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Distinguished Service Award

Established in 1964, these awards were established to honor individuals and/or organizations that have contributed exceptional meritorious service to American psychiatry. They may be given annually.

The individual award can be divided into two separate awards:

  1. One for contributions to the APA, given only to APA General Members, Fellows, Distinguished Fellows, Life Members, Life Fellows, or Distinguished Life Fellows who have demonstrated a breadth & scope of contributions over time;
  2. One for contributions to the field, given to either members or non-members. The organizational award can be given to any group that has benefited APA, the field of psychiatry, or the mentally ill.

Program Benefits


Criteria / Eligibility

General: Nominees must demonstrate a breadth & scope of contribution to APA over time or contribution to the field of psychiatry.

Selection Committee-approved award criteria are exemplary service to the APA and/ or the field of psychiatry, including but not limited to:

  • Broad and/ or long-lasting contributions to education, research, leadership, and/or service, including to the APA administration,
  • Impact through academic work and service, such as publications, presentations, education of and outreach to others outside the profession; and,
  • Contribution to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Each selection is recorded in accordance with the award criteria on a scale of 1-4. The nomination with the highest grade at the end shall be considered the award recipient.

Selection Process

The Selection Committee or the Distinguished Service Award Work Group is chaired by the APA President and is comprised of two additional member who are past APA presidents (1 voting & 1 non-voting) and the CEO and Medical Director.

This Work group meets virtually in November to discuss nominations and review required submissions:

  1. 150-word statement and
  2. CV describing the nominee’s contributions to psychiatry.

The Work Group votes on the final award recipients, by using the above selection criteria.


October 31


Upon approval by the Board of Trustees during its December meeting, nominees and awardees are notified by the APA President and the CEO and Medical Director via award letter in December/January.

Award Presentation

A plaque will be presented to awardees during the APA Convocation held during the APA Annual Meeting.


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