Diane Janice Willis

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Diane Janice Willis
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CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Child psychology
Alma mater
  • Northeastern State College
  • George Peabody College
  • Oklahoma State University

Dr. Diane Janice Willis changed and expanded pediatric psychology, incorporating a multidisciplinary approach that resulted in several adaptations of her techniques to bring cognitive development education to all. Dr. Willis’s work centers child advocacy and working to decrease disparities in both low income and first nation families.

Early Life and Education

Diane Janice Willis was born in 1937, raised in Oklahoma, identifies as a Kiowa nation (Native American) woman, and earned her doctorate in research and also clinical psychology . Willis was born the eldest of seven children, and struggled to channel a lot of excess energy, she notes as ADHD, which was not known well enough to diagnose yet when she was a child. Dr. Willis educational path was multidisciplinary, first getting a baccalaureate in sciences degree in biology from Northeastern State College in Tahlequah, OK in 1960. Then Dr. Wiliis earned a master’s degree in psychology with a minor in special education from George Peabody College in Nashville, TN in 1964, followed by a ph.D with a focus on child psychology from Oklahoma State University in 1970 (Willis, 2015).


Achievement: Dr. Willis’s achievement spans psychological publications to the instalment of child advocacy laws, she testified to Congress for this reason. She published many articles as recently as 2014, urging psychologists to act and advocate for the clients and regions where they practice (Willis, DeLeon, Haldane et al., 2014). She worked on head start programs and making child development learning programs more accessible, especially to poor rural families (Willis, 2015; Beals-Erickson, 2012).


Indian Woman of the Year from the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women (Beals-Erickson, 2012).


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