Candidate Statements for Division 36. Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality

Please note that the submission of a candidate statement was voluntary, so not all candidates listed on the ballot will have a statement.

Candidate: Kevin S. Masters, PhD

Office: President-elect

Candidate Statement:

I am honored to be nominated by colleagues to serve Division 36 as President-elect. Throughout my career I have been actively involved in research on the psychology of religion/spirituality (R/S). My first publication addressed R/S and mental health back in 1985 and it is amazing to see how far the field has progressed. I view it as a sign of the growing acceptance, and even recognition of the importance, of the R/S field that, with this background, I was elected President of the Society for Health Psychology (APA D38; 2013-14) and presently serve as the editor-in-chief of Annals of Behavioral Medicine. When I delivered my presidential address for D38, I was extremely gratified to see so many D36 members in the audience!

My priorities for the Division focus on its future growth and development. As President, I will use my relationships within and outside of APA, and understanding of how to get things done within APA, to foster prominent inclusion of R/S in research and practice within psychology and across disciplines. I am committed to the next generation of psychologists, including students and early career professionals. These priorities dovetail as the more accepted R/S work is in the professional community, the more young professionals will be free to pursue R/S topics as their primary area of expertise; something that heretofore has been risky in many settings. Advancing the careers of our next generation is the true calling of my professional life and something I will work toward if elected.




Candidate: Innocent Okozi, PhD

Office: President-elect

Candidate Statement:

Dr. Innocent Okozi is a priest psychologist with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine. He graduated from Seton Hall University in 2010 with his Ph.D. in counseling psychology, and he has taught there as an adjunct faculty. Okozi has been involved in APA and Division governance for many years. He served as chair of the APAGS Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs. He also served as Division 36 member-at-large, program chair and hospitality chair. In 2015, he received the Division 36 Distinguished Service Award. He has a successful record of advocating for and working directly with early career psychologists and students to address their concerns and mentor them. He also served on the Committee on Early Career Psychologists (CECP) as the Divisions Representative, where he developed opportunities for integration, networking, and growth for ECPs within APA divisions. During his term on the CECP, his efforts resulted in APA’s assignment of the first ECP Hospitality Suite at APA Convention.

In a feature article published in the Division 36 Newsletter, July 2017, Doug Oman, Division 36 Past President stated: “Our divisional members do a great deal of valuable work that I see as providing important long-term foundations for resolving some of our most perplexing social and political challenges, both in the US and around the world.” Okozi’s primary presidential initiative includes growing the Division and collaborating with members to make Division 36 a “household name” within APA. He plans to promote inter-divisional and international collaborations, and foster greater diversity within the Division.




Candidate: Jennifer Ripley, PhD

Office: Member-at-Large

Candidate Statement:

I am honored to be considered as Member-at-Large for Division 36 of APA. I have enjoyed participating in the research and professional activities of Division 36 throughout my career. I served as Program Chair for the convention in 2006 and 2010 and hospitality suite coordinator in 2000. I've also enjoyed serving the Continuing Education Committee for APA from 2012-2015 and Advisory Board member for CEC for last 3 years. I've published widely with a special focus on empirical outcome research involving religious variables. I have served as a reviewer for the Division 36 journal as well as associate editor and reviewer for numerous other journals such as the Journal of Psychology and Christianity and regularly review books for journals or publishing companies.

I am Professor of Psychology at Regent University where I teach in the doctoral program and direct a lab that studies spiritually integrated couple therapy and religious variables with forgiveness. My research includes 2 Templeton-grant studies: one in China and one with the Bridges project on religious therapy process. Religious research is my "hobby."

Division 36 has improved in some exciting ways in the last decade with the convention, mid-winter conference, and the journal disseminating high-quality research on the psychology of religion. I believe the best days for Div 36 are yet to come. My commitment is to encourage continued research activity in the Division of the highest calibre.




Candidate: Dominique Treboux, PhD

Office: Member-at-Large

Candidate Statement:

I am honored to be nominated as Member-at-Large for APA Division 36. As a member of DIV 36, I co-chaired the 2016 Midyear Conference on St. Joseph’s College and would welcome another opportunity to contribute to the division’s work. I am a full professor and chair the department of psychology at SJC, a predominantly undergraduate institution. I have held various administrative positions including Director of Undergraduate Research and co-taught courses on Science and Religion. For over 15 years, I was a research associate at SUNY-SB working on attachment theory. My current research agenda centers on conceptualizations of God and prosocial orientation. This work has relied on the continued involvement of undergraduates as research assistants.

I would like to support DIV 36's current and future initiatives. I think that my extensive experience working with undergraduates would lend a different voice on the executive council.




Candidate: Glen Milstein, PhD

Office: Council Representative

Candidate Statement:

I am grateful, honored and excited to be nominated by my colleagues as a candidate to become Division 36’s Council Representative. The foundation of my career is communication. Across 20 years of research and community engagement, I have implemented programs to bridge cultural, professional and religious borders in the service of clinical care and academic scholarship. I am eager to represent Division 36 and–with my experience–to demonstrate how our empirical knowledge of religion and spirituality can help Psychology best serve the public.

As an Associate Professor of Psychology at The City College of New York, I research collaboration between clinicians, clergy and their congregations to improve mental health and sustain recovery. I know the assumptions and misconceptions many people have about Psychology and psychologists, as well as their profound stigma toward seeking psychological care. I served on a U.S. Department of Defense workgroup that sought to engage this stigma through study and stakeholder dialogues on the complementary roles of chaplains and clinicians. I currently consult with the Red Cross on collaboration between Disaster Spiritual Care and Mental Health team members. In the past two years I guest-edited two journal issues–community psychology and psychological trauma–each examining the negative and positive salience of religion and spirituality. I serve on the Division 36 Research Funding Task Force, to explicate for funding agencies the value of religion and spirituality as research variables. I hope you will give me the opportunity to vigorously represent Division 36 on Council. Thank you.




Candidate: Thomas G. Plante, PhD

Office: Council Representative

Candidate Statement:

I have been greatly privileged to have served as Division 36 Council Representative for the past three years (2016-18) and seek re-election to serve for another three years (2019-21). APA Council asked me to serve as chair of the civility working group and civility ambassador and recently elected me to serve on the Council Leadership Team. APA has many challenges and it has taken a good deal of time and effort to get up to speed on the nuances of APA governance to see how I can be most impactful on behalf of our division. That being said, the work and interest of our division deserves a great deal of attention, support, and respect. Too often our interests can be overlooked or minimized and thus I wish to continue being a strong advocate for them and for our division. I welcome your support and ideas and can be reached at tplante@scu.edu.

Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D., ABPP is the Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J. University Professor, Professor of Psychology, and Director of the Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University as well as an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is a fellow of APA divisions 12, 36, 38, 46, and 47, was president of Division 36 (2010-11). He maintains a private clinical practice specializing in Catholic and Episcopal clergy issues and is a consultant to religious dioceses and communities across the country and abroad. Details can be found at www.scu.edu/tplante.