Foundation Awards & Grants

Thanks to the generosity and support of our donors, the NJPA Foundation is able to continue providing awards and grants that support the training and research of graduate students who focus on the underserved residents in New Jersey. Without financial assistance, the Foundation would be unable to continue to fulfill its mission, “promoting the psychological health of the diverse people of New Jersey.


Here’s what your generous NJPA Foundation support enables us to do:

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Dissertation Grants:  The NJPA Foundation Dissertation Grants are open to doctoral level graduate psychology students, enrolled in a New Jersey doctoral level psychology program. To be a candidate for this grant, a qualified graduate student must have one of the following two areas of study/exploration as the focus of her/his doctoral dissertation:

New NJPA Foundation Dissertation Grant – Social Advocacy Open Topic 
Starting in 2020, the NJPA Foundation will offer a new NJPA Foundation Dissertation Grant to doctoral level graduate psychology students, enrolled in a New Jersey doctoral level psychology program. To be a candidate for this grant, a qualified graduate student must have a social advocacy topic that may or does impact underserved populations of New Jersey.

The NJPA Foundation Board of Trustees may award up to $5,000 per grant recipient, per social advocacy open topic grant. The dissertation grant applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis. If approved, the NJPA Foundation will develop an individual grant distribution schedule, per grant recipient.

Congratulations! 2020 Social Advocacy Open Topic Dissertation Grant Recipients

Searching for Refuge: How psychologists make meaning of their work with asylum seekers in a turbulent sociopolitical climate 
by Hanna R. Schwartzbaum

As of 2019, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had identified 70.8 million current, forcibly displaced people (“UNHCR,” 2019). Once displaced, these migrants often seek refuge in a host country by means of an asylum process necessitating a legal case, and at times, a psychological evaluation to support their claim. This dissertation is an exploratory, qualitative investigation that examines psychologists’ experiences conducting asylum evaluations across the following domains: their autobiographical connections to this field, the factors that contribute to their continued drive to serve in this social justice role, and their ability to make meaning of the stories they hear. Click here to read more.

Phenomenological Experiences of Traumatic Childbirth in Black Women 
by Ruby Rhoden

Over 700 women in the US die annually during pregnancy and childbirth, making it the most dangerous country to give birth in the developed world. Yet, there is a neglected and rapidly growing population that affects 2,000-fold more women every year – maternal morbidity. Click here to read more. 


Buffers Against the Effect of Discrimination on Mental Health in Sexual Minority Individuals

by Cindy Chang
Sexual minority individuals are at elevated risk for negative mental health outcomes compared to heterosexual individuals, including greater depression, anxiety, substance use, and suicidal ideation and behaviors (Cochran, Sullivan, & Mays, 2003; King et al., 2008). A large body of research suggests that these disparities are related to identity-related stressors, including sexual minority-related discrimination (Meyer, 2003). Although the negative effects of discrimination on mental health are well studied, little is known about buffers of this relationship.  Click here to read more. 

Who Wants to Fit in Anyway? – Bicultural Identity Integration as a Protective Factor Against Color Based Racial DiscriminatioAppraisal 
by Anne Marie Keshani Perera
Existing literature explores the association between racism and mental health suggesting that racial struggles may increase the vulnerability for the development of psychopathology.Correlations between skin color and racism have been well established. While there are studies that suggest that the acculturative strategy of bicultural identity integration (BII) may be a protective factor against psychopathology, to our knowledge, there are no studies exploring if BII may protect against distress caused by racial discrimination in immigrant populations.  Click here to read more.

by Christine Laurine
Despite the need for professional treatment, Muslims tend to significantly underutilize formal mental health (MH) services, with some studies indicating that Muslims represent the most underserved racial/ethnic minority group in terms of service utilization. Muslim youth may be especially vulnerable to mental health challenges, due to a range of sociopolitical (e.g., increased risk for victimization and discrimination post-9/11) and cultural factors (e.g. acculturative stress), in addition to peer pressure to conform to mainstream norms that may be in conflict with individual and family religious/cultural values and practices. Click here to read more.

NJPA Foundation Dissertation Grants (Earmarked Topics)  - Impact of School Violence or Institutional Separating Children from Families

1) The Impact of School Violence on the Victims and on Society or
2) The Traumatic Impact of Separating Children from Families on the Victims and on Society 

The NJPA Foundation Board of Trustees may award up to $10,000 per grant recipient, per earmarked grant. The dissertation grant applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis.  If approved, the NJPA Foundation will develop an individual grant distribution schedule, per grant recipient. 


Apply for the Dissertation Grant

Community Service Project Grants
* Stay Tuned for the Approved 2020-2021 Academic Year Programs Coming Soon!

The NJPA Foundation identifies exemplary programs that provide psychological services to those who cannot afford it and trains doctoral students to work with these underserved populations. We invite applications from programs across the state of New Jersey, with the goal of identifying and supporting model programs from each county. For the 2019-2020 academic year, the NJPA Foundation funded seven amazing programs! Read about these amazing training sites below.   Read more about the programs we are currently funding.

Learn how some of our 2019-2020 Community Service Grant Recipients have dealt with and adapted to the CoVID-19 Crisis. 

On April 2, 2020, Dr. Daniel Lee represented the NJPA Foundation in an online video conference meeting with the Trinitas Regional Medical Center - Adolescent Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Program’s coordinator, Atara Hiller, PsyD, and student Madison Perry. Dr. Hiller and Madison spoke with Dr. Lee about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on client care and noted that “helping client's manage privacy issues was a concern, access to technology and internet were also issues. Students were able to maintain their services and support clients while social work students had to stop services altogether. Foundation resources were able to help sustain a consistent level of care during the pandemic.” 

“In terms of future support, the site supervisor and student reflected on having NJPA and the BoPE help translate the emergency regulation changes for psychologists and trainees in practice. We discussed developing a best practice manual which these sites could help us develop as a resources for future emergencies. A crisis mental health plan of sorts.” 

Rutgers University, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology Rutgers GSAPP- Anxiety Disorders Clinic was visited on April 10, 2020 through online videoconferencing, by NJPA Foundation Trustees Drs. Eileen Kohutis and Ann Stainton, who collaborated with site coordinator Andrea Quinn, PsyD and students Joel Seltzer and Idil Franko in a discussion of experiences through the 2019-2020 academic year, especially in light of the CoVID-19 pandemic. “This crisis has most definitely impacted the students' experience during the past weeks. The students have had to explore expanded use of telehealth/video conferencing to provide clinical services. The clinic is currently closed for face-to-face interactions and the students have had to adjust to providing service in a different way as well as reflect on the changes these adaptations have caused to the therapeutic relationship. In addition, after an initial hiatus, new clients are now being accepted as the students work through the ramifications of virtual vs. in-person communication. The value of these training experiences will enable the students to be adaptive and creative as they move along their respective career paths. (The discussion about how the current crisis will change mental health service delivery was very interesting and gave us a small taste of the dialogue and interaction that are a part of this program.)” 

This program is now offering telehealth services, weekly staff meetings, and group supervision.  Initially, the program had a waiting list of new clients, but now the administration is considering adapting telehealth to the needs of its clients, the students, and future clients.  Transitioning some clients from using telehealth back to face-to-face therapy is one topic that is being discussed as well as whether telehealth should be offered to new clients. 

NJPA Foundation Trustees, Drs. Toby Kaufman and Ann Stainton, had the opportunity to meet during an online video conference with Karyn Smarz, PhD and students Shaneze Gayle, Megan Ingraham, Jessica Elliot, and Jessica Bonumwezi from Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Center (RDTC) General Track Externship. Since the meeting, Dr. Smarz updated the NJPA Foundation that “starting Tuesday (4/28/2020), RDTC General Track Externs will be allowed to render telehealth services to patients from their homes.” She informed that she has “met via Zoom with the students and reviewed the roll out plan which includes training in telehealth, safety planning for patients, provisions for record keeping, and daily supervision. We are also restarting weekly didactics as well.” Dr. Smarz added that all of the students have also agreed to extend their time past the traditional May end date in order to best serve their clients. 

Prior to the approval for the students to perform clinical services, the students were attending webinars and other pursuing other didactic opportunities to continue their training even in the absence of providing direct clinical service. The students have done their best to augment their knowledge of these areas to prepare for the time when they will be providing services on a regular basis. 

The Youth Anxiety and Depression Clinic, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University program, represented by coordinator Brian Chu, PhD and students Hillary (Gemma) Stern and Melissa Pedroza, met virtually with NJPA Foundation President Dr. Matt Hagovsky and Trustee Ann Stainton to discuss the current academic year and their experiences. As a result of CoVID-19, the students’ work is now confined to telehealth methods.  While there are some aspects of this way of doing things that are unconventional and awkward, they pointed out that the on-site/in-home aspects of working with clients gave them a unique advantage for a more hands-on treatment approach that would not be possible if the people had come to the clinic offices. The students point out that coming into people’s homes electronically de-stigmatizes, at least to some extent, the in-person home visit by a professional, and that clients are much more comfortable with the format. This suggests that once the restrictions from the virus are lifted, some of the adaptive practices used during the pandemic may continue to have value as optional methods for use by the clinicians.  

Barbara Prempeh, PsyD, and students Yael Osman, Molly Kammen, and DeVante Cunningham, are part of the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Center (RDTC) Game-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Externship (GB-CBT). NJPA Foundation representatives Dr. Regina Budesa and Ms. Abby Rosen had the opportunity to meet with this team on April 23, 2020. Each of the three students in attendance reported receiving weekly group and individual supervision from a licensed psychologist, as well as significant access to impromptu supervision and peer supervision. As a result of the global pandemic, the externs are also receiving training in the use of telemedicine, including the various ethical, technical, and professional issues that arise when working with low SES populations. While telemedicine has posed some initial challenges for them, such as access, supervision requirements, etc., they appear to have met these challenges head on and are able to continue their patient care. 

According to all interviewed, NJPAF’s support of this program and its trainees has helped to increase their commitment to treating underserved populations. The students noted that our funding allows them to focus on their training and education by helping to defray many of their daily expenses that would otherwise consume them. Thus they are able to be able to fully engage in the learning and treatment processes. 

Apply for the Community Service Project Grant

Graduate Student-Initiated Research Awards:
A fundamental component of the New Jersey Psychological Association Foundation’s mission is to support the training of graduate students. One way to meet this goal is by providing funding for student-initiated research and projects addressing psychological issues that have significant impact on community health. The student-initiated research and projects may be conceptual or data drivenNote – The research may have more than one student author. If so, the award money will be divided equally among the students. Through the generosity of individual contributions, we are able to offer four awards and scholarships for innovative family, school, and community projects:

Applicant Requirements 
The applicant must meet the following criteria:
NJPA student member AND, enrolled in a New Jersey college or university master's or doctoral level psychology program OR, a psychology intern at a New Jersey facility.

•  The John M. Lagos Award for Research Into Causes and/or Treatment of Social Problems ($2,000).  Some possible topics include school issues, work problems, health issues, and aggression.

•  The NJPA Foundation Scholarship for Research on Diversity Issues ($2,000):  Awarded to a graduate student in psychology who advances the following goals: (a) promote scientific understanding of the role of diversity in psychology; (b) foster the development of sensitive models for delivery of psychological services to diverse populations.  Some possible topics include issues related to cultural or ethnic issues, socioeconomic issues, gender issues, or work with underserved populations.

•  The Dr. Zellig Bach Award for the Study of the Family ($1,000).  Awarded for the study of behavior related to divorce, teenage pregnancy, adoption, single parents with dependent children, interpersonal abuse, substance abuse, custody, dual careers, childcare, etc.

•  The Winifred Starbuck Scott Award ($1,000).  Awarded to a graduate student in school psychology for completing a distinguished project, usually during internship.

Click here to read more.

Apply for the Graduate Student-Initiated Research Awards

Student Conference Participation Grants: Consider applying to virtual programs during the CoVID-19 Crisis
This grant promotes supplemental training and education experiences in professional practice and research, with an emphasis on treating underserved populations. Attending conferences, workshops, seminars, and other scientific sessions are an essential part of the learning experience for psychology graduate students. Sessions provide an educational experience that allows students to observe and/or practice how didactic lessons can be applied to real-world treatment. Underserved populations might include, but are not limited to:

• Immigrants and refugees
• Inner-city students
• Minorities
• Children with autism spectrum disorders
• Elderly in need

Grant amount: Up to but not to exceed $300.00 for conference/workshop related expenses (travel, housing,registration). Awarded amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis. Under certain circumstances, grant amounts may be increased with approval from the board.  A limited number of awards are available per year. Previous recipients are eligible, but priority will be given to first time applicants. Applicants are encouraged to apply well in advance of the conference, workshop, or other sessions. Decisions on applications received will be made at Foundation Board meetings, held quarterly.  Deadlines for applications are one (1) week prior to Board meetings; applicants will be notified of decisions by the following Friday.  Contact the NJPA Foundation at [email protected] for the Board meeting schedule.

Apply for the Student Conference Participation Grants


Won’t you help us help support the psychological well-being of children in foster care programs, adolescents receiving treatment for abuse, and other mental health challenges and ensure graduate students continue to receive the necessary training required to meet the needs of this population?

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