Thomas R. Verny Award
This centerpiece of APPPAH's International Congresses began as a surprise announcement at the Atlanta Congress in 1991, when Thomas Verny, the Toronto psychiatrist who was the visionary founder and first president of the Association, retired from the presidency after eight years of service. APPPAH's board revealed that it had secretly established the "Thomas R. Verny Prize"—to be given in Dr. Verny's honor to someone making extraordinary contributions to prenatal and perinatal psychology.
In making the announcement, David Chamberlain presented Thomas with the first such APPPAH "Oscar," a dark stone statuette of Imhotep, chosen to symbolize virtuosity in leadership and public service. The real Imhotep was an extraordinary Egyptian physician, writer, scholar, and advisor to pharaohs circa 500 B.C. Imhotep's influence was so great that succeeding generations of Egyptians were not sure if he had been human or divine! The gold-framed citation read,
The Board of Directors presents the first Association "Oscar" to Thomas R. Verny, M.D., D.Psych., physician, psychologist, scholar, valued advisor, communicator to the multitudes, and accoucheur to pre- and perinatal psychology. We honor you today, July 19, 1991 at the 5th Congress in Atlanta, Georgia.
Thomas organized the 1st International Congress of Pre- and Perinatal Psychology in Toronto in 1983 and in 1986 became founder and first editor of the Journal of the Association. Beyond the bounds of the organization, his ambitious speaking schedule abroad and his classic work, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child (1981) drew world attention (ultimately in over 25 languages) to the vital but overlooked field of prenatal psychology. In the Verny tradition of "Extraordinary Contributions" we have been pleased to recognize the distinguished work of Ashley Montagu (1993), Beatriz Manrique (1995), Michel Odent (1997), David Chamberlain (1999), Ludwig Janus (2001), Laura Huxley (2003), Tiffany Field (2005), Peter Hepper (2007), Gladys T. McGarey (2009), Stanislav Grof (2010), and Barbara Findeisen (2011).