Norman B. Anderson

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Norman Bruce Anderson, PhD (born October 16, 1955) has had a wide-ranging career as a national leader, first as a scientist and tenured professor studying health disparities and mind/body health, and later as an executive in government, non-profit, university sectors. He has also provided extensive volunteer service to a number of foundations, government agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations.

Dr. Anderson is currently Assistant Vice President for Research and Academic Affairs, and Research Professor of Social Work and Nursing at Florida State University.[1] He has served as Chief Executive Officer of the American Psychological Association (APA), the largest scientific and professional association for psychologists in the United States. Anderson became the APA’s first African-American CEO when he was named to the post in 2003.[2] He was the editor for the APA journal American Psychologist.[3] Prior to joining APA Anderson was an Associate Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and held other roles in academia.

Early life[edit]

Anderson was born October 16, 1955, in Greensboro, North Carolina, to Rev. Dr. Charles W. and Rev. Dr. Lois J. Anderson. A graduate of the North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C., Anderson earned master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.[4] He received additional clinical and research training at the schools of medicine at Brown and Duke Universities, including postdoctoral fellowships in psychophysiology and aging at Duke. Anderson also received training in Mindfulness Facilitation from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center[5] at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California at Los Angeles. In addition, Dr. Anderson is trained as a Certified Executive and Professional Coach through the College of Executive Coaching.[6]


Prior to his positions at Florida State and joining APA,[7] Dr. Anderson was the founding Associate Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in charge of social and behavioral science, and was the first Director of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR).[8] At NIH, he facilitated behavioral and social sciences research across all of the Institutes and Centers of the NIH. Research in the behavioral and social research was under his purview in areas such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, children’s health, mental health, minority health, aging, and oral health. His special focus at NIH was in sociocultural determinants of health, and in advancing an integrated, trans-disciplinary, bio-psycho-social approach to health science, health promotion, prevention, and health care.

In addition to his formal leadership roles, Dr. Anderson served as a tenured associate professor of medical psychology and of psychology at Duke University and as a professor of health and social behavior at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is well-known for his research and writing on health and behavior, and on racial/ethnic and economic health disparities.

In 2012, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine), which is part of the National Academy of Sciences. Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine recognizing individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. In 2013 he was elected to the Black College Hall of Fame for his work in science, and has received four honorary doctorate degrees.

In addition to publishing dozens of scientific articles, Dr. Anderson is the author or editor of several books. He served as editor-in-chief of the two-volume Encyclopedia of Health and Behavior (2003) and as co-editor of Interdisciplinary research: Case studies from health and social science (2008). For over 12 years he was editor-in-chief of APA’s flagship journal, American Psychologist.

With his wife, P. Elizabeth Anderson, he wrote a health book for the general public, Emotional Longevity: What Really Determines How Long You Live,[9][10] released in 2003.

Anderson retired from APA in July 14, 2015, following an APA authorized independent review report relating to ethics guidelines conducted by former assistant Assistant U.S. Attorney David H. Hoffman. Prior to the report’s release, Anderson had informed the board that he would be retiring at the end of 2016. The APA board of director’s announcement about his retirement stated the following:

"Dr. Anderson felt that moving up his retirement date to the end of 2015 would allow the association to take another step in the important process of organizational healing."[11]


He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi (the Boulé) fraternities.

Professional affiliations[edit]

  • Editor in chief of “The Encyclopedia of Health and Behavior"[12] and APA’s flagship journal, "American Psychologist."[13]
  • Fellow of APA, the American Association for the Advancement of Science,[14] the Association for Psychological Science,[15] the Society of Behavioral Medicine[16] and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research.[17]
  • Past president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine[18]
  • Past president, Steven Spielberg’s Starlight Foundation Board of Directors.[19]


  • Elected Member, Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Science
  • Honorary Doctorate Degrees: Chicago School of Professional Psychology; University of Maryland University College, North Carolina Central University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • American Association of Applied and Prevention Psychology, Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Psychological Study of Diversity, 1996;[20]
  • Third National Multicultural Conference and Summit, Dalmas Taylor Award, 2003;[21]
  • Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, Career Service Award, 2003;[22]
  • Lonnie Mitchell Annual Conference on Race, Ethnicity, and Substance Abuse, Award for Enduring Contributions in the Interest of Science, 2004.[21]


  1. ^ "Eminent psychologist, National Academy member to join FSU". 
  2. ^ "Norman B. Anderson Named Next CEO of the American Psychological Association". Retrieved 2017-01-06.  External link in |website= (help)
  3. ^ "Anderson biography at". Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Anderson will receive honorary degree, deliver commencement speech". Retrieved 2017-01-06. 
  5. ^ "UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center". 
  6. ^ "College of Executive Coaching". 
  7. ^ "APA Recognized as a Top Workplace by the Washington Post". Retrieved 2017-01-06.  External link in |website= (help)
  8. ^ "OBSSR". 
  9. ^ Anderson, Norman B.; Anderson, P. Elizabeth (2004, ©2003). Emotional Longevity: What Really Determines How Long You Live. New York: Penguin. ISBN 9780142003954.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ Roger Hobbs. "Emotional Longevity: What Really Determines How Long You Live". 
  11. ^ "APA Announces Retirements and Resignation of Senior Leaders". Retrieved 2017-01-06.  External link in |website= (help)
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