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Alumna Margaret Chesney to receive honorary degree

WALLA WALLA, Wash.— Margaret Chesney ’71, a world leader in AIDS research and prevention studies, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Whitman College on May 18, 2008, as part of the college’s Commencement ceremony.

Dr. Margaret Chesney

Chesney is the first associate director of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine and a professor in the Department of Medicine at the school.

“Dr. Chesney’s research on the role individuals play in the promotion of personal health is an invaluable contribution to the fields of psychology and medicine,” said Whitman College President George Bridges. “The work she has done in disease prevention, particularly in the treatment of HIV/AIDS and cardiovascular disease, demonstrates her commitment to addressing the demanding challenges facing our world today and perfectly mirrors the goals and aspirations of the current generation of Whitman students.”

Prior to her appointment at the University of Maryland, Chesney was the first deputy director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. The center is the lead federal agency in the support of scientific research on complementary and alternative medical healing practices.

Chesney was also was a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco.

In her clinical investigations in the area of integrative medicine, Chesney has focused on the role of the individual in the prevention of disease and the potential for optimal health management. Much of her research has underscored the role that lifestyle and behavior play in health.

“Throughout her career, Dr. Chesney has helped bridge the gap between psychology and medicine,” said Bridges. “The interdisciplinary nature of her research is a great example of the value of a liberal arts education.”

Chesney served as president of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, the American Psychosomatic Society and the Division of Health Psychology of the American Psychological Association. In 1982 and again in 1986, she received the annual award for Outstanding Contributions to the APA Division of Health Psychology. Other awards include the President’s Award from the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research in 1987 and the Charles C. Shepard Science Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1999.

Chesney graduated summa cum laude with a double major in psychology and sociology from Whitman in 1971. She received her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Colorado State University in 1975. Read more about Margaret Chesney here(PDF).


CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156
or Keith Raether, Writer, Office of Communications, (509) 527-4917

Published on May 6, 2008
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