Recognition from the US Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association acknowledges excellence in research 

June 1, 2006 

WORCESTER, Mass-The pressures of parenting are innumerable, but for adults with mental illness, these pressures can be compounded by the many life-altering symptoms of their disease. For more than two decades, clinical psychologist Joanne Nicholson, PhD, University of Massachusetts Medical School professor of psychiatry, has worked to understand the impact of mental illness on parenting and to implement programs that can assist parents with psychiatric disorders and their families as they struggle to maintain as safe and productive a family life as possible.   In recognition of the importance and impact of this research, Dr. Nicholson has been named the recipient of the 2006 Armin Loeb Award from the US Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA). 

Bringing together agencies, practitioners, families and persons with psychiatric disabilities, the USPRA aims to help advance the role, scope, and quality of services designed to facilitate the community readjustment of people with psychiatric disabilities. The association continually seeks to improve the quality of psychiatric rehabilitation services and resources, to strengthen the role of community-oriented psychosocial rehabilitation within the mental health service delivery systems, and to facilitate the coordination and continuity of programs.  The Armin Loeb Award is presented each year to a USPRA member who has conducted "the best designed and most useful research in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation in the preceding year or years… based on quality, significance and contributions to the knowledge base underlying the current and future directions of the field." Dr. Nicholson will receive the award June 6 at the USPRA Annual Meeting in Phoenix. 

"I am so thrilled, yet humbled to receive this award," Dr. Nicholson said. "This recognition is welcome evidence that the plight of parents dealing with the consequences of mental illness and the subsequent impact on families is a tremendously important issue for those professionals in the field as well as to advocates for better psychiatric rehabilitation services."    

Dr. Nicholson is Associate Director of the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mental Health Services Research, where she directs the Child and Family Research Core. In this role, she has established an active, consumer-based program of research on parents with mental illness and their families. Her team of researchers, providers, and consumers is developing education and skills training materials for parents, expanding the current knowledge on parents with mental illness, and piloting and testing psychiatric rehabilitation interventions for families. 

She earned her doctorate and master's degree in human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University, and an undergraduate degree in human growth and analysis from Syracuse University. 

Dr. Nicholson writes extensively on the challenges facing families, and provides training and consultation to professional and consumer groups. Her work has been funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Alliance for Mental Illness Research Institute, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, and private foundations. Dr. Nicholson is the lead author of Parenting Well When You're Depressed: A Complete Resource for Maintaining a Healthy Family, published by New Harbinger Publications. Written by parents for parents, it is the first self-help manual for parents living with mental illness. 

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research.  The Medical School attracts more than $174 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. UMMS is the academic partner of UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts. For more information visit .

Contact: Kelly Bishop, 508-856-2000,