The Arthur R. Kravitz Award for Community Action and Humanitarian Contributions was established in 2008, for our 75th anniversary, to recognize Members of BPSI who have provided noteworthy psychoanalytically-informed service to our broader community.

The award is named to honor the memory of Arthur R. Kravitz, MD, a former President of BPSI whose outstanding public service gave us a model for the contributions that we wish to recognize and celebrate.


Dr. Kravitz (1928 – 2005), a graduate of Harvard College and of Harvard Medical School, trained at the Massachusetts General Hospital  (internal medicine), The Boston Psychopathic Hospital (now the Massachusetts Mental Health Center) and the Beth Israel Hospital, now the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (psychiatry). He graduated from BPSI in 1964. Always a physician and a teacher, he served also as Chair of the BPSI Board of Trustees from 1973-1975 and as President from 1974-1976. His special interest was in increasing the breadth of connections for BPSI.

Dr. Kravitz became a major advisor to the leaders of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and served as a member of the Board of Overseers of The Boston Symphony Orchestra.  His interest in the Boston Symphony Orchestra and in music (second only to his love of the Boston Red Sox) led to his significant work with Project Step, which aimed at facilitating access to training in classical music for children of color.  In what was perhaps his most important venture, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Dimock Community Health Center (whose illustrious history goes back to the 1860s), and Chair of their Community Service Board.

The universal respect, admiration, and, above all, trust, that Dr. Kravitz inspired, continues to be a model for BPSI.  It is this tradition of personal integrity and public service that we honor with the Arthur R. Kravitz Award.


The Kravitz Award winner is announced and honored at an annual BPSI function.  A contribution of $1000 is also made, in honor of the recipient, to an organization or charity of his/her choice.

Arthur M. Kravitz Awardees


Ayelet R. Barkai, MD and Ruth E. Drasin, PhD, received the 2021 Kravitz award, for their work co-directing the Boston chapter of the national organization A Home Within. The Kravitz committee recognizes the extraordinary commitment of Ruth Drasin and Ayelet Barkai, to use their psychoanalytically informed expertise to address a grievous form of social injustice in the foster care system through their important work at A Home Within.

The mission of a Home Within is captured in the organization’s motto, “One Child, One Therapist, For as Long as It Takes”.In order to address the trauma and disruption inherent in the foster care system, the organization pairs a foster child (or adult who had been in the foster care system) with a volunteer experienced therapist, who makes a long-term commitment to the client.  When it goes well, A Home Within provides these children with a much-needed space for reflection, and a stable, uninterrupted long-term attachment relationship with a therapist free of charge, something that treatment at public mental health facilities, with the frequent turnover of therapists, cannot provide.  

Dr. Drasin founded the Boston chapter in 2010. Dr. Barkai joined her as co-director in 2016. The task of leading a chapter of A Home Within is complex and requires a long-term commitment to recruiting and supporting the family of clinicians who volunteer their time.  As co-directors, they have established a professional home for these clinicians.

Click here to watch Drs. Ayelet Barkai and Ruth Drasin, talk about their work co-directing the Boston chapter of the national organization A Home Within in an interview with Dr. Patricia Potter, recorded in the BPSI Library on Oct 1, 2021.


Paola Michelle Contreras, PsyD, has been awarded the 12th Annual Arthur Kravitz Award for her significant work in using psychoanalytic ideas to understand human trafficking through research, to treat its victims, and to teach those caregivers who provide clinical service.  She is the first candidate in psychoanalytic training to receive this award.  Dr. Contreras has consulted to law enforcement and legal professionals providing education and training, and to national and international anti-trafficking organizations, providing advocacy for legislation sensitive for survivors of human trafficking.  She has developed programs for survivors and supervision and training for providers, using psychoanalytic principles.  Dr. Contreras has also co-produced a short documentary on human trafficking, and has a grant from the International Psychoanalytic Association to study unconscious forces,  such as attachment patterns, that may contribute to exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution, and has several publications on these topics. Dr. Contreras is an Assistant Professor at William James College in Newton, and in addition to her teaching and advocacy, she has a private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Click here to read the full announcement of the Kravitz Award in the BPSI Bulletin. Click here to watch Dr. Contreras’s recent interview to Jane Keat, PsyD, recorded in the BPSI library on October 11, 2019.


Anna Ornstein, MD, received the 2018 Kravitz Award winner in recognition of a lifetime of dedication to teaching about the Holocaust. As a leader of American psychoanalysis, Dr. Ornstein has woven together the roles of scholar, clinician, teacher, and voice of conscience. There is perhaps no one who more fully fits the description of humanitarian psychoanalyst and activist than Dr. Ornstein.

Dr. Ornstein has been recognized nationally and internationally for her teachings on empathic listening, understanding the impact of trauma, and parenting and child development. She has written extensively about crucial aspects of theory and clinical practice: self-psychology, the interpretive process in psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, child psychopathology, the treatment of children and families, and the process of recovery after surviving extreme conditions.

In addition to her psychoanalytic scholarship, teaching, and mentoring, Dr. Ornstein has had an ongoing presence in the wider community, locally and internationally, lecturing widely and teaching tolerance to students and teachers in schools.  She has worked with organizations such as Facing History and Ourselves and the Terezin Music Foundation, lecturing and conducting workshops in public schools, mentoring academic research on the subject of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, and on the role of art in transforming the memory of catastrophic historical events.

Her memoir, My Mother’s Eyes, is a tribute to the memory of her family.  Born in Hungary, she is a survivor of Auschwitz. She was married to the psychoanalyst Paul Ornstein for over 70 years, until his death in 2017, and collaborated with him in psychoanalytic scholarship. She is Professor Emerita of Child Psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati, a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute, a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Harvard University, and a Supervising Analyst at BPSI.

Click here to watch Dr. Ornstein’s recent interview to Steven Varga-Golovcsenko recorded in Brookline, MA on August 21, 2019 and here to read the full announcement of the Kravitz Award in the BPSI Bulletin.


Karen Melikian, PhD, has been dedicated to psychoanalysis and its application in the wider community for many years. This has included working with Physicians for Human Rights in interviewing refugees seeking asylum in the Boston area, the deportation center for women and children in Dilly, Texas, and the past Massachusetts Department of Social Services and providing clinical treatment to children in long term care through the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. She is currently a supervisor for The McLean/Franciscan children’s services programs.


Gil Noam, PhD (Habi.), EdD, is a nationally recognized developmental psychologist, and the founder and director of the PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education & Resilience, a joint initiative at Harvard University and McLean Hospital. His career exemplifies how a scholar and clinician can innovate, integrate, and apply multidisciplinary knowledge in community settings to benefit and support our children.


Deborah Choate, MD, is a psychiatric/psychoanalytic consultant with the homeless and disadvantaged community. She is currently volunteering at organizations that help women who are homeless or living in poverty to obtain housing, education, and economic independence. In addition, she is being recognized for her outstanding leadership as Chair of the Social Awareness Committee at BPSI.


Michael Grodin, MD, is a nationally recognized expert in medical ethics and human rights.  He is the Director of the Project on Medicine and the Holocaust at the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies at Boston University.  He is also Professor of Bioethics and Human Rights at the Boston University School of Public Health, and Professor of Family Medicine and Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine. Click here to watch Dr. Grodin’s interview to Jim Frosch recorded on September 25, 2020.


Alexandra Harrison, MD, for her unrelenting generosity of time and expertise to train caregivers in orphanages internationally, to develop models of treatment for children with special needs and infants. Click here to watch Dr. Harrison’s interview to Ellen Golding, PhD, recorded on December 20, 2019.


Judith A. Yanof, MD, for her generous and creative efforts to provide psychoanlytically informed programs for early childhood education workers, for consultative work for disadvantaged children and families, for her work in psychoanalysis and film, and many other contributions. Click here to watch Dr. Yanof’s interview to Dan Jacobs, MD, recorded on March 22, 2019.


Judith Arons, LICSW, Sarah Birss MD, and Ann Epstein, MD, for their creative and committed work applying psychoanalytic and developmental principles in training therapists to do psychotherapy with parents and infants at the Infant Parent Training Institute at JF&CS of Greater Boston. Click here to watch Drs. Sarah Birss’s and Ann Epstein’s conversation, recorded on January 31, 2020.


Gerald Adler, MD,  for his creative and energetic contribution in founding the Boston Psychoanalytic Alliance, which provided BPSI with its first structure to develop community and cultural outreach programs, involving the active participation of BPSI members.  He also co-founded, as a part of the Alliance, the Committee on Gay and Lesbian Issues, now called the Committee on Gender and Sexualities.


Roberta Apfel, MD, and Bennett Simon, MD, for their their influential and committed work with the mental health of children of war, Physicians for Human Rights, and many other local and international initiatives. Click here to watch their interview to Ann Katz about their work with children, recorded in the BPSI library on May 9, 2018.


Maurice Vanderpol, MD,  for his progressive and important contributions over many years in consultations to various school systems, and with Facing History and Ourselves and other charitable organizations.  The school consultation work, which began with the Needham Schools and then spread, was firmly based in psychoanalytic concepts and the idea of a therapeutic milieu.