Media Psychology Program alum Aiden Hirshfield, Ph.D.’19, is the 2022 recipient of the Dianne Kipnes Social Innovation Award. The Award will partially fund his project, Providing Critical Support for ASL Interpreters in the Mental Health Setting. The project goals are to support and offer additional educational opportunities to American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters who face considerable occupational stress and financial challenges.
The project’s mission is to improve the vocational skills of interpreters. As part of the project, Dr. Hirshfield anticipates assessing how this training could affect ASL interpreters’ mental health and job functioning. The Award funds will also support the development of an educational platform available to professional interpreters as a resource indefinitely.
In Dr. Hirshfield’s proposal, he indicated that his project could potentially support and impact a community of 10,000 certified interpreters and more than three million deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in the United States.
Institute for Social Innovation Director and Dean Emeritus Charles McClintock, Ph.D., shared about Dr. Hirshfield’s project: “Dr. Hirshfield’s proposal impressed the review committee for its direct impact on ASL interpreters, a population of service providers whose levels of stress have been heightened due to the pandemic. The combination of the proposed innovative program and research to evaluate the project’s effectiveness helped Dr. Hirshfield’s proposal stand out from a group of 17 competitive proposals.”
The Dianne Kipnes Fund for Social Innovation was established in 2016 with an exceptional gift from Clinical Psychology alum Dianne Kipnes, Ph.D.’98. The Fund currently supports alumni projects that demonstrate innovation and collaboration for improving the lives of individuals, organizations, and/or communities. “When we invest in alumni research, we support their advancement as scholar-practitioners. As change-makers, they, in turn, advance projects benefiting the communities they serve. It is no longer just about the Fielding circle. It is about improving social and environmental conditions for the members of our society,” said Director of Alumni Relations Hilary Lyn about the significance of the Dianne Kipnes Social Innovation Award for alumni and Fielding’s commitment to lifelong learning.
Congratulations to Dr. Hirshfield on this accomplishment! We look forward to sharing his research findings with the Fielding community.