Recipients of the Member of Distinction Award

This award recognizes midcareer clinicians and researchers who advance the mission of ADAA through significant service and commitment to the organization and its membership.

Congratulations to the award winners:


Bob AckermanRobert Ackerman, MSW
Anxiety Disorders Treatment in Brooklyn

One of the original members of ADAA, Robert Ackerman, MSW, is a social worker in Brooklyn, New York. Bob has introduced several generations of attendees to ADAA. He created the Anxiety Disorders Rounds session over 15 years ago, and he still organizes experts to present cases at the conference. Bob’s longstanding active support of ADAA is exemplary.

Peter Roy-ByrnePeter Roy-Byrne, MD
Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine

Chief of Psychiatry, Harborview Medical Center

Director, Harborview Center for Healthcare Improvement for Addictions, Mental Illness, and Medically Vulnerable Populations

As the editor of Depression and Anxiety, Peter Roy-Byrne, MD, has made it a labor of love and his mission to improve the journal. Today the journal ranks 22/135 in psychiatry and in psychology 8/114 (Clinical); 9/75 (Psychology). Actively involved with ADAA since 1995, Peter has served as a mentor and as conference chair in 2005.


Alec Pollard, PhDC. Alec Pollard, PhD
Saint Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute Anxiety Disorders Center
St. Louis University

A member of ADAA for 30 years, Alec Pollard has served in many vital capacities beyond providing excellent presentations at the annual conference. He has been on the Conference Committee and chaired the 2007 annual conference, which was held in St. Louis. He also served as chair of the Clinical Advisory Board and the Publications Committee. He was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, and he has reviewed conference submissions. He encourages greater participation in ADAA by mentoring and welcoming many young members.

Risa Weisberg, PhDRisa Weisberg, PhD
Brown University

Representing the future of ADAA's growing leadership, Risa Weisberg has served on the Conference Committee, as the 2009 conference chair, and on the Strategic Planning Committee. She is the current conference coordinator, a position created by the Board of Directors in 2011 to help improve and grow the meeting. She has made a number of excellent presentations at the annual meetings, and she encourages many peers and young mental health professionals to join and participate in ADAA.


James AbelsonJames Abelson, MD, PhD
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

An ADAA member for more than 20 years, Dr. Abelson has attended and presented at many conferences, along with his students. He has reviewed submissions and encouraged his students to attend and become ADAA members. He has served on the Scientific Council and chaired the 2008 Scientific Research Symposium Emotional Regulation and the Expanding Neurocircuitry of Anxiety.

Dr. Abelson works diligently on the Career Development Trainee Awards, in which he pairs trainees with mentors, as well as on the Donald Klein Early Career Investigator Award. He fully recognizes the importance of mentoring and the role of senior members in introducing and investing in the next generation.


Naomi Simon, MD (Researcher)
Massachusetts General Hospital
Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders

A member of ADAA since 1998, Dr. Simon was co-chair of the 2006 Annual Conference and is now the chair of the new standing committee on professional education. She has served on the Scientific Council and numerous other committees, including the Strategic Planning and Annual Conference Committees. Dr. Simon has also helped organize task forces for conferences on Women and Anxiety Disorders and on Anxiety in Primary Care.

She presents her research every year at the ADAA Annual Conference and has served as a mentor for many recipients of the Career Development Travel Awards.
Karen Cassiday, PhDKaren Cassiday, PhD (Clinician)
Anxiety & Agoraphobia Treatment Center

As the chair of the new standing committee on membership, Dr. Cassiday is working to define new categories of membership and special interest groups, as well as enhancing opportunities for members in other ways.

Since becoming an ADAA member in 1991, she has served on the Strategic Planning Committee and Clinical Advisory Board, including serving as chair. Now a member of the ADAA Board of Directors, she works with the organization to respond to the media on a broad range of topics. Dr. Cassiday has also gained her own celebrity status as an expert on animal hoarding for Animal Planet.

In addition to presenting every year at the ADAA Annual Conference, she has encouraged many early career clinicians to become more involved with ADAA.