Spotlight on NAN’s Honors & Awards Committee


The Awards Committee of the National Academy of Neuropsychology enlists the efforts of several dedicated individuals in order to recognize those members who have made noteworthy contributions to the field of neuropsychology in any of a number of capacities.

Early in the year, a call for nominations is distributed to the membership asking for the submission of names of individuals who might qualify for the various awards given by NAN.  Recent graduates are encouraged to submit brief summaries of their dissertations for consideration of the Outstanding Dissertation Award. Submissions are rated on the basis of the scientific rigor of the work, the relevance of the subject matter and its importance to the field.

Each year, all of the peer-reviewed publications from the Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology are rated on the importance of the topic addressed, the scientific rigor of the methodology and the potential impact of the paper on the field. The authors of the year’s top-rated manuscript are given the Nelson Butters Award.

Those still early in their careers (with less than 10 years of experience after receiving their doctoral degrees) can be considered for the Early Career Service Award. That award is presented in recognition of the nominee’s number of service-related positions, years in organizational leadership roles, teaching, supervision and mentoring activities, and clinical/community service.

The Early Career Award is given in recognition of one’s publication histories, the quality of the journals where their work appeared, and the impact of those papers on the field. Books and book chapters, grand funding history, and service to the field are also reviewed in consideration for that award.

The Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Neuropsychology Award is given in recognition of one’s impact on the field after considering all aspects of one’s career, including research activity, publication record, grant funding, and service to the professional organizations.

Starting in 2016, the committee is pleased to present the “Ralph M. Reitan Award for Clinical Excellence.” This award will recognize an individual who has made a significant contribution to the profession by:

  • influencing the method, settings, and/or persons involved in applied practice, resulting in noteworthy benefit to the profession and its clients;
  • demonstrating leadership as a teacher, clinician, and/or theorist in public and/or professional arenas; and/or
  • having had an effect on changes in practice or training in the field.

The recipients of these awards are formally recognized in the course of our annual awards ceremony at the conference. Those whose efforts to advance diversity and students whose work culminated in outstanding poster presentations are also recognized there. The ceremony concludes with an invited address from the year’s recipient of the Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Neuropsychology Award.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about NAN award offerings, please feel free to contact us. We are always looking for new committee members; those interested in volunteering on the committee should contact the central office.


Richard Naugle, PhD, ABPP-CN
Chair, NAN Awards Committee
Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Getting to Know…

Tanya D’Avanzo, Ph.D.

Private Practice
Honolulu, Hawaii

Each month, the NAN Social Media Committee will be showcasing a NAN Board member and their answers to five simple but important questions. We wanted to know when they discovered that neuropsychology was the field for them, and who were their biggest influences. We asked them for their best piece of career advice. And finally, we wanted to know what they do when they’re not working, and of course, what’s on their iPods.

Up next, we are spotlighting Dr. Tanya D’Avanzo, Member-at-Large on the NAN Board of Directors!

Dr. D’Avanzo is a board-certified neuropsychologist working in private practice in Honolulu, Hawaii. Dr. D’Avanzo says “I was just 10 years old when I told my mother I wanted to study the brain.” She affirmed her interest in brain-behavior relationships while majoring in biopsychology at Tufts University, and never looked back. Dr. D’Avanzo credits Dr. Nelson Butters as the most influential force in shaping her career, saying “Nelson taught me the Boston Process Approach to assessment, and helped me forge a path in the field.” She also found inspiration in his research concerning double dissociations of patterns of neuropsychological performance in various syndromes.

When asked what career advice she would offer other neuropsychologists, Dr. D’Avanzo stresses the importance of creating a unique niche and always pursuing excellence. “Remain a student in your perspective, open to learning” and “do all of this in the service of helping others.”

In her spare time, Dr. D’Avanzo is also a thriving artist, specializing mainly in portraits, with works appearing in private collections in the United States and Europe. She enjoys reading, exploring museums, and dance. Dr. D’Avanzo’s iPod is mostly stocked with music she can dance to, although she notes she may be stuck in the 80’s!

Thanks for your time, Dr. D’Avanzo, and thanks for your service to NAN!

Spotlight on NAN’s Education Committee

So just what is the Education Committee and how does it serve NAN? The Education Committee serves a vital, but behind-the-scenes role for the organization. Members may not be aware of all that we do.

The Education Committee is dedicated to organizing and supervising all continuing education activities for NAN. While the DistanCE E-Learning and Program Committees seek out speakers and topics that interest our members, the Education Committee makes sure the webinars, workshops and courses will be eligible for continuing education credits. Specifically, we:

  • Review the instructor credentials, goals and learning objectives of curriculum
  • Ensure programs maintain the security of patient and test/proprietary information
  • Determine accessibility of programs for those protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Make sure programs are ethical and respect cultural diversity
  • Provide effective program management, including ensuring program content is relevant and current
  • Work with presenters to provide program evaluation and other written documents for review

As you might imagine, the months leading up to the annual conference are our busiest time of year! In addition to reviewing content for each and every session that will be offered in Austin, we have been working throughout the year on DistanCE programming – reviewing webinar content and ensuring questions for continuing education books are appropriate.

We work closely with presenters, providing assistance in setting up learning objectives for a variety of CE offerings, from webinars and books to conference workshops. One of the biggest mistakes we see are presenters who write learning objectives based on “what will I teach” rather than “what you will take away.” Another common mistake is writing learning objectives that do not provide relevant information for members to take away from the course. The good news is we always spot these mistakes and make sure appropriate corrections are made.

Our committee members work hard to keep all offerings in compliance with the standards set forth by the APA. If we stray outside their guidelines and these mistakes are caught in an audit, NAN would no longer be eligible to provide CEs to our members! Additionally, we stay current on licensing requirements for each state to make sure our offerings meets standards throughout the country.

Our committee may be working behind-the-scenes for NAN members, but we would love to hear from you! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about NAN educational offerings, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always looking for new committee members as well, so if you are interested in volunteering your time please let us know!


Maureen K. O’Connor, Psy.D., ABPP-CN
Chair, NAN Education Committee
Director of Neuropsychology
Bedford Veterans Hospital
Director of Cognitive Rehabilitation
Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Associate Director ADC Education Core
Boston University School of Medicine

Getting to Know…

Daniel Marson, J.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Neurology
Director, Division of Neuropsychology
Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Department of Neurology
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Each month, the NAN Social Media Committee will be showcasing a NAN Board member and their answers to five simple but important questions. We wanted to know when they discovered that neuropsychology was the field for them, and who were their biggest influences. We asked them for their best piece of career advice. And finally, we wanted to know what they do when they’re not working, and of course, what’s on their iPods.

Up next, we are spotlighting past NAN president, Dr. Daniel Marson.

Dr. Marson is a clinical neuropsychologist, licensed attorney, and tenured professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Marson first became interested in neuropsychology during his graduate education in clinical psychology at Northwestern University Medical School, where he took a course on brain science that involved dissection of a human brain. Often noted with influencing other neuropsychologists’ careers, Dr. Marson credits Dr. John Whitaker, the former chairman of UAB’s Department of Neurology (1985-2001), as playing a major role in his professional development. Another major influence was Dr. Leon Thal, former Chair of the Department of Neurosciences at UCSD. Dr. Marson’s advice to others is to follow your dream, but also listen carefully to your professional and personal feelings when making decisions. Dr. Marson also stresses the importance of working both hard and smart to find success.

When not fulfilling his professional duties, including directing the Department of Neurology’s Division of Neuropsychology and the UAB Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Dr. Marson is an avid jazz and blues fan and musician who plays the harmonica. He enjoys staying fit with running and biking, and keeps his iPod stocked with Bossa Nova music (Stan Getz), J. Geils Band, Fleetwood Mac, and Grand Funk Railroad.

Thanks for your time, Dr. Marson, and thanks for your service to NAN!

Spotlight on NAN’s Nominations & Elections Committee

The Nominations and Elections Committee is unique in that it is one of two committees that consists only of the three most immediate past presidents of NAN. (The other committee is the Fellows Committee). The Committee oversees the Board nominations process, which takes place at the beginning of each year, and the Board election, held each summer.

Each January, the NAN Office sends out an electronic call for nominations to the vote eligible members of NAN (those at the Fellow, Professional and Emeritus-Active levels) for upcoming vacant Board offices. After the submission period closes, the tally of those nominations are sent to the Nominations and Elections Committee for presentation to the Board for approval. Those selected candidates for office are asked to submit a candidate statement, along with answers to a list of election questions developed by the Committee. These materials are reviewed and approved by the Committee to ensure that the materials meet the guidelines for content and length. Once approved, the candidate materials are distributed electronically to the membership and posted on the website.

The web-based election ballots are sent out to the vote eligible members in early summer. The electronic voting system allows each member to cast their vote securely online and to confirm the receipt of that vote. The election period is closed after 60 days, at which time the NAN Office sends the results report to the Nominations and Elections Committee, who reviews the final results and confirms the election guidelines have been followed. The results are then presented to the President and the Board for endorsement by the Board.

2015 Board of Directors Election Results
On behalf of the NAN Board we congratulate the following incoming Board members:

John E. Meyers, Psy.D.
Maureen O’Connor, Psy.D.

Thank you to all members who participated in the electoral process this year!

Getting to Know…

Sarah ViamonteSarah M. Viamonte, Ph.D., MSPH

President, Colorado Neuropsychological Society
Secretary, National Academy of Neuropsychology
Director, Neuropsychology Service, Department of Medicine, National Jewish Health

Each month, the NAN Social Media Committee will be showcasing a NAN Board member and their answers to five simple but important questions. We wanted to know when they discovered that neuropsychology was the field for them, and who were their biggest influences. We asked them for their best piece of career advice. And finally, we wanted to know what they do when they’re not working, and of course, what’s on their iPods.

Up next, we are spotlighting Dr. Sarah Viamonte, secretary of the NAN Board of Directors!

Dr. Viamonte became excited about a career in neuropsychology during her undergraduate years at the University of Iowa where she worked with a fantastic team that included Dan Tranel, Matt Rizzo, and Natalie Denberg. Later on in her career, Dr. Viamonte’s development was strongly influenced by Tom Novak and past NAN president Dan Marson, who provided her with educational and professional opportunities. Choice advice that Dr. Viamonte has for rising neuropsychologists is to take risks, say “yes”, get involved, and introduce yourself to others!

When she’s not fulfilling work responsibilities, Dr. Viamonte does fitness activities like running and cycling. As for plugging in her iPod, she enjoys listening to podcasts and streaming online music.

Thanks for your time, Dr. Viamonte, and thanks for your service to NAN!

Enter to Win – What does a neuropsychologist do?

SocialMediaContestGraphic_largeWe are excited to announce a unique and important opportunity to help spread public awareness about Neuropsychologists and our professional roles. The National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN) is launching the “What does a neuropsychologist do?” contest to help us better inform the public about what we do every day.

Think you can describe what a neuropsychologist does in a brief, easy to understand statement? Be creative, and fun–remember the purpose is to engage the public in a better understanding of our profession–and give us your thoughts. What do you tell your friends you do? Family? Give us your winning ideas and, you just might be browsing the NAN Neuropsych Blog on the brand new iPad mini you won for submitting the winning description! We also have a fitbit, to track your daily activity, or a free NAN webinar as two runner up prizes!

To enter our contest submit  your best two to three sentence description of what neuropsychologists do using the NAN Facebook or Twitter pages. Entrants using Twitter are encouraged to include @NANneuropsych, as well as #NANcontest. Entrants can share their submission on their own Facebook/ Twitter page(s). Participants will be encouraged to have their friends come to the NAN Facebook/ Twitter page(s) and engage with us on those forums. The winner’s submission may be used in future NAN publications to help expand NAN and neuropsychology as a profession. Contest winners will be determined by a vote by the NAN social media committee members. Only one entry per contestant will be accepted.

Click here to enter now!

NAN 2015 Annual Conference

#NAN #NANAustin

austinWe are excited to introduce a change in our Annual Conference, which will be unveiled this year at the 35th Annual Conference (November 4-7, 2015) in Austin, Texas at the brand new JW Marriott.

NAN has a celebrated history of producing successful Annual Conferences with outstanding CE opportunities in appealing locations. However, the expense of producing our conference has risen considerably over the years. In fact, we have faced an average increase in expenses of up to 12.5% over the past several years. Clearly this is unsustainable and requires strategic, thoughtful changes. In spite of this, we remain committed to bringing you outstanding conferences in great locations.

In the broad science community, conferences of similar scope and size cost their members two to three times more than it costs to attend NAN. You have asked that we make every effort to keep attendee costs down given that many of you have to take time away from your practice to attend the conference. The Board has been responsive to this and is committed to keeping the attendee costs of the conference from rising without reducing the offerings that have made the NAN Annual Conference so attractive to our professionals and students. Consequently, the Board has worked hard over the past several years to develop a new conference format that will allow us to continue to provide our members with many of the benefits of the previous format and increase the value.

music in austinNAN’s new conference format features one all-encompassing registration fee that will allow you to earn over 25 CE credits – download the Schedule-at-a-Glance. You will pick and choose the courses that you would like to attend, but not pay an additional fee for each course as in the past. We have established a price point based on the number of courses and fees paid by the average attendee at past conferences, while maintaining a reduced rate for student and post-doctoral resident members.

Other exciting features will include:

  • New oral paper presentations allowing additional opportunities to present your research.
  • Continued social and networking opportunities that attendees have come to expect.
  • Appealing conference locations with high quality presentations.

We are continually incorporating additional program enhancements and look forward to your feedback and seeing y’all in Austin.


Getting to Know…

laura-lacritz-profile-photoLaura Lacritz, Ph.D., ABPP/CN

Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology & Neurotherapeutics
Associate Director, Neuropsychology
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Each month, the NAN Social Media Committee will be showcasing a NAN Board member and their answers to five simple but important questions. We wanted to know when they discovered that neuropsychology was the field for them, and who were their biggest influences. We asked them for their best piece of career advice. And finally, we wanted to know what they do when they’re not working, and of course, what’s on their iPods.

Up next, we are spotlighting NAN President-Elect, Dr. Laura Lacritz!

Dr. Lacritz first knew she wanted to be a neuropsychologist during her first practicum experience in a rehab hospital. She was hooked after observing how some functions are spared following injury, by the way the brain recovers after injury, and how a psychologist can assist in the recovery process. Dr. Munro Cullum has had the greatest influence on Dr. Lacritz’s career, serving as mentor, friend, and colleague, as well as her biggest supporter. “He opened doors for me when I was starting in the field, and has inspired me as a clinician, supervisor, and leader.”

When asked for her best piece of career advice, Dr. Lacritz provided two nuggets of wisdom: 1) Find a niche that needs to be filled and get involved early, and 2) introduce yourself to the people you want to meet.

In her down time, Dr. Lacritz enjoys bike riding, yoga, hiking, camping, reading, cooking, tennis, and playing board games. Her iPod is presently packed with tracks from Katie Melua, Max Gomez, and Bruno Mars.

Thank you for your time, Dr. Lacritz, and for your past and continued work with NAN!

Spotlight on NAN’s DistanCE E-Learning Committee



The NAN DistanCE committee has been hard at work developing and maintaining education that is accessible but meets the needs of all types of clinicians. Our focus has ranged from the advanced practice neuropsychologists to students; however, we also focus on physicians and other stakeholders in the neurological well being of patients. Clinical issues presented are often quite varied; you would be hard pressed to find the same topic presented twice. Furthermore, these topics are presented by experts in the field, are delivered in many different formats, and are APA approved! This makes it easy for you to choose what fits you!

Looking for a CE that is electronic so you can access it from home or the office, but still looking for that interactive touch? Then our live webinars are for you! These talks come up at a specific time and use a web based presentation that allows you to view a power point by the speaker and hear them, but also type in questions to them during the talk so you can engage in Q&A. Some of our upcoming talks include Dr. William MacAllister discussing Performance Validity Testing in children (May 28, 12:00PM EST) or Dr. Joseph Comaty talking about medication and cognition (May 13, 12:00PM EST). Visit the website for more information on upcoming talks.

Busy professional on the go? Need that last minute ethics CE or perhaps you missed that CE on the DSM-5 and want to get some late night studying in? Then the static courses and recorded webinars are where you need to be. Right now you will find relevant topics such as sports neuropsychology presented by Dr. Robert Conder, neuroimaging for neuropsychologists presented by Dr. Erin Bigler, and neuropsychological assessment of Hispanics residing the US by Dr. Antonio Puente and Dr. Adriana Strutt. These recorded webinars offer easy to earn but comprehensive 1.5 hour CE talks. But, if you are looking for something more from a past conference, consider the static courses. Talks on autism spectrum disorders from Dr. Natacha Akshoomoff and lifespan issues in moderate to severe TBI by Dr. Jacobus Donders are available.

Perhaps you are looking for something more in-depth, to either brush up on a new area or re-acquaint yourself with some of the new issues in a previously well-learned area. That would lead you to the online courses and the book series. The online courses are designed to be more intensive and in-depth looks into different areas important to neuropsychologists. Clinical neuroanatomy is the longest running course currently available and offers 15 weeks of thorough review of the brain structures from a functional and anatomical perspective while neuropsychology of epilepsy and epilepsy surgery is an 8-week course reviewing different epilepsy syndromes, procedures, treatments, and comorbid conditions. Both are taught by the esteemed Dr. Gregory Lee, who has written the book on neuropsychology of epilepsy. The format of the course allows you to interact with Dr. Lee, who is incredibly responsive and passionate about these topics, as well as other students in the course.

Speaking of books, do not forget to look at the online book series that provides 7 CE credits for taking the online quiz. These books are fantastic resources that cover current topics and of course allow you to set the pace for how you want to cover the material. Current offerings include:

  • Civil Capacities in Clinical Neuropsychology: Research Findings and Practical Applications, Edited by George Demakis
  • Secondary Influences on Neuropsychological Test Performance, Edited by Peter Arnett
  • Neuropsychological Aspects of Substance Use Disorders: Evidence-Based Perspectives, Edited by Daniel N. Allen and Steven Paul Woods

On the DistanCE committee, education is our passion! We are dedicated to providing opportunities for expanding knowledge growth, integrating practice and research, and enhancing clinical practice with evidence based content. We hope to see you in one of our courses soon! Keep in mind we always welcome feedback about what works, what doesn’t, or perhaps something you would like to see in the future!

We always look forward to hearing from you.  If you have any questions, concerns, or just feel like saying hello, you can contact us at:


RFallowsRobert R. Fallows, PsyD, ABPP-CN
Member, DistanCE E-Learning Committee, National Academy of Neuropsychology
Director, Neuropsychology Clinic
Associate Director of Clinical Training, Medical Psychology Training Program
Samaritan Health Services – Albany, Oregon