Bean Robinson, PhD, was honored with the Faculty Mentor Award presented by the PHS postdoctoral fellows at the Family Medicine and Community Health Commencement on June 9, 2010. Graduating fellow G Zachariah White, PsyD, presented the award. He said of Robinson, "Bean is extremely genuine and is emotionally available and supportive. She creates a culture of feedback and thereby treats postdocs as colleagues. Her personality is lovely, and she brings fun, enthusiastic, and sex-positive energy to her work! She is multiculturally aware, competent, and responsible. She is an experienced and committed supervisor. She is passionate about sex and relationship therapy!"
I am all too aware that I am getting older and entering the later stages of my career. I guess I'm in the developmental stage that Erik Erikson would call "Middle Adulthood" with a focus on generativity (vs. self absorption or stagnation). Erikson says that the significant task of this stage is to perpetuate culture, care of others, and production of something that contributes to the betterment of society. Thus, I'm all too aware of the importance of replacing me and other sexuality professionals by training the next generation of sex therapists and researchers. We have a rigorous two year fellowship, and it is rewarding to see the fellows develop their skills. Each fellow we graduate helps to strengthen the field of sexual science, and I take great comfort in that.
Robinson has mentored postdoctoral fellows since 1991. She received her BA in sociology from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and her MA in counseling psychology and her PhD in family social science from the University of Minnesota. She received NIMH funding to complete a postdoctoral training in Asian-American mental health and research methods at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Robinson is currently a Minnesota licensed psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist, and an associate professor at the PHS. Prior to coming to PHS in September, 1991, she was the senior researcher at the Wilder Research Center (1984-1991) and, concurrently, was the consulting psychologist for the White Bear Lake Area Community Counseling Center (1980-1991). She has served as the executive director of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) since 1996.
The focus of Robinson's professional activities has been in the psychology of human sexuality and sexual health, treatment outcome research/effectiveness, and obesity and body image. Her current area of emphasis within human sexuality is exploring and developing sexual health via HIV prevention in minority communities, most notably the African American, African-born, Hmong, men who have sex with men, bisexual, and transgender communities. She is a researcher-clinician who investigates healthy behavioral and psychological change and tries to develop new methods, techniques and programs to promote sexual and psychological health. Her current research project, titled "Opening Pandora's Box: Somali Women, Sexuality, and HIV/STD Prevention," will be the first to examine HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of Somali women of all sexual orientations with the ultimate goal of meeting the critical need to reduce HIV and STD transmission among African-born Americans in Minnesota (and the US) as African-born Americans have the highest HIV/AIDS rates of any ethnic group.
Robinson has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed and other journals and books, has been the principal or co-investigator on research grants, and is on the editorial boards of 11 scientific journals. She has been a practicing clinician for her entire career. She is an active teacher, providing for the clinical training of psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and medical students and residents, has developed HIV/STD prevention curricula, and has given numerous presentations at professional meetings.