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 every two years 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.