2018 Excellence in Clinical Health Psychology by an Early Career Professional Award – Dawn Jewell, PsyD

Dawn Jewell, PsyD
Dawn Jewell, PsyD

I am pleased to announce that the Society for Health Psychology has a new award in 2018: the Excellence in Clinical Health Psychology by an Early Career Professional Award. The first recipient of this award is Dr. Dawn Jewell. I have worked with Dawn for six years, and she is a perfect example of the type of clinician that this award was intended to honor.

On July 30, 2017, on the front page of section B of the New York Times, the lead article begins with the following sentence. “Dawn Jewell recently treated a patient haunted by a car crash…”

How does an early career psychologist get to be featured in a lead article in the New York Times? What makes this even more noteworthy is that Dr. Jewell does not work at a large university or hospital, and she does not even work in a large city. She achieved this recognition while she was working in her independent practice in rural Colorado, where she was providing an innovative treatment: Virtual reality exposure therapy. This is but one example of her extraordinary work.

Dr. Jewell earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado, and earned her PsyD from the American School of Professional Psychology. Her academic training was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in integrated primary care. Following her fellowship training, Dr. Jewell joined an independent practice in northern Colorado, where she came to specialize in treating patients with chronic pain and psychological trauma.

In her practice, Dr. Jewell’s caseload is filled with highly complex patients. One indication of this complexity was that over half of her patients were in litigation over matters related to their medical condition. In her evaluations, Dr. Jewell not only has to identify a patient’s diagnoses and develop a treatment plan, she is also often required to respond to legal questions as well. Even though Dr. Jewell has only been practicing for about six years, she has already offered opinions about legal matters in about 200 cases. These opinions have sometimes required her be deposed or to testify in a jury trial. These are the type of cases that ECPs rarely tackle, but Dr. Jewell has distinguished herself here.

Dr. Jewell also distinguished herself with a number of other noteworthy achievements:

  • Dr. Jewell served as a hospital board member at Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital
  • For the American Psychological Association, Dr. Jewell served as a liaison to the state of Colorado for the Public Education Campaign
  • For the Colorado Psychological Association, she has served as a board member, an executive board member, treasurer, membership chair, and on other task forces
  • For the Society for Health Psychology, she served as an Early Career Professional Council member, a Clinical Health Services Council member, and an Anniversary Task Force member
  • In the state of Colorado, Dr. Jewell collaborated to provide testimony to a hearing convened by the state of Colorado about the value of psychology and the biopsychosocial model. As a result of these efforts, the state agreed to increase the reimbursement rate for psychological services.

Dr. Jewel has also received other awards. These are:

  • 2014: American Psychological Association Early Career Achievement Award
  • 2015: Presidential Citation from the Colorado Psychological Association
  • 2016: Presidential Citation from the Society for Health Psychology

With regard to publications, Dr. Jewell coauthored two translational science “whitepapers,” a term used to describe an authoritative report used by government or industry. These whitepapers were used by a major insurer to clarify its policy, and to educate physicians that the standard of care was to refer patients for presurgical psychological evaluations, and to psychological treatments for chronic pain. Dr. Jewell has frequently presented her research at conferences, and is currently serving as the Web Editor-in-Chief for the Society for Health Psychology.

Overall, I think that after only six years of practice, Dr. Jewell has already made extraordinary contributions to the field. Because of that, I cannot think of a more deserving person to be the first recipient of this award: the Excellence in Clinical Health Psychology by an Early Career Professional.

By Daniel Bruns, PsyD FAPA