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SAN DIEGO (Sept 29, 2021) - Multicultural specialist, feminist scholar, and CSPP Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Debra Kawahara, Ph.D, has officially announced her run for the American Psychological Association (APA) Board of Directors. The election began on September 15 and closes on October 29, 2021. The Board of Directors will be selected by fellows, members, and voting associates of the APA. 

“This pandemic revealed and exacerbated the existing racial injustices and health disparities in our society and the public was asked to live and behave in unimaginable ways,” said Kawahara. “APA and psychologists now have an opportunity to impact how society can be restructured in creative and innovative ways for a more just and equitable world. As a professor, therapist, researcher, administrator, and advocate, I have found systems theory useful in guiding my work with clients, communities, and organizations and it provides translatable skills as an administrator and in governance roles and I hope to impact the APA and help move us all forward.” 

The APA is the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, with more than 122,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members. Dr. Kawahara's efforts in her academic career align with the APA’s mission to promote the advancement, communication, and application of psychological science and knowledge to benefit society and improve lives and as an APA Board Director hopes to continue this line of service and work on APA’s strategic goals. Specifically, she plans to focus on its initiatives on eradicating racism and advocating for human rights for all. Of utmost importance is furthering APA as the voice on critical psychological and social issues, both domestically and globally, based on the foundation of our science and best practices while sustaining a strong organization through data-informed decisions, fiscal management, and effective resource allocation. 

Dr. Kawahara has been endorsed by APA Division 2 - Society for the Teaching of Psychology; APA Division 35 - Society for the Psychology of Women; APA Division 35, Section 5 - Psychology of Asian Pacific American Women; APA Division 45 - Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race; Caucus for the Optimal Utilization of Talent (COUNT); Education & Training Caucus; Ethnic Minority Caucus; Hong Kong Association of Doctors in Clinical Psychology; National Council of School & Programs in Professional Psychology (NCSPP); Institute for Academic Feminist Psychologists; Public Interest Caucus; and Rural Health Issues Caucus. 

“I wholeheartedly believe that APA must continue to play a vital role in advancing the health and wellness of our multicultural society,'' said Kawahara. “The possibility of me working and collaborating with APA members and staff fuels my passion to make an impact. As I reflect on the opportunity to be an APA Board Director, I know that my skills and experiences have prepared me to be an effective board member and lead APA into its next chapter - I would be so honored to do so.”

For more information on the APA Elections or on Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Distinguished Professor, Dr. Debra Kawahara, visit the links above.  

About Alliant International University

Alliant is a private university accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) which offers programs in psychology, education, business management, forensic studies, and law. Alliant's mission is to prepare students for professional careers of service and leadership, and to promote the discovery and application of knowledge to improve the lives of people in diverse cultures and communities around the world. More information is available at

About Dr. Debra Kawahara

Debra M. Kawahara, Ph.D., is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Distinguished Professor at the California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University. Her responsibilities include managing over 20 programs across 6 U.S. campuses and previous international sites; conducting and supervising research on multicultural and international dynamics, women’s issues, and mental health; and teaching numerous courses. She has also published extensively and has presented at international, national, and state venues. 

Her current leadership roles include being an APA Council of Representatives member, APA Finance Committee member, an Advisory Committee member for the Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology, Divisions on Social Justice representative, and a National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology delegate. During her tenure on APA Council, she was one of the movers to gain council seats for the Ethnic Minority Psychological Associations, which was successfully passed by the APA membership.She also served as co-chair of the Apology Letter to the American Indian, Native American, and Indigenous Peoples and participated in the Council Diversity Work Group and its three subcommittees and several caucuses: Women’s Caucus (chair), Ethnic Minority Issues Caucus (secretary), Association of Practicing Psychologists, COUNT, Education & Training, and Public Interest. 

Several awards have been bestowed upon Dr. Kawahara, including the APA Presidential Citation; Shining Star Award at the National Multicultural Conference & Summit; APA’s Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity’s Distinguished Career Contributions for Service Award; and APA’s Society for the Psychology of Women, Section on Asian Pacific Islander Women’s Pioneer Award.

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