Former NUHW steward who helped lead Kaiser fight wins prestigious psychology award

April 26th, 2019

A former NUHW steward and leader in the fight to improve mental health care at Kaiser Permanente has received a major award from the California Psychological Association (CPA).

Dr. Andris Skuja received the Sallie Hildebrandt Award for Distinguished Service to the Psychology Profession at the organization’s annual convention this month in Long Beach.

“In his long career at Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Skuja was a relentless advocate for better patient care, higher professional standards, support for mental health clinicians and expanding the scope of practice for psychologists,” the CPA said in a statement announcing the award.

The organization further noted that Dr. Skuja “has been a strong and successful patient care advocate in keeping Kaiser accountable for maintaining greater access to mental health services.”

As an NUHW steward, Dr. Skuja served as a leader in representing Kaiser’s frontline clinicians and advocating for patients. He spoke at rallies and his photo was emblazoned on BART ads in 2015. He left Kaiser in 2016 and is now in private practice in Oakland.

“Whenever clinicians stand up for improved patient care and advocate for high ethical work standards they help not just their patients and themselves but are helping their work organization do a better job in fulfilling its mission,” Dr. Skuja said. “It’s always deeply satisfying to see mental health clinicians lead the fight for better access to care and true mental health parity.”