Co-Directors of the Center for the Study of Culture, Health, and Human Development (CHDD), Charles Super and Sara Harkness are two Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) and Pediatrics professors who have been recognized as recipients of the APA Division 52’s 2022 Jean Lau Chin Award for Outstanding Psychologist in International Leadership Contributions.
The award is named in honor of Dr. Jean Lau Chin, an early victim to COVID-19 whose research was dedicated to global and diverse leadership, as well as international psychology. The purpose behind this award is to honor, recognize, and encourage outstanding psychologists and psychology graduate students who demonstrate high international leadership abilities to serve a global and diverse society.
Both Super and Harkness have embodied what it means to be a role model to those around them, serving as outstanding mentors to other psychologists who are also interested in international issues. Super is a developmental psychologist trained in an interdisciplinary department, and has spent much of his career understanding the outlook on human development outside of middle-class America. His research has roots in Africa, Europe, Korea, China, Bangladesh, the U.S., and India. Super’s work tackles topics on cultural regulation of human development, particularly biological, cognitive, and emotional development during infancy and childhood; parental and professional ethnotheories of child development and behavior; interventions to promote the physical and mental health of children and families; and research methods appropriate for comparative and culturally based research.
Harkness’ training in social anthropology, child development, and public health lead her scholarly interests to focus on how culture impacts the environment of children’s health and development. In relation to this, her work dives deeper into how researchers can aid in policies and programs in order to support children and families in diverse cultural contexts. Her research has been carried out in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the U.S., and Western Europe. Harkness’ desire to make a difference in the world led her to understand how international assistance programs are created and sustained. Her research touches on the topics of cultural structuring of human development; parents cultural belief systems and parenting; cognitive, affective and social development in early childhood; child language socialization; theories of culture and human development; cultural influences on health at the household and community levels; and family policy.
Together, both Super and Harkness have promoted scientific collaboration, training and outreach on human development, health, and culture in a global context. Their contributions to human development research have had lasting impacts.