Mary P. Koss, PhD, a Regents’ Professor of Health Promotion Sciences and Psychology at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, is the recipient of the 2017 American Psychological Association Award for International Advancement of Psychology.
Dr. Koss received the award for her research, consultation and advocacy on sexual violence against women and girls, which has contributed to the integration of women’s rights as an integral part of human rights. Dr. Koss has facilitated important and lasting change in the conduct of research and in systematic programs both to reduce sexual violence and to respond appropriately to victims. She has shared her expertise and guidance worldwide and has made an enduring national and international impact.
Dr. Koss developed the Sexual Experiences Survey in 1982 to measure sexual aggression and victimization. Her 1987 national survey of college students was the first national study of campus sexual assault. The survey from this study has been revised over the years and used in hundreds of studies nationally and internationally, considered the model for how surveys question about sexual victimization and sexual assault perpetration.
Dr. Koss led or collaborated on the first two studies that quantified the impact of childhood adversity and of adult victimization on health. She has advocated for improved justice response to sexual assault and established the RESTORE Program. The first of its kind, RESTORE is a voluntary program based on restorative justice practices where those affected by crime meet together, voice the impact, accept responsibility for harm done, and make a plan for reparation and rehabilitation.
Her international work has involved 11 sovereign American Indian Nations, adolescents and young adults in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, middle school children in Denmark and adult survivors of rape and child abuse in Jerusalem. Current interests are in scaling up promising and proven effective rape prevention and implementation and evaluating restorative justice-based approaches to campus sexual misconduct.
Dr. Koss is published in 300 peer-reviewed articles and has sustained consultations with national and international health organizations and governments. In 2000, she received the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy. She received the 2010 Visionary Award from End Violence Against Women International. In 2013, One in Four USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of rape by the thoughtful application of theory and research to rape prevention programming, established the Mary P. Koss Profile in Courage Award to honor her career contributions.