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SAN DIEGO (March 28, 2023) - Multicultural specialist, feminist scholar, and CSPP Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Debra Kawahara, Ph.D., has officially announced her bid for candidacy of the American Psychological Association (APA) Presidency. The nomination election is underway, ballots were sent out on March 1, 2023 and nomination voting ends on April 17. 

“The goal for my presidency is to actualize my campaign slogan ‘Strength in Unity.’ Because I believe an ethos of strengths-based unity provides us with an opportunity to continue to dismantle the hierarchal and exclusive structures within our communities, my action plan will be to amplify all our voices and create and support initiatives that illuminate all of our expertise and strengths within APA for the betterment of all,” said Kawahara. 

The APA is the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, with more than 146,000 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 APA president, plans to continue this line of service and work on APA’s strategic goals. 

Dr. Kawahara has been endorsed by the Alliant Board of Trustees. 

“Debra’s leadership in CSPP has been exceptional, we expect nothing less of her leadership in the APA,” said Andy Vaughn, president and CEO of the Alliant International University system. 

“Her thorough understanding of the opportunities and challenges that face the profession, paired with her extensive experience in APA leadership, uniquely position Debra for success in this role,” said Tracy Heller, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president of student affairs for Alliant International University. “From her active engagement in APA governance to her dedication to equity and advocacy at all levels, Debra has proven that she can continue to transform the association for the benefit of its members.” 

As a candidate for the APA Board of Directors,  Dr. Kawahara was 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. Her term as a member-at-large of the APA Board of Directors began on January 1, 2022. 

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, including nine APA-accredited clinical psychology programs, four organizational psychology programs, and one APA-designated clinical psychopharmacology program, across six U.S. campuses and previous international sites; conducting and supervising research on multicultural and global/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. 

Currently, Dr. Kawahara’s current leadership roles include serving as member-at-Large on the APA Board of Directors and National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology. 

Previous APA leadership and governance roles include serving as 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. During her tenure on APA Council, she was one of the movers to gain council seats for the Ethnic 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 and the Sue Rosenberg Zalk award. 


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