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AFSP Senior Vice President of Research, Jill Harkavy-Friedman, Ph.D., Receives Prestigious 2023 AAAS Fellow Appointment

27 Feb 2023 — 3 min read


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A leader in the field of suicide research, Jill Harkavy-Friedman, Ph.D., senior vice president of research at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, has been recognized as a 2023 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals.

Harkavy-Friedman was instrumental in changing the understanding of youth suicide as the first researcher in the U.S. to ask high school students about suicidal ideation and behavior. Over her career, she has studied and championed suicide prevention for people with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions. 

In her more than 35 years of experience as both a clinician and a researcher, Harkavy-Friedman has published over 100 articles. She is passionate about translating discoveries in research to public education and has appeared as an expert in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek and other publications. Harkavy-Friedman earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and her master’s degree and doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Florida and completed her internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

In 1984, she joined Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine as an assistant professor where she established the Adolescent Depression and Suicide Program. In 1989, Harkavy-Friedman moved to Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute, first as an assistant professor and later as an associate professor of clinical psychology, in psychiatry. As a licensed psychologist, she maintains a clinical practice in Manhattan.

“Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman is the first person at AFSP to be recognized with this prestigious honor. Since joining AFSP in 2011, she has helped create a globally recognized research program, and AFSP has become the largest private funder of suicide prevention research in the world,” said AFSP Chief Executive Officer Robert Gebbia. “Under Jill's leadership, supporting promising young researchers and advancing suicide prevention research in ethnic and racially underrepresented populations have become priorities. Her skills as a scientist and a caring clinician are laudable, and we are proud that one of our own is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.”

Harkavy-Friedman leads the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s research program which funds research grants, offers workshops and training to researchers, and disseminates research findings to increase public awareness and support advocacy. She works with over 230 scientific advisors and leaders of national organizations such as the National Institute of Mental Health and CDC to evaluate progress in the field and chart the next areas of inquiry to yield impactful insights and strategies for suicide prevention. Harkavy-Friedman also works closely with AFSP’s Education, Communication, Public Policy and Advocacy teams to develop programs and messages to ensure they follow best practices in suicide prevention and reflect the latest findings in research.

“I am honored to receive acknowledgment for my life's work from AAAS, and, more importantly, to see suicide prevention and removal of stigma related to mental illness highlighted as important areas of science,” said Harkavy-Friedman. “We need to galvanize the scientific community to understand and prevent this leading cause of death. Together we can save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.”

A tradition dating back to 1874, election as an AAAS Fellow is a lifetime honor, and all Fellows are expected to maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity. Distinguished past honorees include W.E.B. DuBois, Ellen Ochoa, Steven Chu, Grace Hopper, Alan Alda and Mae Jemison. Joining the ranks of fellows last year were roboticist Anyanna Howard and molecular biologist Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado.

“AAAS is excited to announce the newest class of fellows from across the scientific enterprise in a tradition dating back nearly 150 years and to honor their broad range of achievements,” said Sudip Parikh, AAA chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science journals.

Learn more about Harkavy-Friedman’s career and thought leadership.

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