Henry Tomes, the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Penn State University, visited the Psychology Department on Wednesday, March 4th, 2009. He discussed his experience as a Penn State graduate student and also discussed his career in Psychology with a group of psychology graduate students and faculty in the Alumni/Fireside Lounge at the Nittany Lion Inn at Penn State.
Dr. Tomes received his Ph.D. in 1963 and then pursued a distinguished professional career. He worked for a number of years in the Department of Psychiatry at Meharry Medical and Dental College in Nashville, Tennessee where he attained the rank of Professor of Clinical Psychology and served as Director of the College’s Community Mental Health Center. Following this, Dr. Tomes served as the Director of Community Mental Health Programs for the State of Washington. After four years at this position, he was appointed by Governor Michael Dukakis as Deputy Commissioner, then Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. He was the first psychologist and first African-American to serve in that role.
From July, 1991 to December, 2005 Dr. Tomes served as the Executive Director of the Public Interest Directorate for the APA. This position involved overseeing the administrative and program offices which support the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest and committees which recommend Association policy associated with issues of gender, ethnicity, disability, aging, minority fellowships, sexual orientation, urban issues, and children/youth and families. The directorate is also involved in supporting the APA’s legislative involvement in public interest public policy as well as societal matters such as HIV/AIDS, violence prevention and workplace issues, aging, and adolescent health.