Nicholas A. Cummings, Ph.D., Sc.D.尼古拉斯·卡明斯
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Nicholas A. Cummings, Ph.D., Sc.D.尼古拉斯·卡明斯

Dr. Cummings is a visionary who for half a century not only was able toforesee the future of professional psychology, he helped create it. A formerpresident of the American Psychological Association (APA) as well as itsDivisions 12 (Clinical Psychology) and 29 (Psychotherapy), he formed anumber of national organizations in response to trends. Since organizedpsychology resisted these inevitable changes, Dr. Cummings’ blazed theway, expecting others would follow. He launched the professional schoolmovement by founding the four campuses of the California School ofProfessional Psychology that established clinicians as full fledged members ofthe faculty. As chief of mental health for the Kaiser Permanente healthsystem in the 1950s, he wrote and implemented the first prepaidpsychotherapy contract in the era when psychotherapy was an exclusionrather than a covered benefit in health insurance. He wrote what is knownas the freedom-of-choice legislation that requires insurers to reimbursepsychologists along with psychiatrists, and he conducted the medical costoffset research showing that psychological interventions savemedical/surgical dollars.

Foreseeing the industrialization of healthcare, and particularly behavioralhealthcare, he founded American Biodyne, the nation’s first psychology-driven managed behavioral health organization (MBHO), to be emulated sothat the profession could own managed behavioral care before it fell into thehands of business interests. For two years he limited enrollment to 500,000covered lives, but when the professions of psychology and psychiatryignored the model, he took his foot off the brake, and the number of coveredlives soared to 14.5 million in the next 5 years. Other organizations hefounded were the National Academies of Practice (the 150 mostdistinguished practitioners in each of dentistry, medicine, nursing,optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, podiatric medicine, psychology,social work, and veterinary medicine), the National Council of ProfessionalSchool of Psychology (NCSPP), the San Joaquin County Psychological Association, and the American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association(AMBHA). With others he co-founded the California PsychologicalAssociation, the San Francisco Bay Area Psychological Association, theCouncil for the Advancement of the Psychological Professions and Sciences(CAPPS).

In spite of being controversial all of his life, he is the recipient of numerousawards, including psychology’s highest, the APF Gold Medal for LifetimeAchievement in Practice.

He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University ofCalifornia at Berkeley, the master’s degree in psychology from ClaremontGraduate School, and the doctorate in clinical psychology from AdelphiUniversity. He has been awarded five honorary doctorates for his innovationsin such diverse fields as education and the Greek classics. Along with hisprofessional, scientific and educational contributions, he has been feted asthe foremost entrepreneur in psychology.

Dr. Cummings was a member of President Kennedy’s Mental Health TaskForce and President Carter’s Mental Health Commission. He was an advisorto the Health Economics Branch of the then Department of Health, Educationand Welfare, the Senate Subcommittee on Health (Senator Edward Kennedy,Chair), and the Senate Finance Committee (Senator Russell Long, Chair). Hehas testified before the Congress of the United States 18 times. On behalf ofthe Health Care Financing Administration, he conducted the 7-year HawaiiMedicaid Project that prompted the federal government to overhaul the wayMedicaid was being delivered.

His daughter, Dr. Janet Cummings, remembers that her father always hadtwo, and usually 3 fulltime jobs, She attributes this to her father’s ability toget along with only 3 hours of sleep at night. He served as executive directorof the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, and he has written over 450journal articles and 45 books, 8 of them with his daughter. Throughout thehalf-century of professional activity, Dr. Cummings never saw less than 40to 50 patients per week in private practice. His belief has been that once helost contact with hands-on clinical practice, he would lose sight of theimportant factors in clinical psychology.

Well into his mid-80s, in 2008 he designed, and with Arizona StateUniversity, launched the state-of-the-art Doctor of Behavioral Healthprogram in ASU's newly created School of Letters and Sciences on the newdowntown campus that houses the medical school, nursing, and the otherhealth sciences. Known also as the Integrated Behavioral Care program, itnot only integrates all of the mental health professions (e.g., psychology,social work, counseling, marriage/family therapy), but also trains the be an integral part of the nation's healthcare system.

At the present time he resides in Reno, Nevada with the one love of his life,Dorothy Mills Cummings. Together in 2008 they celebrated their 60thwedding anniversary. They maintain a winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona.He continues as Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University ofNevada, Reno, an active president of the Cummings Foundation ofBehavioral Health, and chairs both the Boards of Directors of The Nicholas &Dorothy Cummings Foundation and CareIntegra. He is in demand forkeynote speeches all over the world, which he delivers on a selective basis. 

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