After decades of service to both Sen. Daniel Inouye and
psychology, former APA President Patrick H. DeLeon retires.
BY REBECCA A. CLAY
When Patrick H. DeLeon, PhD, JD, was a child, some of his teachers predicted that he would never make it through college or even high school.
A friend to psychology
DeLeon hasn’t just served Inouye and the people of Hawaii. He
has also served psychology, says Ellen Garrison, PhD, senior
policy advisor at APA.
“Pat is a visionary and a trailblazer,” says Garrison. “He has
made extraordinary contributions over the years to APA, to the
field of psychology and to our nation.”
She points to DeLeon’s successful efforts to expand
opportunities for psychology practice through prescription
privileges and Medicare, to increase federal support for the
Graduate Psychology Education program and to initiate
APA’s Congressional Fellowship Program. In addition to
being a strong voice for psychologists and other nonphysician
providers, adds Garrison, “he has worked to heighten
recognition of psychology as a science and to address the needs
of underserved populations in federal legislation.”
DeLeon has also been active in APA governance, serving
as APA’s president in 2000. One of his fondest memories of
his term is having persuaded folk singer Pete Seeger to be the
keynote speaker at APA’s convention that year. At one point, he
remembers, “it took me 45 minutes to get from my hotel room
to the elevator because people kept grabbing me and telling
how much hearing Pete Seeger meant to them.”
DeLeon has amassed a mountain of awards and other
honors from the psychology community and beyond, including
two APA presidential citations and an APA Div. 55 (American
Society for the Advancement of Pharmacotherapy) award
named after him to recognize his efforts to advance both
pharmacotherapy and the careers of young psychologists. He
was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2008.
Upon DeLeon’s retirement, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie
and the mayor of the County of Hawaii proclaimed Aug. 28
Pat DeLeon Day. “It’s nice when you’ve spent a lot of time in
your life trying to change things, and people tell you that they
appreciate it while you can still hear them,” DeLeon says.
DeLeon doesn’t yet know what’s next for him. For now, the
frequent traveler — who just passed the million-mile mark on
United Airlines — plans to stay home in Bethesda, Md. There
he’ll enjoy his new granddaughter Lexi, who is one of the
reasons he retired. DeLeon describes asking his wife when Lexi
would be walking. Her answer was a light-bulb moment for
him: She already had, two weeks earlier. n
Rebecca A. Clay is a writer in Washington, D.C.