Florence Shu-Acquaye, J.D., LL.M

Ralph Eugene Cash, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology
Center for Psychological Studies

Giving Children Help and Hope

It is a life focused on promoting the wellness of children – shaped profoundly by his own childhood. For Ralph Eugene “Gene” Cash, Ph.D. associate professor of psychology at Nova Southeastern University, pursuing a career in child psychology and advocacy is not unlike reaching out to help his own family.

“The real reason I’m doing this work is that half the people in my family had psychological problems, and I wanted to find out why,” said Cash. Cash is one of four brothers who grew up in an impoverished family outside Knoxville, Tennessee.

Two of his siblings committed suicide. The other is an alcoholic. “I believe it was genetic, and I was lucky,” he said. “Though I didn’t know it when I went into this field, I think my early family life was my driving motivation.”

Cash earned a doctorate in school psychology from New York University then relocated to Florida in1976. His work as a school psychologist in Broward County Public Schools led to a private practice focused on family and child psychology, with suicide prevention among his passions.

Since then, he’s compiled an impressive resume: director of NSU’s school psychology clinic, past president of the Florida Association of School Psychologists, and recent recipient of the latter group’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Cash also is completing a term as president of the renowned National Association of School Psychologists.

“Gene is very dedicated to promoting mental health services for children,” said Scott Poland, Ed.D., Cash’s colleague at NSU. “And he’s really beloved by his students. Every spring, he takes a number of psychology graduate students to Tallahassee to advocate for children’s services and to teach them the importance of advocacy.”

Cash says it’s his students who make NSU most special for him “I really love the interaction with them and to see students grow and develop,” he explained. “I love seeing them get passionate about the field.”