Alec Smidt, Postgraduate Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry, is among three recipients of the Ohio Psychological Association’s 2020 Dr. Michael Sullivan Diversity Scholarship.
Smidt’s research focuses on the effects of interpersonal betrayal and institutional betrayal on those who have experienced these harms. He is particularly interested in how institutional betrayal may exacerbate the effects of interpersonal trauma, and how certain groups — such as women, sexual, and gender minorities — may be more at risk than others for experiencing both interpersonal and institutional betrayal in a variety of institutional contexts.
Smidt’s dissertation investigated how institutional courage (i.e., supportive, validating, and comprehensive responses to reports of harm) and institutional betrayal affect psychological and physical health, as well as workplace outcomes, for individuals who have experienced sexual harassment in their workplaces.
Currently, he is focusing on adapting Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for transgender and gender-expansive youth, as well as characterizing non-suicidal self-injury in this population.
Smidt is also a PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Oregon.
The Michael Sullivan Diversity Scholarship Fund was created to provide financial assistance to support graduate student research projects in honor of Sullivan’s work with the American Psychological Association (APA), state, provincial and territorial psychological associations, and his commitment to diversity and inclusion. It has been funded by gifts, grants, contributions, and bequests made in honor of Sullivan over the years since he retired from the APA. Sullivan served as the Assistant Executive Director for State Advocacy at the APA.