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Susan Folkman, PhD

Professor Emeritus, UCSF

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“The study of stress, emotion, and coping in the context of illness benefits from the synergy that is created in the truly interdisciplinary environment of integrative medicine.”

Susan Folkman, PhD, was the founding Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. Appointed in 2001, she retired in 2009. Dr. Folkman is now Professor Emeritus.

From 1990 through June 2009, she was a Professor of Medicine at UCSF, and from 2001 to 2009 she was also the Osher Foundation Distinguished Professor in Integrative Medicine. From 1994 and 2001, she was Co-Director of the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS). Dr. Folkman received her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in 1979, where she remained until moving to UCSF in 1988.

She is internationally recognized for her theoretical and empirical contributions to the field of psychological stress and coping. Her 1984 book with Richard S. Lazarus, Stress, Appraisal, and Coping is considered a classic that helped shape the field, and the Ways of Coping measure that she developed with Lazarus has been translated into 27 languages. Her research of the last 20 years has focused on stress and coping in the context of serious illness, caregiving, and bereavement.

From 2000-2004, she served on the NIH/NIMH National Advisory Mental Health Council, and in 2010 she was appointed to the NIH/NCCAM National Advisory Council. She has chaired or been a member of various NIH review committees and task forces, served on Institute of Medicine and NIH workgroups, and was co-chair of the American Psychological Association task force on ethics in research with human participants. She was also the Chair of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine from 2005-2007.

She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, for her contributions to coping theory and research, and a national conference on the State of the Science in Stress and Coping was organized in her honor in September of 2009. In 2010, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Psychological Association. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.

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