Assistant Professor Trisha Raque-Bogdan, Ph.D. has been awarded the inaugural Bruce and Jane Walsh Grant to study the effect that one’s work – and the meaning ascribed to that work – has on cancer survivors. Dr. Raque-Bogdan noticed a gap in research on the topic during her graduate studies, and began to work with cancer support organizations to learn more. The grant-funded study will be conducted in collaboration with Ryan Duffy, Ph.D. of the University of Florida’s Department of Psychology.

Drs. Raque-Bogdan and Duffy will fund a longitudinal study involving over 650 participants that collects and analyzes information on the level of meaning that cancer survivors placed on their work and how it affects their sense of purpose and mental, emotional, and physical health. They recruited study participants from the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center, the Young Survivors’ Coalition, and the CO Breast Cancer Coalition. Once awareness of the study spread, it “took on a life of its own” according to Dr. Raque-Bogdan, and filled up very quickly with cancer survivors who felt invested in helping others to understand the role of work in finding purpose. Dr. Raque-Bogdan said that “no research to date has examined how experiencing meaning at work relates to physical health…to both mental and physical health over time, or the personal and environmental conditions that impact the relation between the experience of meaningful work and health.”

In the United States, the lifetime risk of developing cancer is – according to the American Cancer Society – slightly less than one in two for men and slightly more than one in three for women. With the prevalence of cancer in society and the understanding that many cancer survivors are employed full time, it is increasingly important to understand how work, an integral part of many lives and identities, contributes to finding meaning and supports the well-being of cancer survivors. At this time, the researchers have finished collecting one set of data from the participants, and will collect additional data in six months and one year in order to form a comprehensive picture. Dr. Raque-Bogdan is a first-year Assistant Professor at Morgridge and she looks forward to pursuing this unique research opportunity to develop her career and establish partnerships with the cancer community.

Morgridge College of Education takes great pride in the lasting impact of our faculty whose work improves opportunities for student and community success. We are proud to share that Dr. William E. Cross, Jr. of the Counseling Psychology and Higher Education departments and Dr. Cyndy McRae of the Counseling Psychology department were each awarded a 2015 Elder Recognition Award for Distinguished Contributions by the Society of Counseling Psychology at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto Ontario this August. The award recognizes the hard work and distinguished contributions that Counseling Psychology professionals bring to the field.

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Dr. Cross, who also received the Elder Recognition Award for Distinguished Contributions in 2013, is one of America’s leading theorists and researchers on black identity development and racial-ethnic identity development. His book, Shades of Black (Temple University Press, 1991) is a classic in the field. Dr. Cross was swept up by the Black Consciousness Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. From these experiences, he constructed Nigrescence Theory to explicate the identity-change process linked to social movement dynamics. The Cross Model became “the” template for scholars fashioning similar models on Native American Identity, Women’s Identity, Gay-Lesbian Identity, and Asian American Identity. Currently, he is co-authoring an edited text with Dr. Jas M. Sullivan of Louisiana State University, incorporating empirical studies on identity meaning and forms of internalized oppression. The book will be published by SUNY Press in January of 2016. Dr. Cross earned his PhD in Psychology from Princeton University.

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Dr. McRae’s research is focused on  psychosocial adjustment of persons with Parkinson’s disease, caregiver issues, and chronic illness, as well as the placebo effect and the effects of “Dance for PD” on daily lives. She is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), a Fellow of the Society of Counseling Psychology since 2013, and she was the Chair of the Counseling Health Psychology Section, Division 17 of APA from 2006 to 2007. Dr. McRae is also a member of the Movement Disorder Society and the only non-MD chosen as an investigator in the Parkinson Study Group. Over the course of her career, she has mentored more than 65 students through the dissertation process. She actively encourages the Counseling Psychology community to focus on social justice, the expansion of internationalization efforts, and the importance of Counseling Health Psychology as integrative medicine becomes more widespread. Dr. McRae is the recipient of several awards: a Fulbright Specialist Award to Uganda, a National Institute of Health (NIH) FIRST award, and several other grants from NIH and other foundations. She earned her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa.

Congratulations to Doctors Cross and McRae for their well-earned honor from the Society of Counseling Psychology.


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