Lucy Sant’Anna Takagi, Clinical Specialist in the department of Social Work and Child Advocacy, has been named as the 2022 Psychologist of the Year by the New Jersey Psychological Association. The award recognizes an NJPA member who has made important contributions to the profession of psychology in New Jersey, made important contributions to the profession through service to NJPA, and is a valuable asset to the association, through his/her character and unique professional abilities.
“It is humbling to be professionally recognized by my community of peers in NJ. When I took the presidency of NJPA in 2020, I could not have envisioned that COVID would turn all of our lives upside down,” says Takagi.
Dr. Takagi continues: “As a leader, advocacy, communication and inclusiveness became the primary focus of my presidency. Suddenly, the parity of telehealth reimbursement for needed treatment nationally and in NJ; advocating for the law that allowed NJ to be part of PSYPACT; and advocating for the amendment to the Psychology Licensing Law in NJ involved a team of leaders that preceded and worked alongside me.
“I am proud to have brought these efforts to fruition with the help of the NJPA Executive Board, NJPA staff, my colleagues, family and friends, and with the support of the New Jersey Inter-Mental Health and Psychological Associations Coalition (IMPAC), NJABPsi, LMHANJ, and NJPA. This recognition is particularly meaningful to me, as I am an immigrant, as English is my second language, and as I am privileged to work through human suffering and human resilience in my offices daily.”
Emily Douglas, Chair of the Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy, says Takagi’s award is well-deserved. “Lucy has worked so hard to represent her psychology colleagues in the state and their clients. Lucy’s advocacy on behalf of others is remarkable. She is an inspiration to many and an important role model for our students. We are very lucky to call her our colleague.”
This award marks Dr. Takagi’s second in the past year for her contributions and leadership to the psychology profession. In 2021, she was selected for the 2021 Outstanding Psychologist Award from Division 31 of the American Psychological Association. This award honors a psychologist whose distinguished contributions include demonstrating outstanding leadership in State, Provincial and Territorial Psychological Association Affairs (SPTA).
Dr. Takagi is Brazilian, has a Master’s in Educational Psychology from Montclair State University and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. She has worked clinically with inner-city, ethnically, financially and culturally diverse populations and with adult and child victims of sexual abuse. She is a trained forensic evaluator and has done assessments and treatments of victims impacted by abuse and neglect as well as by other forms of trauma. She has testified as an expert and fact witness in New Jersey’s civil courts. Dr. Takagi has also evaluated undocumented immigrants applying for documentation.
At Montclair State, Dr. Takagi is the current Graduate Program Coordinator for the Child Advocacy & Policy Program at the Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy, where she has taught courses including Abuse and Neglect, Current Social Issues and graduate Practicum and Seminar in Public Child Welfare courses.