URI’s James Prochaska wins prestigious award from American Psychological Association

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KINGSTON, R.I. – Aug. 20, 2013 – James O. Prochaska, director of the University of Rhode Island Cancer Prevention Research Center, has received a national award for his groundbreaking work in public health.

Prochaska, of Wakefield, is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology award from Division 38 of the American Psychological Association.

The award is presented every year to honor a person who has a long and distinguished career of scientific contributions. A colleague accepted the award on Prochaska’s behalf at the annual APA convention Aug. 3 in Hawaii.

A professor of clinical and health psychology at URI, Prochaska pioneered the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, an internationally acclaimed program that encourages people to change their behavior in stages to achieve better health.

His program is widely used in cancer prevention, as well as smoking, depression, alcohol and substance abuse, sun exposure, exercise and diet. The strategy uses five stages – precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance – to guide and ultimately change behaviors.

Over the past 40 years, Prochaska has written or co-written more than 350 publications, including three books: Changing for Good, Systems of Psychotherapy, and The Transtheoretical Approach.

“This individual award honors all of the faculty, students and staff who have collaborated to make the CPRC internationally recognized as a multidisciplinary leader in prevention of cancer and other chronic conditions,” says Prochaska.

Prochaska has won numerous awards including the Top Five Most Cited Authors in Psychology from the American Psychology Society and an Innovator’s Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He is the first psychologist to win a Medal of Honor for Clinical Research from the American Cancer Society.

“James Prochaska is one of the most outstanding professors in URI history,” says Winifred E. Brownell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “He and his talented colleagues have established a phenomenally productive and successful series of research projects and applications that have changed the field of psychology and transformed global understanding of the behavioral aspects of health. Their development and application of the Transtheoretical Model has helped people change from risky to healthy behaviors, improving the quality of lives.”

The Cancer Prevention Research Center is dedicated to helping people change their behavior to live longer and healthier lives. The center’s mission is to enhance the quality of life through the prevention of cancer and other diseases.

Pictured above: James O. Prochaska, director of the Cancer Prevention Research Center at the University of Rhode Island and a professor of clinical and health psychology at URI.

Photo courtesy of James O. Prochaska.