Campus professor Stephen Hinshaw named recipient of two prestigious awards

Stephen Hinshaw
Stephen Hinshaw/Courtesy

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UC Berkeley psychology professor Stephen Hinshaw was named the recipient of two separate distinguished awards this academic year for his research.

The American Psychological Association, or APA, recently named Hinshaw one of four winners of its Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions. The award is given to researchers who have made significant contributions to basic research in psychology, according to Suzanne Wandersman, governance affairs director of the APA Science Directorate. Hinshaw was nominated for the award by UC Berkeley for his research in developmental psychology, mental illness stigmatization and longitudinal studies of girls with ADHD.

“Somebody made those decisions, I’m not quite sure how, but I was very pleased to get notifications for these awards,” Hinshaw said. “It’s always wonderful to get recognition for the work you’ve done. I think and hope that these awards recognize the blending of science and humanism in my work.”

Additionally, in fall 2019, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation selected Hinshaw to receive the Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research, which includes a $50,000 award. Established in 2000, the Ruane Prize is considered an extremely prestigious award for research on child and adolescent-onset neuropsychiatric disorders. Hinshaw was nominated by UCSF.

Hinshaw said he was drawn to psychology because of a scientific interest in families and the processes that might lead to mental illnesses, and also because of a personal interest. When he was a child, his father would disappear for several months at a time, puzzling Hinshaw until he was told the real reason in college.

“It turns out that he was sent to really brutal mental hospitals for psychotic behavior. But, his lead doctor had instructed him and my mother never to tell the children the truth about this,” Hinshaw said. “The doctor said if we were to learn that he was mentally ill, we would be permanently destroyed.”

Hinshaw studied psychology at Harvard University. He then attended UCLA for graduate school, where he also studied psychology.

He went on to be a postdoctoral student at UCSF, where he learned more about the clinical and research aspects of psychology, until UC Berkeley offered him a position as an assistant professor of psychology.

After becoming a full-time professor, Hinshaw served as UC Berkeley’s psychology department chair from 2004 to 2011. He has also served as a psychiatry professor and the vice chair for child and adolescent psychology at UCSF since 2015.

On top of these other responsibilities, Hinshaw was named the co-director of the Schwab Dyslexia and Cognitive Diversity Center, a joint initiative between UC Berkeley and UCSF, in September 2019.

In the future, Hinshaw plans on continuing his research on girls with ADHD and evaluating antistigma clubs in many high schools around the country.

Contact Tarunika Kapoor at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @tkapoor_dc.