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The Chester Pierce Endowment Fund

The Humanitarian Award of the APA was renamed the Chester Pierce Humanitarian Award to honor an illustrious black psychiatrist and social scientist. In this regard an annual or biannual award was made every year to an individual or organization that has exhibited a distinctive humanitarian focus or activity. A few years ago, it was felt that Dr. Chester Pierce's legacy deserves more prominence. Con- sequently, there was a drive within the International Council and the Caucus of Global Mental Health to make this possible. An approval was finally achieved to raise the necessary funds to sustain an en- dowment. The CEO of the APA Dr. Saul Levin announced a goal of one hundred thousand dollars to be raised and this is to be supplemented by fifty thousand dollars to be donated by the APA Founda- tion. Currently about seventy thousand dollars has been raised. The drive is still on and will end in Oc- tober. Dr. Chester M. Pierce [1927-2016] was an accomplished African American who distinguished himself in multiple diverse areas. He was an eminent psychiatrist, academician, advocate, and re- searcher. Early in his life, he showed great promise. He was an all-rounder and played football, la- crosse, and basketball for Harvard College where he obtained his AB and then his MD in 1952. As an athlete, he made history by being the first African American football player to play south of the Mason Dickson line. His academic career was studded by numerous awards and recognition worldwide. He spent most of his career at Harvard University and Medical School as a professor of psychiatry and education. He contributed to the founding of the Black Psychiatrists of America which organization is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. His contribution to the founding of that organization was pivotal and monumental. He advocated on behalf of minorities, children and the disenfranchised. He has been described as a humanist and a New Order Guru. His range of research interests was as broad as it was varied. He was interested in stress under a variety of conditions. He introduced the term "Microaggression" to describe some interracial behavior. He also described vividly some group dynam- ics in intercultural contexts reflecting racial tensions. Dr. Pierce's work helped illuminate reactions to stress in other difficult and extraordinary conditions such as occur in Antarctica. Dr. Chester M. Pierce held the Presidency of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology as well as that of the Ameri- can Orthopsychiatric Association. He served as a consultant to various institutions, agencies, and NGOs. For example, he served as a senior consultant to the Surgeon General of the US Air force, US Arctic Research Commission, the Peace Corps, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as well as the Children's television workshops i.e., Sesame Street and Electric Company. He is credited with about 200 books, chapters, and other publications. This list of publications does not do full justice to his academic and advocacy work. At the personal level, he was a quiet and soft-spoken individual who was modest in his opinions and extremely kind and helpful to individuals who came in contact with him. Many successful current psychiatrists and other professionals owe their success to him.

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