Psychology Professor Ranks Among Top-Cited Scientists



By Tom Linder

More than two dozen members of Illinois Institute of Technology’s faculty, led by Distinguished Professor of Psychology Patrick Corrigan, have been included in Stanford University’s 2023 rankings of the top 2 percent of top-cited researchers, which are compiled to recognize the scientists across 22 fields.

A member of Illinois Tech’s faculty for nearly two decades, Corrigan’s research deals broadly with mental health access and social stigma surrounding mental illness. He has written more than 500 peer-reviewed articles (h=143), authored or edited 20 books, and has been the editor of two psychological journals.

“I found that we help a lot of people overcome their illness, get them ready to go back to work, live on their own, or go back to school, and employers or landlords or professors didn’t want them around,” says Corrigan. “That’s the issue: stigma. The problem with mental illness is not just the illness of the person, it’s the illness of society.”

Currently, Corrigan is most excited with his research focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion surrounding health care access. The ultimate goal is to help people in the Chicago area and beyond engage with the health care system so it better meets their needs through a technique called community-based participatory research.

“I’m a white guy in the suburbs, what do I know about poverty and going to the county hospital to have my respiratory health needs met?” Corrigan asks. “In our research, we put together Black people with serious mental illness as our research partners, co-scientists. They help us develop the questions and the methods and the answers. They’re our partners through the whole thing.”

Corrigan has also helped develop an anti-stigma program called Honest, Open, Proud that has taken hold around the globe. The program helps people with mental illness deal with the decision of coming out.

“In the last 40 or 50 years, brave men and women and nonbinary people came out and they told their story of sexual minority,” says Corrigan. “By no means have we gotten rid of the stigma, but that’s what’s really tearing down the discussion. We believe the same thing on the mental illness side. The degree to which people come out is the degree to which we’ll tear down the stigma of mental illness. Coming out is not a naïve thing. There’s a lot of risk to that. Honest, Open, Proud is a program to help people decide whether they want to come out and how to do it.”

Corrigan credits a cooperative approach toward doing research, as well as simply writing about the subjects he feels are most important, to receiving the recognition from Stanford.

His work has been cited nearly 95,000 times, according to Google Scholar.

“Research is becoming more of a team approach,” says Corrigan. “The idea of Albert Einstein off in his office by himself working out these formulas doesn’t occur so much. You need to work with a broader group of people.

“My mentor said he would keep writing as long as he had something to say. I still get excited about ideas and putting them down on paper.”