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Chester M. Pierce Human Rights Award

The Chester M. Pierce Human Rights Award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of individuals to promote the human rights of populations with mental health needs by bringing attention to their work. Originally established in 1990 to raise awareness of human rights abuses, the award was renamed in 2017 to honor Chester M. Pierce, M.D. (1927-2016) and recognize his dedication as an innovative researcher on humans in extreme environments, an advocate against disparities, stigma, and discrimination, and as a pioneer and visionary in global mental health.

The Chester M. Pierce Human Rights Award Nominating Committee is comprised of members of the Council on International Psychiatry and Global Health, the Council on Minority Mental Health and Health Disparities, the Assembly Committee of Representatives of Minority/Underrepresented Groups, and Black Psychiatrists of America, Inc.

In 2021, the award was endowed through the efforts of the Chester M. Pierce Human Rights Endowment Campaign and the generous support of donors. The endowed award provides the awardee with a lectureship, travel stipend of $5,000, and a plaque at the APA Annual Meeting. View our Campaign Honor Roll here.

Program Benefits

$5,000, Plaque, Award lecture

Criteria / Eligibility

  • Extraordinary efforts to promote the human rights of populations with mental health needs
  • Efforts reflect the vision and values of Chester M. Pierce, M.D.
  • Efforts reflect current state of the nation/world
  • Efforts would benefit from bringing attention to them

Previous nominees not awarded may be resubmitted.

Nomination / Application Details

  • Letter of Nomination from APA Member (must include summary of relevant contributions and activities)
  • CV (condensed)
  • Additional Letter of Support (optional)
  • Relevant supporting documents (optional)


July 1



Award Presentation

Presented at award lecture during APA's Annual Meeting.


Omar Davis
[email protected]
(202) 559-3667

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