Beth N. Rom-Rymer, Ph.D. has been a pioneer throughout her life. She was in the first class of women at Princeton University, graduating in 1973. Dr. Rom-Rymer created the Victim-Witness Assistance Unit in the State Attorney's Office, Tallahassee, Florida, in 1977, which continues, today, as a robust service for crime victims and witnesses throughout the 2nd judicial circuit. During her tenure in the State Attorney’s Office, she worked on the Ted Bundy serial murder case, 1978-1979. During that time, Dr. Rom-Rymer co-founded and was the first Board president of Refuge House, a shelter for surviving families of domestic abuse in Tallahassee, Florida. Refuge House will celebrate its 44th anniversary in 2022. Dr. Rom-Rymer was a keynote speaker at the Refuge House 40th anniversary celebration, in 2018.
Dr. Rom-Rymer is one of the psychologists who created the field of forensic geriatrics in 2000, testifying, nationally, in cases concerning the sexual abuse of older adults in nursing homes and writing book chapters about the role of the forensic psychologist in geriatric settings. Foreseeing the critical need for comprehensive mental health prescribers, Dr. Rom-Rymer undertook training in Clinical Psychopharmacology during the 1990's and became a national leader in the advocacy for psychologists' prescriptive authority, when she was elected the fourth president of the fledgling APA Division 55 (Pharmacotherapy) in 2004. As President of the Illinois Psychological Association from 2011-2012 and from 2013-2014, Dr. Rom-Rymer led the Prescriptive Authority Movement toward successful passage of its legislation in May 2014, earning the Governor's signature in June of 2014.
Dr. Rom-Rymer has held many administrative positions in psychiatric hospitals throughout the Chicago metropolitan region. She has also lectured extensively in the Departments of Psychiatry, at the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, and Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, and in the Departments of Psychology, at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. She was a member of the first APA delegation (2012) to visit the health clinics, Universities, and community mental health centers, in Havana, Cuba. Dr. Rom-Rymer has a clinical practice in Chicago and a national forensic consulting practice. She has given numerous lectures on clinical and forensic issues (sexual trauma, PTSD, domestic violence, child abuse, child custody litigation, substance abuse and trauma, sexual harassment in the workplace, the role of the forensic psychologist in the courtroom) throughout the United States and Canada.
Dr. Rom-Rymer is acknowledged to be a force for social change in her community in Illinois. She is on the Board of Directors of Thresholds, the largest and oldest social service organization in Illinois, serving the seriously mentally ill. Dr. Rom-Rymer has also partnered with NAMI in working to provide comprehensive mental health services to the NAMI community.
Dr. Rom-Rymer served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Alliant International University from 2009-2014 and was Vice President of the Board from 2012-2014. From 2008-2014, Dr. Rom-Rymer was a significant donor to the APA Division 18/Alliant International University Scholarship Fund for Native psychologists, studying to become prescribing psychologists at Alliant University. After holding conversations, in 2010, with Dr. Rose Weahkee, a member of the Navajo Nation, who served as Director of Behavioral Health at the Indian Health Service (IHS), about the dire need for more comprehensive mental health care on tribal lands, the IHS gave authority to prescribing psychologists to prescribe medications on some tribal lands.
For over two decades, Dr. Rom-Rymer has been an active scholarship donor for graduate students and established psychologists, in partnership with Alliant International University, the American Psychological Foundation (APF), and the American Indian and Alaska Native Society of Indian Psychologists (SIP). Dr. Rom-Rymer has received several awards for her work, including: "Distinguished Illinois Psychologist" from the Illinois Psychological Association (2012, 2014), "Outstanding Service to the Community" from the Princeton University Club of Chicago (2013); "Outstanding Psychologist of the Year" from the APA's Division 31 (2014); APA Presidential Citation for Outstanding Leadership (2015); APA Karl Heiser award for Legislative Advocacy (2015); Alfred M. Wellner, Ph.D. Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Register of Health Service Psychologists (2016); Outstanding Psychologist Award from the Illinois Psychological Association (2016 and 2017); Social Impact Leaders Award from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (2018); "Outstanding Leadership" Award from AMITA Health (Ascension) Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital CEO, Clayton Ciha (2019); Inspirational Leader Award from the South African Psychological Society (2021); and “Honored Valued Ally” from the Society of Indian Psychologists (2022).
Most recently, Dr. Rom-Rymer was in the Chair Trio of the APA Council Leadership Team (2018-2020), a past member of the APA Board of Directors (2018-2019), and a candidate for APA President (2023). Dr. Rom-Rymer is currently Chair and President of the Board of Directors of the National Register of Health Service Psychologists (2021-2022); Founder, President, and CEO of the Illinois Association of Prescribing Psychologists (IAPP); and co-founder and co-chair of IMPAP, the International Movement for Prescriptive Authority. In her position with IAPP, Dr. Rom-Rymer is continuing to implement the Prescriptive Authority legislation in Illinois; consulting with State Psychological Associations, nationwide, on legislative advocacy campaigns for Prescriptive Authority; and completing a book, to be published by APA Press in 2023, on the impact of the Prescribing Psychologist Movement on the national healthcare crisis, "The Revolution in Healthcare: How Prescribing Psychologists are Changing the Healthcare Delivery System."