The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) has named Nii Addy, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry, as the recipient of its 2021 Dolores Shockley Diversity and Inclusion Advancement Award.
The award is presented to a person and/or program that has had outstanding success promoting diversity and inclusion within the fields of basic, clinical, or translational neuroscience.
Addy is known by many, both inside Yale and around the country, as someone to go to for mentorship, particularly around issues related to managing and sustaining a scientific career as an African American. Within his lab he has trained seven postdoctoral fellows, two visiting postdoctoral scholars, three PhD graduate students, and one NIH PREP student. Notably, six of these 13 trainees have been from underrepresented groups.
This commitment to mentoring extends beyond the lab. Addy also serves as a postdoctoral mentor in the diversity focused Neuroscience Scholars Program of the Society for Neuroscience. He also mentors trainees from other laboratories including Dr. Brandon Henderson, who said, “Nii is a ‘complete’ mentor. To emphasize, he not only helps people become better scientists, he also helps them become better people”
Dr. Keri Small, a former member of the Addy Lab at Yale, said, “Dr. Addy is an incredibly generous person who puts time and effort into developing a fellowship with his mentees and trainees and is always willing to facilitate an introduction between his mentees and accomplished individuals.”
In his award acceptance video, Addy said he always tries to be the best mentor possible.
“It may sound like a cliché, but I am thankful to my mentees as well because there really was an opportunity for me to be able to learn from them … and also for the trust they put in me as a mentor to be willing to engage in that mentoring relationship,” he said. “I am grateful that we have been able to continue those mentoring relationships over the years even as I’ve tried to continue to be a mentor and a sponsor to them.”
Addy is the inaugural director of scientist diversity and inclusion at Yale School of Medicine, and the director of the faculty mentoring program for the Yale Minority Organization for Retention and Expansion (MORE). He is co-chair of the Career Development Subcommittee of the Anti-Racism Task Force in the Yale Department of Psychiatry and the associate director for diversity in the NIMH-funded Basic Science Training Program (BSTP) T32 in Psychiatry. He is also involved in many scientific organizations.
He hosts the Addy Hour podcast where he and guests discuss topics at the intersection of neuroscience, mental health, faith, culture, and social justice.
The Dolores Shockley Diversity and Inclusion Advancement Award was named in honor of Dr. Dolores Shockley, the first Black woman to receive a PhD in pharmacology in the United States and the first Black woman to chair a pharmacology department in the United States. Dr. Shockley, who was known for her humble and loving spirit, taught and mentored many students and was role model to many. She sadly passed away in 2020 at age 90.