In 1998, supported by funding from LivingWorks, the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) established an annual award in memory of LivingWorks co-founder Roger Tierney, who passed away a year earlier. Each year at the annual AAS conference, the Roger J. Tierney Service Award is presented to an individual with a record of outstanding service and support to the suicidology community. 2017’s recipient was Dr. Morton M. Silverman, Senior Science Advisor at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and a distinguished voice in the suicidology field. We joined Dr. Silverman for an interview at the conference.
“I met Roger for the first time at the Banff conference,” said Dr. Silverman, referring to the 1991 United Nations suicide prevention meeting organized by LivingWorks co-founders Richard Ramsay and Bryan Tanney. “I would see Roger every year after that at the AAS conferences. My sense of him was that he was someone who provided steady support in the background—not upfront or by being the spokesperson, but by being reliable, creative, smart, and thoughtful—a very solid influence and an important contributor to what LivingWorks was doing.”
“Every year that we’d be at the meetings, we’d see each other, and we’d talk. I remember the last time I saw him here, and I still think about him often. He was an important contributor to this field. You knew that what he had to say was important. He was supporting and encouraging everyone else to do what they were doing.”
“When I was called to be informed that I was receiving the Roger Tierney award, I was stunned and humbled at the same time. I never thought I’d be honored with something that said ‘Roger Tierney’ on it. I’m grateful to LivingWorks for creating this award, and for AAS in honoring Roger’s legacy. To look at the list of people who’ve received it in the past, it really is a pantheon of suicidologists who’ve contributed so much to this field.”
“I also am eternally grateful to LivingWorks for sponsoring the Morton M. Silverman Student Award,” Dr. Silverman said, referring to the annual award presented in his name to a leading student in the suicidology field. “The award recognizes the importance of mentoring and supporting students, and fostering a new generation of suicidologists. LivingWorks was instrumental in creating this award and establishing it as an annual award at AAS conferences. The award has become well-known, and has become a prize that graduate school programs across the country are encouraging their students to apply for. LivingWorks has done a great deal for the field, and to have my name associated with it—I’m very grateful for that.”
We congratulate Dr. Silverman on the award and express our heartfelt thanks for his many contributions to saving lives from suicide.