Our History

In the early 1970s, the directors of the original 13 Psychosocial Rehabilitation Centers met to discuss the establishment of an association for advancing the practice of psychosocial/psychiatric rehabilitation services (PSR).  These founders envisioned an international association that would promote optimistic strengths-based and community-based services for persons with severe and persistent mental illnesses.  Each director was personally committed to improving and promoting the practice and outcomes of psychiatric rehabilitation, and each deeply believed that an association was needed to reflect their commitment.   In 1974, the International Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services (IAPSRS) was incorporated as a nonprofit in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Original 13 Founders:

  • Jerry Dincin, Thresholds (Chicago, IL)
  • Lois Evey, Council House (later Renaissance Center)
  • Samuel Grob, Center House (Boston, MA)
  • Julie Lanoil, The Club (Piscataway, NJ)
  • Chris MacFadden, Forward House (Montreal, Canada)
  • Marshall Rubin, Fellowship House (Miami, FL)
  • Irv Rutman, Horizon House (Philadelphia, PA)
  • James Schmidt, Fountain House (New York City, NY)
  • David Shiel, Stairways (Erie, PA)
  • Donald Springer, Friendship House (Hackensack, NJ)
  • Florence Strindberg, Prospect House (East Orange, NJ)
  • Henry Tanaka, Hill House (Cleveland, OH)
  • Marvin Weinstein, Portals (Los Angeles, CA)

    Word spread of the outcomes being achieved and universities started to integrate rehabilitation principles and practices into their curricula.  In 1982, the association and the Sargent College Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University entered into a partnership to co-publish Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, providing a platform for researchers to publish findings and, thereby, building the evidence base for psychiatric rehabilitation practices.

    As psychosocial rehabilitation methods were being applied in other mental health settings and validated by research institutions, a standard of best practice emerged. IAPSRS fostered the efforts of these early pioneers, and collectively developed a code of ethics, recovery language guidelines, and core principles and values for psychiatric rehabilitation, establishing these services as integral to community-based treatment.


    In 1996, a Registry of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioners was established as the predecessor to the Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) credential.  Until this time, there had been a rich tradition of mentoring and agency training in the field.  However, with an ever increasing number of self-identified practitioners, a more formal method of ensuring the quality and effectiveness of psychiatric rehabilitation practitioners was necessary.


    As the practice of psychiatric rehabilitation took hold in Canada, it was evident that a national entity was needed to work within Canada’s socialized funding environment.  In 2004, the International Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation (IAPSRS) officially changed its name to the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA) and the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Canada/Réadaptation Psychosociale Canada (PSR/RPS Canada) was born.


    Today, USPRA is the preeminent association for the development, support, and dissemination of information about the practice of psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery.  The diverse membership of USPRA includes agencies, practitioners, families and persons living with psychiatric disabilities, leaders in psychiatric rehabilitation education and research from major universities across the United States and the world, as well as state and federal government entities dedicated to improving outcomes in a cost-effective, evidenced-based and highly successful model. 


    For more than 30 years and with nearly 1,400 members, USPRA is the leading psychiatric rehabilitation organization in the United States.


    Past Presidents:

    Irv Rutman

    1975 - 1980

    Jerry Dincin

    1980 - 1982      

    Hank Tanaka

    1982 - 1984

    Vera Mellen

    1984 - 1986

    Michael Donham

    1986 - 1988

    Marshall Rubin

    1988 - 1990

    Carolyn Peterson

    1990 - 1992

    John Woods

    1992 - 1994

    Nancy Jo Melise

    1994 - 1996

    Scott Graham

    1996 - 1998

    Donald Naranjo

    1998 - 2000

    Mary Alice Brown

    2000 - 2002

    Anita Pernell- Arnold

    Eileen Joseph

    Phil Floyd

    Thomas Updike

    Peter Ashenden 

    2002 - 2004

    2004 - 2006

    2006 - 2008

    2008 - 2010
    2010 - 2012