Psychology student Patrick Heath named Zaffarano Prize recipient

April 29, 2019 - by Sarah Igram

Patrick Heath

Patrick Heath

The Graduate College has awarded Patrick Heath, a Ph.D. candidate in Counseling Psychology at Iowa State, with the 2019 Zaffarano Prize for Graduate Student Research.


The Zaffarano Prize is given annually to an ISU graduate student who has shown superior performance in publishing research in academic journals. The Graduate College considers both the quality and quantity of the student’s publications when offering this award.


“Winning the Zaffarano Prize is very meaningful to me. There are so many talented graduate students at Iowa State that it's a great honor to be recognized with this award,” Heath said. “It's definitely a highlight of my time here at ISU.


Heath’s research is centered on help-seeking stigma and the role of social and cultural factors in the psychological help-seeking process. He also has investigated the psychological approaches that increase the likelihood of vulnerable groups seeking psychological help. Since 2015, he has published 19 articles and presented 30 times at national and local conferences.


“The best piece of advice I've gotten is to aim for the best journal possible when trying to publish a paper,” Heath said. “My advisor always likes to say, ‘Make them reject you, don't reject yourself.’ While rejection can be difficult at times, I've also gotten my work published in better journals than I expected by taking this approach.”


Previously, Heath has received the John and Elaine Bath Outstanding Counseling Graduate Student Award, the University Research Excellence Award, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate Research Award, and the University Teaching Excellence Award from ISU. He has also received the Outstanding Empirical Journal Article Award and the Mentoring Excellence Award from the Department of Psychology.


“I'm particularly proud of my ability to develop skills across all areas of counseling psychology. I received excellent research mentorship, and had great opportunities to publish my work, but I also received great training in clinical work and teaching,” Heath said. “Our program [at ISU] aims to train 'scientist-practitioners' in which our research informs our clinical work, and vice versa, and I truly believe I have developed a broad range of skills within this model.”


David Vogel, professor of psychology and Heath’s dissertation advisor, nominated Heath for the Zaffarano Prize.


“Patrick is not only a prolific writer, but also has unparalleled quantitative skills, theoretical progression, and clinical significance,” Vogel wrote in his nomination letter. “I can easily say that I see him as a true colleague, having full trust in his abilities as an independent researcher. In many facets of our work together, I learn as much from him as he does from me.”

Heath will graduate with his Ph.D. this May, and in the fall, he will begin a tenure-track faculty position at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. He will be teaching undergraduate courses in psychology and continuing to research stigma, self-compassion, and help-seeking behavior.


Tags: awards, psychology