Dissertation Award


The AAMFT Research and Education Foundation recognizes scholarly achievement by recent graduates whose research study related to couples and family therapy or family therapy training.


This award may be self-nominated by an AAMFT member or nominated by another AAMFT member. Nominator must submit the nominee’s proposal and a written statement (500 words max) of why the proposal should be selected.

Selection criteria for the award include:

  1. Dissertation completed in the preceding academic year;
  2. Applicant has been awarded the degree;
  3. Significance of the substantive issue for couples and family therapy;
  4. Conceptual and theoretical clarity;
  5. Soundness, sophistication, and appropriateness of the methodology, whether quantitative, qualitative, or conceptual;
  6. Importance of the substantive findings;
  7. Quality of the interpretation and discussion of the findings;
  8. Style and quality of the writings;
  9. Priority shall be given to clinical research.

In the case of equally meritorious applications, consideration will be given to applicants who have demonstrated active participation in an AAMFT activity. Examples, in addition to AAMFT membership, may include such activities as volunteering at a conference, being a presenter at a conference, or a poster presentation.

Letter of Recommendation

All self-nominations require a letter of recommendation to be submitted with materials.


The award consists of:

  • An engraved plaque presented to the winners;
  • The Annual Systemic Family Therapy Conference registration fee will also be waived for the award recipient(s).

How to apply: In order to qualify for this award, interested candidates must complete an online application .  

Note: The AAMFT Annual Conference registration fee will be waived for all award recipients. In order to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest, anyone who is on the AAMFT, the AAMFT Foundation, or AAMFT sponsored payroll is ineligible to be considered for an award so long as that financial relationship exists.  All award recipients must be members of AAMFT with the exception of those receiving the Excellence in Media award, and at least one author of the Outstanding Research Publication award must be a member.

2022 Award Recipients

Dissertation Award Video

Sara Tawil


Past Recipients of the Dissertation Award

  • Kwin Willis (2021)
  • Mary Nedela (2021)
  • Braden Brown (2020)
  • Stephanie Armes (2020)
  • Lorien Jordan (2019)
  • Jordan Montgomery (2019)
  • Brie Turns (2018)
  • Jamila Holcomb (2018)
  • Ashley Landers (2017)
  • Tara Signs (2017)
  • Regina Bordieri (2017)
  • Bryan Cafferky (2016)
  • Carissa D'Aniello-Heyda (2016)
  • Jennifer Konzen (2015)
  • Rebecca Cobb (2015)
  • Aaron Norton (2015)
  • Lori Schade (2014)
  • Ruoxi Chen (2014)
  • Sarah Woods (2013)
  • Laura Eubanks Gambrel (2013)
  • Ryan B. Seedall (2012)
  • Jennifer M. Haines (2012)
  • Susan N. Perkins (2011)
  • Michelle L. Engblom-Deglmann (2011)
  • Jeffrey B. Jackson (2010)
  • Carolina Castaños (2010)
  • Eli A. Karam (2009)
  • Steven H. Jella (2008)
  • Shayne R. Anderson (2008)
  • David B. Ward (2007)
  • Sean D. Davis (2006)
  • Andrew S. Brimhall (2006)
  • Benjamin E. Caldwell (2005)
  • Jose Ruben Parra Cardona (2005)
  • Sara A. Smock (2004)
  • Marianne McInnes Miller (2004)
  • Megan J. Murphy (2003)
  • Sarah Droubay (2002)
  • Mary E. Dankoski (2002)
  • David Van Dyke (2001)
  • David Young (2001)
  • Karen Helmeke (1998)
  • Mary Manson (1998)
  • David Law (1997)
  • Shobha Pais (1996)