Perri receives distinguished research mentor award

Society of Behavioral Medicine president Dr. Alan J. Christensen presents the Distinguished Research Mentor Award to Dr. Michael G. Perri.
Society of Behavioral Medicine president Dr. Alan J. Christensen presents the Distinguished Research Mentor Award to Dr. Michael G. Perri.

Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., dean of the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions and the Robert G. Frank Endowed Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology, has received the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Distinguished Research Mentor Award for 2013.         

The award recognizes individuals whose mentorship has had a major impact on the field of behavioral medicine. Perri was honored at a ceremony March 21 during the society’s 34th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions.

“Dr. Perri brings wisdom, calm council, positivity and realism to his mentoring relationships,” said nominator Michaela Kiernan, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at the Stanford University School of Medicine who led a large research trial in which Perri served as a co-investigator. “In addition to his command of rigorous research methods, in-depth clinical intuition and experience, and strategic advice about professional challenges, he has an extraordinary ability to impart sincere optimism and respect, no matter the professional success or issue brought before him.”

Over the course of his career Perri has contributed to more than 125 peer-reviewed publications and has been the principal investigator or co-investigator for more than $31 million in grants and contracts to support his research on health promotion and disease prevention through changes in diet and physical activity. He has also chaired dissertation committees of more than 30 doctoral students.

“While steadfastly managing all commitments, he has often told us that the most rewarding portion of his career involves training students and early career professionals to become the next generation of behavioral medicine researchers,” wrote nominator Lisa Nackers, Ph.D., M.P.H., a postdoctoral research fellow at Rush University Medical Center and one of Perri’s former graduate student mentees.

Perri teaches through hands-on experience and his students become involved in all aspects of his NIH-funded weight management trials, Nackers said.

“Through these opportunities Dr. Perri’s students leave graduate school fully competent to launch successful research and clinical careers,” wrote Nackers, a 2012 graduate of UF’s doctoral program in clinical psychology and a 2010 graduate of the master’s in public health program. “For those of us who have moved on to our clinical psychology internship and beyond, it has become overtly apparent how well-prepared we are to conduct rigorous research compared to others at our level.”