Robert D. Kerns, Ph.D,, professor of psychiatry, of neurology, and of psychology, was honored in August with the 2016 Nathan W. Perry, Jr. Award for Career Service to Health Psychology.
The award was presented by the American Psychological Association Society for Health Psychology. It honors people who have made significant contributions to Division 38 and/or the advancement of health psychology as a field, nationally or internationally.
The Society for Health Psychology held its annual convention in Denver on Aug. 4-7, and awards were presented at the membership meeting Aug. 6.
Kerns recently retired from a nearly 38-year career in service to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and VA Connecticut Healthcare System (VACHS). He served as VACHS Chief of Psychology from 1987 to 2008, and was founding Director of the Pain, Research, Informatics, Multimorbidities and Education (PRIME) Center of Innovation from 2008 to 2016.
Among the numerous other awards he has received for his work is a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association (2014), the John and Emma Bonica Public Service Award from the American Pain Society (2010), the Leadership Award from the Association of VA Psychologist Leaders (2006) the David M. Worthen Award for Academic Excellence (2006) and the Mark Wolcott Award for Clinical Leadership from the VHA (2006).
His areas of academic and scholarly interest are in behavioral medicine and health psychology, more specifically pain and pain management. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and books, and he frequently delivers invited addresses at professional and scientific meetings.
Currently, his research focuses on the use of large datasets from the VA to study pain and pain care among veterans, especially age, gender, and race/ethnicity differences and disparities; developing informatics solutions for extracting information from unstructured electronic health record notes, mechanisms and processes of change during psychological interventions for chronic pain; use of innovative technologies to promote access and fidelity of non-pharmacological pain interventions; and formative evaluation and implementation of organizational improvement initiatives in pain care.