Practice Board award winners 2020

Ella Rhodes reports

The winners of the BPS Practice Board 2020 awards for lifetime achievement, distinguished contribution to practice and innovation in practice have been announced. Among the winners are an MP, an expert in supporting refugees, and specialists in autism and eating disorders.

The board has awarded two lifetime achievement awards for 2020. Visiting Professor Tommy MacKay (University of Strathclyde), an educational psychologist and Director of Psychology Consultancy Services, led the 10-year West Dunbartonshire Literacy Initiative that eradicated illiteracy in one of the UK’s poorest education authorities.

Also the Clinical Director of the National Diagnostic and Assessment Service at Scottish Autism and a former BPS president, Mackay’s work has addressed service provision, public policy and legislation, with a focus on diversity and social justice. He said ‘I am honoured and humbled to have received the Lifetime Achievement Award and I see it as a welcome stepping stone as I pursue new ventures in my career.’

The second lifetime achievement award winner was Dr Adrian Needs (University of Portsmouth) who worked as a psychologist in the prison service for 14 years. He left in 1997 to start the first MSc in forensic psychology in Scotland and joined the University of Portsmouth as a Principal Lecturer in 2000.

His current research has considered the role of life events as precursors to homicide, and he has supervised MSc projects in a women’s prison which have explored attachment, instability, the sense of self and perceptions of the interpersonal environment. He said ‘To receive Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the British Psychological Society’s Practice Board and its Division of Forensic Psychology is a huge honour. My work has been quite an odyssey!’

Three psychologists have been honoured with a Distinguished Contribution to Practice award. Dee Anand, former chair of the BPS Division of Forensic Psychology, has had a varied career working with the NHS, students, and numerous BPS and government committees.  

Anand has helped to develop expert witness guidelines, reform MSc standards, redesign trainee qualifications and provide evidence to select committees. He said he was humbled to accept the award, ‘I… thank the incredible people in our incredible profession who believe in change, understanding people’s stories and who continually strive to improve our communities.’

Dr Lisa Cameron, Scottish National Party MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow previously worked in the NHS as a clinical psychologist and is currently Shadow SNP Spokesperson for Mental Health in the House of Commons. In Parliament, in partnership with the BPS, Cameron founded Parliament’s first All-Party Parliamentary Group for Psychology.

Professor of Psychology in Eating Disorders, Kate Tchanturia (King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust), moved to the UK from Georgia in 1997 after receiving a Royal Society award to conduct research into the neuropsychology of eating disorders in London. Among many other achievements her research on the link between eating disorders and autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) resulted in changes to inpatient services which made them more inclusive and easier for people with ASD to access mainstream care.

Tchanturia said it was a great honour and privilege to receive recognition. ‘I am delighted and I would like to say a big thank you to my family, my wonderful clinical and research teams and colleagues.’

Finally Dr Najwan Saaed Al-Roubaiy, head of the psychology department at the American Centre for Psychiatry and Neurology, won the 2020 Award for Innovation in Practice.   

Al-Roubaiy began his career in 2007 as a clinical psychologist working with refugees in Sweden, during this time he realised that there was a gap in literature and practice for psychotherapy with refugees, many of whom were struggling with mental health issues as a result of their experiences in exile.  

As a result Al-Roubaiy published a mixed model for psychotherapy with refugees and later moved to the United Arab Emirates and wrote and published the first professional CBT self-help and therapy aid in Arabic. He said, ‘I am very happy and honoured to be receiving this award. Recognition and validation are wonderful to experience after years of hard work, especially when they come from one’s peers.’ 

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