Mary Alice Fisher, Ph.D, has received the Curry School of Education Foundation’s first-ever Outstanding Alumni Human Services Practitioner Award. The award is presented to a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education with an extraordinary commitment to client welfare, extensive professional stature, recognized excellence and dedicated service.
Fisher has been a clinical psychologist in private practice in Charlottesville since 1985. In 2003 she founded the Center for Ethical Practice, an educational organization that fosters ethical practices by mental health professionals.
Fisher has written extensively on ethics topics, beginning with Ethical Issues in Clinical Practice Under Virginia Law in 1991. She has specialized in the topic of clinical confidentiality and in 1998 wrote, Can You Keep a Secret? Patient Confidentiality and Its Limits in Virginia. In 2008, her lead article for American Psychologist introduced an Ethical Practice Model for ensuring the protection of patients' confidentiality rights. Oxford University Press published The Ethics of Conditional Confidentiality in 2013, and her second book on the topic is currently in press with the American Psychological Association Press.
“The Curry School mints a good number of practitioners every year, but few turn out to have the impact of Mary Alice Fisher,” said Thomas J DeMaio (Ph.D. ‘83), a fellow Charlottesville clinical psychologist. “In addition to providing top quality private clinical services to a struggling clientele for 30 years, she has become the Johnny Appleseed of ethics locally, in Virginia, and at the national level.”
In addition to her writing, Fisher has conducted over 200 training workshops for practicing psychologists in Virginia and across the country. She is a guest lecturer for the Curry School’s clinical psychology program as well as for the Mental Health and the Law course at the University of Virginia School of Law.
“By means of her teaching of graduate students of the University of Virginia, her continuing education events throughout the Commonwealth, her consultation with individual mental health practitioners, and her prolific writing on ethical practice, Dr. Fisher has had a greater impact on the ethical practice of mental health practitioners in Virginia than any other psychologist,” said Norma Murdoch-Kitt, president of the Richmond Academy of Clinical Psychologists and a past president of the Virginia Psychological Association.
Fisher holds two degrees from the University of Virginia, a Master of Arts degree in school psychology in 1978 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in clinical psychology in 1982. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Madison College (now James Madison University) in 1959.
Fisher will receive her award September 10 at a Curry School of Education dinner.