James ProchaskaLongtime Mill Valley resident Dr. James O. Prochaska, a pioneer in the field of psychology who revolutionized the science of behavior change, died on July 9, 2023, at the age of 80.

Born in Detroit, Michigan on August 6, 1942, to a working-class family, Prochaska was valedictorian and football team captain at Fordson High School, Phi Beta Kappa at Wayne State University, and the Michigan National Football Foundation’s 1963 college Scholar Athlete of the Year.

A professor for more than 50 years at the University of Rhode Island, Director of the Cancer Prevention Research Center, and founder of ProChange Behavior Solutions, Dr. Prochaska dedicated his life to exploring the challenges of behavior change. His most notable achievement was the formulation of the Transtheoretical Model, also known as the Stages of Change Model. Prochaska’s groundbreaking research demonstrated that change is best achieved through a sustained and intentional process, rather than a discrete event.

His work transformed the way professionals approach addiction treatment, smoking cessation, weight management, and many other areas of behavior change. He published more than 400 scientific research articles with over 250 different co-authors, authored four books, and delivered engaging lectures worldwide. His work has been cited over 130,000 times making him one of the Top Five Most Cited Authors in Psychology, according to the American Psychology Society. During his distinguished career, Dr. Prochaska received widespread recognition and numerous awards.

Prochaska was named one of the top three preeminent clinical psychologists of the modern era by the Archives of Scientific Psychology, he received an Innovator’s Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and he was the first psychologist to win a Medal of Honor for Clinical Research from the American Cancer Society. With unwavering commitment to his field, Dr. Prochaska was a mentor to countless aspiring psychologists, nurturing their passion for understanding behavior change and instilling in them the importance of empathy and compassion. Prochaska was a loyal friend to many and known for his wisdom and gentle nature, infectious smile, and genuine concern for others. Dedicated to his family, Dr. Prochaska was a loving husband of 56 years to Janice; cherished father to J. Xavier and Judith and father-in-law to Gabrielle and Mark Martini; and proud grandfather of Xavier, Bailey, Zakary, Walker, and Andrew. He is survived by his sister Lois Fuse and brother-in-laws Tom, Gary, and Michael Michalek.

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Dr. Prochaska will be held on September 30, 2023, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin (UUMarin) in San Rafael, California. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made to the Star Island Corporation or the Capital Campaign of UUMarin.

Prochaska’s teachings and contributions will live on, empowering countless individuals to embark on their own journeys of personal growth and positive change. May his legacy continue to guide us toward a better understanding of ourselves and our capacity for change.