Richard A. Winett, the Heilig Meyers Professor of Psychology in the Virginia Tech Department of Psychology, has won the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s 2017 Distinguished Mentor Award.

Mentor awards “honor outstanding service as a mentor in the clinical and professional arena, in both clinical and research endeavors,” according to the society’s website. “(Honorees) have fostered excellence in, and had a major impact on, the field of behavioral medicine by virtue of their roles as mentors.”

Winett will receive the honor at the society’s 2017 annual meeting, to be held March 29 in San Diego.

Winett’s research focuses on health behavior, including health psychology, personalized behavioral medicine, and public health, and the development of primary and secondary prevention programs linked to nutrition, physical activity, and exercise.

He has published more than 260 peer-reviewed articles and has been the principal investigator of 17 research grants. Winett was funded for 40 consecutive years, primarily by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

He joined Virginia Tech in 1979 as an associate professor after positions at the University of Kentucky and then at the Institute for Behavioral Research in Silver Springs, Maryland. He is former director of both the Virginia Tech Clinical Science program and the Center for Research in Health Behavior, and has received the Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Excellence in Research. He also has chaired nearly 40 doctoral students to completion.

He also is an affiliated faculty member with the Virginia Tech Fralin Life Science Institute.

“Dick Winett’s behavioral health research program is one of the most important pillars of our nationally prominent clinical science doctoral program in psychology,” said Bob Stephens, head of psychology, which is part of the Virginia Tech College of Science. “Over the years, Dick has attracted, mentored, and promoted the careers of numerous graduate students who have become leaders at other institutions.”

Winett earned his bachelor’s degree from Queens College in 1967 and his doctoral degree in psychology from Stony Brook University in New York in 1971.

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