Past APS Board Member Richard Bootzin was recently awarded the Mary A. Carskadon Outstanding Educator Award by the Sleep Research Society for his work as a professor at the University of Arizona. “Coincidentally, given the title of the award,” Bootzin says, “I got interested in sleep research through my role as an educator.” When one of his students asked him about treatments for her husband’s insomnia, Bootzin became interested in using operant learning-based treatments to help him. He developed stimulus control instructions for insomnia, looking to studies on weight and smoking control methods for guidance. “The student’s husband followed them, and his insomnia improved dramatically within a couple of weeks… In the process of beginning to do insomnia research, I became curious about all aspects of sleep and have been so ever since.”
Bootzin, an APS Fellow and Charter Member, is a professor in the departments of psychology and psychiatry, director of the Sleep Research Laboratory, and director of the Insomnia Clinic at the University Medical Center. His stimulus control therapy has become one of the core elements of cognitive-behavioral treatment for insomnia. Currently, he is working with others to treat sleep disturbance in adolescents with emotional problems. Bootzin said that he is honored to receive such a prestigious award from the Sleep Research Society, but stresses that credit must be shared with the students, postdocs, and junior faculty who have worked with him. “I rejoice in all that they’ve accomplished,” he said.
The Sleep Research Society raises public awareness about sleep science and academic sleep medicine while promoting training and education in sleep research. It awards the Mary A. Carskadon Outstanding Educator award each year to an investigator in order to recognize their work in furthering sleep research as a mentor, teacher, and through public education.