Local Black psychologists salute Arthur Evans Jr.

March 17, 2017 GMT

Tribune Staff WRITER

The Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists recently held a celebration to mark the departure of psychologist Arthur Evans Jr. from his position as the commissioner of Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities in Philadelphia.

Evans is leaving to become CEO of the American Psychological Association, effective March 20.

“Dr. Evans will take the helm of the American Psychological Association at a critical juncture, as we mark APA’s 125-year anniversary,” said APA President Antonio E. Puente.

“He is a trailblazer who has relied on the strength of his background in both research and clinical practice to create transformational change in each of the mental health systems he has led,” Puente said.

“We look forward to Dr. Evans’ vision and inspirational leadership skills to promote the association as the pre-eminent organization advancing psychological science, education and practice in the public interest, and supporting psychologists in the United States and beyond,” he added.

Evans will also serve as CEO of the association’s companion organization, the APA Practice Organization, which supports and promotes the interests of practicing psychologists.

For the last 12 years, Evans has overseen the city’s $1.2 billion health care agency that is the mental health safety net for 1.5 million Philadelphians. He realigned DBHID’s treatment philosophy, service models and fiscal policies to improve the outcomes for the agency and its clients.

Evans, who has been recognized nationally and internationally, was named by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as an Advocate for Action in 2015. In 2013, he received the American Medical Association’s top government service award in health care, the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service.

“I am honored to be selected as APA’s next CEO,” Evans said. “The American Psychological Association has a long, distinguished history of developing the best psychological science and applying it to benefit society and improve people’s lives.

“I hope to bring to this position not only a passion for psychology, but the leadership experience to help move the association — and the discipline — into the next era of excellence and contribution to our society,” he said.

Before coming to Philadelphia, Evans was deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. There, he was instrumental in implementing a recovery-oriented policy framework, addressing health care disparities and significantly improving community engagement. He also had developed a thriving private practice.

Evans has penned numerous research articles, reviews and editorials. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment and on the board of trustees at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

His other past roles include associate clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, a clinical associate at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and a clinical professor in psychology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

As CEO of APA, Evans will head the leading organization with more than 117,500 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants, students and other members in the field. He will help oversee a $128 million annual budget and more than 500 employees.

Evans holds a doctorate in clinical and community psychology from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in experimental psychology from Florida Atlantic University, where he also completed his undergraduate work.

He succeeds Norman B. Anderson, who resigned at the end of 2015. Cynthia D. Belar has been serving as interim CEO since then.