Chester M. Pierce Human Rights Award

The Chester M. Pierce Human Rights Award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of individuals and organizations 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.

View past recipients of the Chester M. Pierce Human Rights Award .




Any individual or organization focused on promoting the human rights of populations with mental health needs.

Nomination Requirements

  • Letter of Recommendation, including a summary of relevant contributions and activities, from an APA Member
  • Letter of Support
  • CV (condensed)
  • Relevant supporting documents (optional)


June 1

Award Presentation

The plaque is presented during a topic relevant session at the APA Annual Meeting.

Staff Contact

Ricardo A. Juarez
(202) 559-3656


APA Awards

Each year APA honors individuals for career recognition, lifetime service, outstanding research, and other categories that improve the lives of people with mental illness.

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Chester Pierce Human Rights Award Endowment Campaign

APA has launched a campaign to endow the Chester Pierce Human Rights Award, creating a new lectureship and travel stipend for each year's APA Annual Meeting.

Learn More