The Vera Paster Award recognizes a graduate student, post-graduate resident, or fellow in a behavioral health or social justice program who is engaged in work that contributes significantly to the social, education, physical, or psychological well-being of persons of color, thereby promoting their empowerment and ameliorating disadvantage from oppression and its effects.
The Award recognizes the work of Vera S. Paster, Ph.D., president of the American Orthopsychiatric Association from 1986-1987. In 2000, the Award was redesigned to recognize the extraordinary work of trainees engaged in poor and ethnic minority communities. Nominations of persons organizing or doing “hands-on” or “applied” work are particularly encouraged. The recipient of the Award will be designated as the Global Alliance Paster Fellow and be invited to present his or her work at a Global Alliance meeting and/or for publication. The Award recipient will receive travel expenses to the meeting and a stipend to be used to advance the Fellow’s work.
Persons selected as Global Alliance Paster Fellows meet several or all of the following criteria:
- Exhibit unusual creativity, initiative and commitment to serving communities of color
- Engage in actions that exceed typical expectations of students or trainees
- Display a thoughtful and progressive understanding of the context of communities of color
- Design, organize or implement activities that advance mental health and social justice
- Contribute significantly to the social, educational, physical or psychological well-being of persons of color
- Promote empowerment and ameliorate disadvantages from oppression and its effects
2020 | Annahir Cariello
Annahir Cariello, M.Ed., M.S., is a Counseling Psychology doctoral candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University studying under the mentorship of Dr. Paul Perrin. She defended her dissertation April 2020 and is currently a clinical health psychology resident at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Annahir’s research lies at the intersection of mental and physical health among those in minoritized groups. Specifically, her work investigates the biopsychosocial aspects of chronic illness through neurological, environmental, and psychological functioning as related to trauma and minority stressors. Her work aims at improving adjustment to and prevention of chronic illnesses in minorities and disabilities across generations for the development of culturally sensitive treatments. Annahir’s long-term goal is to become an independent translational minority researcher and clinician investigating the intersection of mental health, minority stressors, and trauma’s impact on neurological and physiological processes in minorities for the development of culturally sensitive treatments.
2019 | Jillian Fish
Jill Fish earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and her training is in developmental and cultural psychology. Jill is a member of the Tuscarora tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy. Her research has focused on transforming social institutions to be more just and equitable for Native American and Indigenous peoples.
In 2017, Jill was invited to work on the Immigrant Stories project at the University of Minnesota. The project examined the process of migration through an interdisciplinary lens. While working on the project, she gained first-hand experience of the emancipatory power of digital storytelling for marginalized communities. Jill subsequently adapted the Immigrant Stories project to use with Native American communities. In 2018, Jill founded OrigiNatives, a digital storytelling project that hosts workshops for Native American and Indigenous peoples to create original digital stories about their culture, histories, and lives.
2018 | Andrew Gadaire
As a Community Psychology Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Drew Gadaire is interested in conducting applied research and evaluation to better understand the experiences of marginalized populations, the systems that influence the developmental trajectories of disadvantaged youth, and the interventions designed to benefit these groups. Furthermore, Drew works with community partners to build capacity and increase the effectiveness of interventions targeting low-income families and historically disempowered populations. For example, Drew has taken on leadership roles in applied projects focused on early childhood education, dropout prevention, community engagement, and in-school supports for recent immigrant youth. Drew’s work seeks to engage stakeholders at multiple levels and empower participants in order to design, implement, and evaluate interventions that facilitate sustainable change.
2017 | Rebecca Singer
Rebecca Singer is a student in the Advanced Population Health Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Rebecca came to nursing driven by a keen desire to do global health work and to prove wrong the idea that where you live will determine if you live. Since 2005, Rebecca has worked in humanitarian response work with Doctors Without Borders. She has been instrumental in developing comprehensive and appropriate response services, including mental health, psycho-social and legal services, for survivors of sexual violence in countries including Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Chad, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.
The common thread throughout Rebecca’s nursing career, which continues with her current training and education, is a commitment to community engagement to create change. She engages directly with patients, community members, health care workers, community leaders, elected officials and other service providers to understand the needs of each community and assist in solving the problems facing the community.
2016 | Sara Buckingham
Sara Buckingham, Ph.D., received the Vera Paster Award for her creativity, initiative, and drive to positively impact the lives of Latina/o individuals, families, and communities and her work in leading a local chapter of RESULTS, which pushes for specific policies and legislation to address poverty and empowers people to become powerful voices for the end of poverty through grassroots advocacy.
2015 | Sannisha Dale
Sannisha Dale, Ph.D., received the Vera Paster Award for her research exploring the relationship of gender-related coping styles, HIV status, trauma history, and health among women.
2014 | Andrew Case
Andrew Case, Ph.D., was recognized for his research on social determinants of health disparities affecting ethnic minority populations and counterspaces. Counterspaces are settings (e.g., faith communities, cultural organizations, peer networks) that promote well-being under socially oppressive conditions such as discrimination.