Martha E. Bernal

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Martha E. Bernal ( April 13, 1931, San Antonio, Texas - 2001) was an American clinical psychologist.[1]. She earned her doctoral degree at Indiana University Bloomington in 1962. She was the first Latina to receive a doctorate degree in psychology in the United States. She helped with the treatment and assessment of children with behavioral problems, and led the way for diversity in psychology with a scholarship program, and with strong emphasis on multiculturalism.

Childhood[edit]

Martha entered school in 1937. Back then speaking Spanish was not allowed in school, and both the school and the community in which she lived, which was El Paso, Texas, was racially segregated [2] Her parents were both immigrants from Mexico. She had a very traditional cultural upbringing, with a strong sense of family, and her family paid special attention to hard work [3] At first her father, Enrique de Bernal, did not want Martha to continue her educational pursuit, but with the help and support of her older sister, Cristina, and her mother, Alicia, her father finally said that it was OK for Martha to continue with her dreams of higher education [4].

Education[edit]

In 1952 Martha received a Bachelors degree from Texas Western College. She then went on from there to receive a Master of Arts degree at Syracuse University in 1955. While working towards her degrees she was subject to racism, and sexism while having no money. She altered work and study to make it through her difficult times, and focused only on positivity. She furthered her studies at Indiana University Bloomington, and She earned her doctoral degree in the science of Psychology in 1962 [5].

Work[edit]

After she graduated with her doctoral degree in clinical psychology, Martha applied for different jobs as faculty. Many places denied her because she was a woman, and in that time period it was not highly acceptable to hire a woman as faculty a member. She decided to work in research for two years, since she could not find a job as faculty, and obtained a U.S. Public Health Service Postdoctoral Fellowship at UCLA [6]. She then became a faculty member at University of Arizona. During this time she developed her interest in the behavioral principals and methods to the treatment of childhood psychopathology, mainly children suffering from conduct disorders [7]. She worked from 1964 to 1971 in the UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute developing behavioral interventions and then continued her work at the University of Denver from 1971-1986 [8].

She fought for need to prepare mental health professionals to provide services to the growth of ethnic minorities in the United States. Martha Bernal was very outspoken when it came to recruiting and training more ethnic minorities in the field of psychology. She also was a pioneer in the issues regarding curricula with minority content in clinical and counseling psychology programs across the nation [9].

Contributions to psychology[edit]

Martha had many contributions to the field of psychology. She received many awards for her work on children clinical work and because her experiences were very similar to the prejudices of the larger society, she made a huge difference in the recruitment of Hispanics into her field and to the treatment of minorities in the United States [10]. She received the Distinguished Life Achievement Award from APA’s Division 45, and APA’s Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in the Public Interest Award in 2001, just to name a few [11]. Martha was also apart of starting up groups such as the Board of Ethnic Minority Affairs in the APA and the National Hispanic Psychology Association [12]. Her most notable accomplishment is the fact that she taught and mentored so many students. She helped her students with the things that she had struggles with through out her life. She has scholarships in her name that assist minority students, especially women through college. She wanted to help students have equal opportunities for advancement in psychology. She has gained extensive acknowledgments from the people that she has interacted with. She was inspiring to many of her followers and peers, and her work will live on through these lives that she has influenced forever [13].

Death[edit]

She battled cancer throughout her life, and returned after each treatment to her academic world. After battling, and recovering from cancer three times, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and died at age 70 in 2001 [14].

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Vasquez, M. T., & Lopez, S. (2002). Martha E. Bernal (1931-2001). American Psychologist, 57(5), 362.
  2. ^ Martha Bernal. (2001). American Psychologist, 56(11), 922.
  3. ^ Martha Bernal. (2001). American Psychologist, 56(11), 922.
  4. ^ Petrillo, A. (2012). Psychologist of the week- martha bernal. Retrieved from: http://psychologistoftheweek.blogspot.com/2012/10/martha-bernal.html
  5. ^ Vasquez, M. T., & Lopez, S. (2002). Martha E. Bernal (1931-2001). American Psychologist, 57(5), 362.
  6. ^ Martha Bernal. (2001). American Psychologist, 56(11), 922.
  7. ^ Vasquez, M. T., & Lopez, S. (2002). Martha E. Bernal (1931-2001). American Psychologist, 57(5), 362.
  8. ^ Vasquez, M. T., & Lopez, S. (2002). Martha E. Bernal (1931-2001). American Psychologist, 57(5), 362.
  9. ^ Vasquez, M. T., & Lopez, S. (2002). Martha E. Bernal (1931-2001). American Psychologist, 57(5), 362.
  10. ^ George, M. (2012). Profile of Martha Bernal. Psychology’s Feminist Voices Multimedxia Internet Archive. Retrieved from: http://www.feministvoices.com/martha-bernal/
  11. ^ George, M. (2012). Profile of Martha Bernal. Psychology’s Feminist Voices Multimedxia Internet Archive. Retrieved from: http://www.feministvoices.com/martha-bernal/
  12. ^ Petrillo, A. (2012). Psychologist of the week- martha bernal. Retrieved from: http://psychologistoftheweek.blogspot.com/2012/10/martha-bernal.html
  13. ^ Petrillo, A. (2012). Psychologist of the week- martha bernal. Retrieved from: http://psychologistoftheweek.blogspot.com/2012/10/martha-bernal.html
  14. ^ Vasquez, M. T., & Lopez, S. (2002). Martha E. Bernal (1931-2001). American Psychologist, 57(5), 362.