ORI Mourns Passing of Tom Dishion, Ph.D.

Categories: ORI in the news


Type: News

Date Published: 06/07/2018

Tom Dishion, a luminary in prevention science, passed away unexpectedly June 1st. He had been battling health issues for the past year but was recently improving. He suffered a brain hemorrhage after a fall in his home.

ORI Science Director, Carol W. Metzler, Ph.D., said: “Tom was a highly respected and hugely influential scientist in the fields of child development, prevention science, family process, and peer relations, and his loss is a tremendous blow to these fields. In addition, he was a brilliant and caring person, a generous mentor, and his work directly improved the lives of countless children and families. Tom was a highly valued colleague and friend to all of us here at ORI, and we will miss him terribly. Tom had just been notified on May 20 that he had been selected to receive the APA Division 7 2019 Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for his 'distinguished contributions to developmental science'. He would have received the award in August, and Tom told me that he was 'deeply honored and humbled' to be receiving this award."

Friend & colleague Diana Fishbein, Ph.D., of Penn State and Director of the National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives, said: “This is a devastating loss to all those who knew him, as well as to the field. He was committed to the betterment of children and families, having led the development of Family Check-Up and translating it from trials research to real-world settings. His work was seminal; he had a significant presence across several disciplines and in different practical and translational arenas. He stimulated new thinking and made a difference in individual lives. As a good friend, I can attest that he was also an outstanding human being, good to his core, kind and gentle, always more concerned about others than himself. He will be sorely missed.”

In early 2018, Arizona State University awarded Tom the status of Regents Professor, the highest faculty honor at ASU, conferred on ASU faculty “who have made pioneering contributions in their areas of expertise, achieved a sustained level of distinction, and enjoy national and international recognition for these accomplishments.” (Tom had a joint appointment at ASU and ORI.)  ASU highlighted that Dishion's “contributions in prevention science restructured what is known about child development, and changed how clinical psychology is conducted across the world.” For this honor, they created this short video for Arizona PBS, which summarizes his research, his contributions, and his perspective: https://www.pbs.org/video/thomas-dishion-ahmput/

Tom Dishion is survived by his wife Thao, 3 children and 6 grandchildren. His family has requested donations in his name be made to the National Stroke Association, in lieu of flowers.

A Celebration of Tom's life is planned for June 23, 2018. The first part will be held at ORI and the second part will be at Tom's home in Dorena. PLEASE RSVP BY JUNE 18.

• Part I: 1.00-3.00 pm at ORI (1776 Millrace Drive, Eugene, OR 97403). Bring your thoughts, stories, pictures, and memories to share at the event. If you would like to speak or show a video, a signup option will be provided that day.  Please RSVP here and this will also provide more specific information:
http://evite.me/k33Q7xK5q7

• Part II: 4.00-9.00 pm in Dorena (36805 Shoreview Dr. Dorena, OR 97434). We will share our most precious memories of Tom while enjoying music, food, and later in the evening a bonfire with smores. This is an outdoor event and children are welcome. Please RSVP here and this will also provide more specific information: http://evite.me/R9N3TAx65V

• Bus service between ORI and Dorena:
3.15 pm, pick up at ORI
7.00 pm, early departure back to ORI
9.00 pm, late departure to ORI
There are 50 seats on the bus, please reserve your seat now (no need to reserve the return time): http://evite.me/DKW88S5Mr2

• By Car:
It is possible to use your own car and there will be plenty parking space on the property. There will be an orange cone outside the gate to indicate the entrance.