Vickie Mays, professor of psychology in the UCLA College and of health policy and management in the Fielding School of Public Health, was presented a Presidential Citation by the American Psychological Association on May 16. Mays was recognized for her contributions to psychological science and public policy.

Jennifer Kelly, president of the association, praised Mays’ research and policy development in the area of health disparities that impact communities of color, particularly the contextual factors that surround HIV/AIDS and COVID-19. Mays has made vital contributions to mental health research and reporting.

“As a psychologist committed to breaking down social and political barriers, Dr. Mays’ tenacity and perseverance have fueled and guided her path to eradicate inequities that lead to the marginalization of communities of color,” Kelly said.

Mays, director of UCLA’s Bridging Research, Innovation, Training and Education Center for Science, Research and Policy, currently conducts research on the intersecting epidemics of racism, COVID-19 and mental health.

She published research in March on the “hidden costs” of being Black in America and is among experts who developed a predictive model in November that pinpoints which populations in which neighborhoods of Los Angeles County are most at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.

Mays, UCLA’s special advisor to the Chancellor on Black life, is the recipient of the American Public Health Association Mental Health Section’s 2020 Carl Taube Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Mental Health.

She was among the featured speakers at a 2020 virtual town hall about COVID-19 and its impact on Black communities, organized by the Minority Health Institute. Read an interview in which she discussed issues raised during this town hall, including the ways that the pandemic is affecting Black Americans.

Mays was honored with the UCLA Academic Senate’s 2020 Senate Service Award last May.