare committee (2006) and she is currently a member of the Healthcare disparities technical Advisory panel for the National Quality Forum (2006-present) as well as a member of the Massachusetts Medicaid Disparities policy round table (2007).
In the past few years, Dr. Alegria has given over a hundred presentations on minority issues at several professional meetings (e.g. American society of Hispanic Psychiatrists, American Psychological Association, etc.) and prestigious universities (e.g., Harvard University, Dartmouth Medical School), where she spoke on topics such as ethnicity and mental health, mental health services to ethnic minorities, and mental health disparities.
Dr. Alegria is a highly accomplished researcher and educator, as well as a personal inspiration to minorities and women who hope to pursue a successful career in research. She has mentored 35 doctoral candidates and post doctoral fellows.
The first recipient of the MGH Frances J. Bonner, MD award is Carl C. Bell, MD. The MGH Department of Psychiatry and Psychiatry Department’s Center for Diversity awarded Dr. Bell the Frances A. Bonner, MD, award during his Feb. 17, 2011 MGH Psychiatry Grand Rounds presentation on “Preventing Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities.”
Dr. Bell is the Director of the Institute for Juvenile Research, Director of Public and Community Psychiatry, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health at University of Illinois in Chicago. He is also the President and CEO of Community Mental Health Council and Foundation, Inc., a multimillion dollar comprehensive community mental health center located on Chicago’s Southside.
Over the last 35 years, Dr. Bell has published over four hundred articles on mental health issues and is currently an Associate Editor of the American Psychiatric Press. He is an internationally recognized lecturer and author whose work has focused on mental wellness, violence prevention and traumatic stress caused by violence.
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