Scyatta A. Wallace, Ph.D., (GSAS ’02) associate professor of psychology at St. John’s University, has been appointed to the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Psychology and AIDS (COPA) for a three-year term. She began her term on Jan. 1.
“Psychologists have a lot to contribute to shaping HIV/AIDS policy and informing HIV/AIDS research given our expertise in understanding decision making and behavior,” Wallace said. “This is important for informing prevention and treatment efforts.”
In her new position, Scyatta will be one of six COPA members to help shape the APA’s policy regarding the HIV epidemic. All members are chosen for their expertise and commitment to AIDS-related issues.
The APA is a scientific and professional organization that represents psychology in the United States, and, with 148,000 members, the largest association of psychologists worldwide. It supports legislation on mental health issues, encourages new research initiatives and assists community-based organizations with volunteer members.
Scyatta said she first became interested in the problem of HIV among youth when she was a doctoral student at Fordham. For her practicum in applied developmental psychology, she was assigned an evaluation of HIV testing and treatment among homeless youth at a Manhattan outreach center.
Today, Scyatta’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She focuses on HIV prevention among African-American youth, and looks at factors that affect their risk-taking and substance abuse behaviors.
Scyatta taught at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn before moving to St. John’s in 2008.