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Thomas Jefferson Award honors professor of psychiatry at Emory

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Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD, ABPP, professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, was recently presented with Emory's Thomas Jefferson Award. The award is presented each year at Commencement to honor a member of the faculty or staff for significant service through personal leadership and influence.

Kaslow's work focuses on culturally competent assessment and treatment of suicidal behavior and intimate partner violence in African-American women, the impact of intimate partner violence on children, and examining evidence-based interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder.

In the early 1990's Kaslow established the Nia Project for abused, low-income African American women, many of whom were suicidal or had attempted suicide in the past. Through the development of this program, she created a safe haven for these women to come and share their often horrific experiences, receive much needed support and acquire a sense of empowerment. Nearly two decades later, Kaslow has kept the program growing and changing to fit the women's needs.

In another project initiated by Kaslow, she helped secure a three-year federal grant to launch a university-wide suicide prevention program, Emory Cares 4 U. The program has trained faculty, staff and students as "gatekeepers" to recognize and respond to those in need, and she hopes it has also helped reduce stigma.

"I nominated Dr. Kaslow for the Jefferson Award because she has been an incredible mentor and advocate for myself and other students and young researchers," says Amanda Garcia-Williams, MPH, doctoral student at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health.

"She has helped me to grow tremendously as a researcher and scholar and I can always count on her unwavering support with whatever endeavor I decide to take on. In addition to her mentorship, through her work with Emory Cares 4 U she has increased awareness of the problem of suicide among college students, and she has helped to create a group of people passionate about keeping the conversation about suicide prevention alive and active on Emory's campus."

 A past-president of the University Senate and Faculty Council, Kaslow has shown a sincere commitment to the university and its employees. Most recently she co-chaired the Committee on Class and Labor, a multi-year campus-wide examination of various aspects of class and status at Emory.

Kaslow says she is thrilled with receiving the Jefferson Award. "It was truly an amazing experience to look out on the Emory Quad and feel so honored and supported by my Emory family for serving the community. I am passionate about service and have a deep sense of social responsibility." Kaslow believes that the true reward is in making a difference and helping others.

Kaslow serves as vice-chair for Faculty Development in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, chief psychologist at Grady Memorial Hospital, and director of the Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Professional Psychology. She holds joint appointments in the Departments of Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, and Emory's Rollins School of Public Health. She is president-elect of the American Psychological Association and currently serves as the editor of the Journal of Family Psychology. Kaslow has authored more than 280 publications, and serves as a resource for media, sharing insight and direction in dealing with breaking news crises and general psychological matters.

These past several months have been rich with accolades for Kaslow. Since the fall of 2012, she has been named president-elect of the American Psychological Association, chosen as a recipient of the prestigious Beckman Award, and presented with the Inspiring Mentor Award from the Grady Health Foundation.

"Nadine Kaslow is the unique combination of a scholar with superb clinical skills and a genuine commitment to her community," says William M. McDonald, MD, J.B. Fuqua Chair for Late-Life Depression at Emory University School of Medicine, and Chief of Psychiatry at Grady Memorial Hospital.

"Nadine focuses on helping women who have suffered significant trauma and she applies academic rigor and compassion to turn their lives around," says McDonald. "Additionally, through Nadine's leadership at Emory and Grady, as well as nationally as president-elect of the American Psychological Association, Nadine has mentored literally hundreds of young psychologists and psychiatrists who have become leaders in our field."   

For her own enjoyment, Kaslow is devoted to the Atlanta Ballet, where she serves as psychologist, teacher and student. Dance has been part of her life since she was 3 years old.

 "I think Nadine's biggest wish is that one day she will change the world," says Sarah Dunn, a former student and colleague. "But I'm not sure if she truly comprehends that she already has!"

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