January 23, 2013

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU’s Jackson Rainer Wins National Health Information Award

VALDOSTA — Dr. Jackson Patten Rainer recently won a bronze medal in the 2012 National Health Information Awards for his article “Neutralizing Stigma,” which was published in the July/August 2011 issue of the bi-monthly Arthritis Self-Management magazine. The announcement came five months after the 57-year-old Tifton native joined the Valdosta State University faculty as a professor of psychology and head of the Department of Psychology and Counseling.

“My goal was to write a practical self-help article for people living with arthritis,” he said. “Arthritis is often a hidden disease and one that is easily misunderstood. Many people think that it is easily managed, ‘just a part of getting older,’ and a physical nuisance. Different forms of arthritis can seriously compromise a person’s quality of life. People living with the demands of arthritis often need help from others to manage through the day and certainly are worthy of having the limits of their bodies understood and respected.”

Rainer, who prefers to be called Jack, earned a Bachelor of Music from Florida State University in 1976. He then worked as a mental health clinical associate for roughly 18 months at Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. In the summer of 1978, he joined the staff at Georgia Mental Health Institute in Atlanta where, over the course of nine and a half years, he served in a variety of roles, including as an administrator, a program advisor, and a music therapist, while continuing his pursuit of knowledge at Georgia State University and other professional endeavors.

A self-described armchair theater critic, Rainer completed a Master of Education in community counseling at Georgia State University in 1980. He graduated again six years later with a Doctor of Philosophy in counseling psychology, spending the final few months of his studies serving the university’s Counseling Center as a counseling fellow. He then went on to work as a psychologist for the DeKalb County Board of Education, followed by self-employment in an independent practice and serving as an adjunct professor at Georgia State University.

Rainer left Atlanta in August 1997 and moved to Boiling Springs, N.C., entering the world of academia as an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Gardner-Webb University. He also maintained a part-time association with a group practice offering a full range of psychological services in a rural community. Five years later, he moved to South Georgia, where he worked as a psychologist at the Valdosta-based Midtown Psychological Associates.

In the summer of 2007, Rainer returned to Gardner-Webb University as a professor of psychology and dean of the Graduate School. He also began offering his services as a consulting psychologist. Two years later, he was named the director of clinical training and professor of psychology at Georgia Southern University. He remained in Statesboro until he joined the VSU family in August 2012.

“Professionally, the move to VSU offers me the collegiality I seek as an academician and clinician,” said the board certified clinical psychologist, licensed health service provider psychologist, and licensed applied psychologist. “Personally, the move is a good one for me and my family and is a congruent fit for this time in my life.”

During the fall semester, Rainer taught PSYC 7400: Theories of Counseling and Psychology. This semester, he is also teaching PSYC 8400, a special topics class for school psychology graduate students.

“My first semester at VSU has been an interesting one,” he added. “The psychology department is lively and active. It is a large major. Stepping into the new role as department head has required a quick learning curve, definitive decision making, and reception of a great deal of help from my faculty peers and the university administration. People at the university have been remarkably good spirited and helpful in assisting me to get the ‘lay of the land’ and to advocate for students and faculty in the various university structures. I’m happy to be here and look forward to continuing to settle into a more consistent rhythm.”

In the past year, Rainer has co-authored two resource and reference works, Rural Mental Health: Issues, Policies, and Best Practices and Isolated and Alone: Therapeutic Interventions for Loneliness. His next book, Life and Loss: Counseling and Therapy for Grief and Bereavement,” will be published in the spring. He is a regular contributor to various professional journals and an experienced presenter.

“I am writing more and find that it is quite enjoyable,” he said. “One of the more pleasant aspects of getting older is having the ability to step into the bully pulpit and speak my peace. The books, chapters, and articles have been well received, as evidenced by the award for the stigma article. They are ways to teach larger numbers of people who may find help in something I’ve written, and that is important to me.”

Rainer’s chosen areas of research include grief and bereavement, end-of-life care, quality of life enhancement, rural mental health, and psychotherapy processes. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, Kappa Kappa Psi, Journal of Healthcare Leadership Editorial Board, Georgia Psychological Association, Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy Editorial Board, Psi Chi Honor Society, Southeastern Psychological Association, Psychology Research and Behavior Management Editorial Board, Healthcare Financial Management Association, and more.  

In his spare time, Rainer enjoys reading fiction and spending time with his wife of 34 years, Karen.

Contact Dr. Jackson Rainer at (229) 333-5986 or jprainer@valdosta.edu for more information. His office is located in the Psychology Building, Room 2104.

On the Web


The award-winning article can be read in its entirety by visiting http://www.arthritisselfmanagement.com/health/daily-living/neutralizing-stigma/?page=all.

Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities.

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals:

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Goal 5: Develop and enhance Valdosta State’s human and physical resources.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.