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Here we highlight the extraordinary work of our members, both those recognized by SCRA and those who have won awards from the APA.
Gary Harper is a professor of health behavior and health education in the school of public health at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor whose work has made broad-ranging contributions to community psychology theory, research, and intervention. Dr. Harper is a leading scholar on LGBT issues and HIV interventions and his work has been crucial in both bringing community psychology’s attention to LGBT issues and in elevating the impact and relevance of our field to the study of sexual orientation. Over the course of his more than 20 years career he has contributed numerous seminal and highly-cited scholarly works; edited special issues in AJCP and TCP on issues of relevance to LGBT theory, research, and intervention; coordinated early Biennial and International Community Psychology Conference sessions on LGBT issues; developed, implemented, and evaluated community-based HIV interventions; and taught and mentored a generation of students in these areas.
Judith Meyers is the president and chief executive officer of the Children’s Fund of Connecticut, a public charitable foundation, and its subsidiary, the Child Health and Development Institute. Dr. Meyers has devoted her career to practicing as a community psychologist at the highest-level in foundations, government, and nonprofits, advocating for, and directing initiatives and programs that make meaningful change in the lives children. Using her knowledge of community psychology research and practice, her work focuses on intervening at the policy, systems, and practice levels in order to promote optimal child health and development, with a particular focus on mental health. Her leadership in the foundation world has made explicit links between community psychology and foundation work. Following her APA Fellowship on Capitol Hill, Dr. Meyers has held several policy-focused practitioner positions, in Iowa, Michigan, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Zachary Neal is an associate professor at Michigan State University with a very distinguished record of contributions to community psychology in the area of social network analysis and how it can be applied to enhance theory, research, and practice in community psychology. His scholarship is concerned with the transfer of knowledge from research to practice, and with issues of diversity, sense of community and social cohesion. Dr. Neal is the author of 49 publications, 11 book chapters and three books, the Editor of the Journal of Urban Affairs, produced four STATA software packages, and his research has been funded by NIMH and the W. T. Grant Foundation. Dr. Neal is also very involved with education in community psychology and is an active member of SCRA’s Council on Education.
Jessica Shaw is an assistant professor at the Boston College School of Social Work whose dissertation examined the criminal justice system response to sexual assault cases, largely involving low-income Black women. Her work addressed an important community issue in a theoretically grounded and methodologically sophisticated way by applying Social Dominance Theory as a guiding framework to understand systems of oppression and the mechanisms by which individuals and institutions maintain existing social structure. Dr. Shaw developed a typology of justifications used by police investigating sexual assault cases and applied this typology to 248 case files that were classified as unprocessed. The analysis demonstrated that investigator’s attribution of blame predicted how far a case prosecution proceeded, and demographic variables (e.g., victim age, race, number of perpetrators) were strongly associated with the extent of investigation.
Dissertation Title: Justifying injustice: How the criminal justice system explains its response to sexual assault. Dissertation Chair: Dr. Rebecca Campbell, Michigan State University
Simon Coulombe is an assistant professor in psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. Dr. Coulombe’s dissertation is part of a larger research project using mixed methods to reach a significant population experiencing mental health challenges. The study included participants with lived experience of mental disorders, as well as an advisory committee of policymakers, researchers and health professionals. Dr. Coulombe’s dissertation focused on the development and initial validation of self-management questionnaire for persons with anxiety and mood disorders to explore recovery profiles (e.g., floundering, struggling, flourishing), empowering actions, and the role of socio-demographic factors in predicting different profiles. His work found that the odds of flourishing differ with selected demographic variables underlying “social inequalities that need to be addressed by systemic actions at the community or policy levels.”
Dissertation Title: Self-management questionnaire and profiles of recovery from anxiety and mood disorders.
Dissertation Chair: Dr. Janie Houle, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
Nellie Tran, is an Assistant Professor in the Community-Based Block Multicultural Community Counseling master’s program at San Diego State University who has dedicated her career to ethnic minority issues as a scholar, community psychologist, mentor, and activist. As a faculty member in the master’s programs at San Diego State University and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Dr. Tran provided extensive mentoring and research opportunities for students on topics of race, identity, and discrimination. Dr. Tran has been an advocate and champion to increase the representation of ethnic minority persons within SCRA and at the institutions where she has taught. Through her passionate commitment to resisting racial injustice, she has dedicated efforts to the professional development of ethnic minority students, encouraging them to engage with community psychology and consistently making sure that the voices of communities of color are represented and respected in her teaching and scholarship.
Clinton Anderson holds a Ph.D. in community psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and currently serves as the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Associate Executive Director for the Public Interest and Director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns. For 29 years, Dr. Anderson has been community psychology’s leading champion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues within APA. Dr. Anderson has facilitated key transformations to APA’s policies and practices regarding LGBT people, ensuring that APA actively pursues social justice for LGBT people within both the profession of psychology and in society at large. Through his work in the development and adoption of position and policy statements, collaboration on amicus briefs, lobbying, and nurturing and coaching Task Forces through the intensive and considered research, deliberations on scientific evidence, ethics, and values, and careful crafting of guidance, Dr. Anderson’s efforts advanced LGBT civil rights, and influenced major state and federal policy decisions including ending the ban on military service and improving therapy related to sexual orientation and gender identity for military service members and others. His work has ensured that the APA has espoused ideals and practice standards that affirm the rights and dignity of LGBT people and has thus influenced the research and practice of millions of U.S. psychologists and those around the globe who have joined with APA in these efforts. His latest work on the Association’s gun violence prevention positions and Human Rights practices expands his influence to broader concerns.
Michael Morris, Professor of Psychology at the University of New Haven has an exceptional track record of education in the field of community psychology. He has directed graduate field training within the Master’s degree program in Community Psychology at University of New Haven for 25 years, and has been program coordinator since 2004. Students characterize his classes as rigorous and demanding, yet they nevertheless rate his teaching very favorably. In fact, many consider him to be the best instructor that they have had noting his sense of humor, and his ability and willingness to help them navigate their graduate education and career decisions. As a whole, Dr. Morris’s nominators describe his contributions to community psychology education as “unique and truly exceptional.”
National Louis University demonstrates a strong commitment to graduate education in community psychology. The community psychology program reflects the values of the field and is home to dedicated faculty who are respected scholars-practitioners and have made scholarly contributions to the field through publications in the Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, American Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Community Psychology, the Global Journal for Community Psychology Practice and The Community Psychologist. In addition, they are seen as leaders in the field who contribute to SCRA through their volunteer activities and to the larger nonprofit sector. The doctoral program aims to provide learning opportunities to a diverse group of working professionals, integrates competencies in community psychology practice, and has instituted numerous mechanisms designed to improve education in community psychology through evaluation, alignment of the curriculum with SCRA competencies for practice, and supporting alumni in community research, career development, and local advocacy.
Ken Maton’s book, Influencing Social Policy: Applied Psychology Serving the Public Interestmakes a crucial contribution to the field of community psychology, as well as other disciplines interested and involved in social policy. It provides a practical, yet comprehensive, overview of how community research and action can influence social policy on multiple levels, as well as the diverse methodologies used to generate research that serves to instigate such change. The book brings to life practice-related work in the policy arena by presenting a broad range of advocacy outcomes, including failures and lessons learned. The volume fills a significant void in the literature on social policy, thus making a critical contribution to graduate training. The many diverse case examples, based on semi-structured interviews, make the book both comprehensive and engaging. From the key terms, to the detailed step-by-step guides to effective impacting of policy, Influencing Social Policy is an excellent and necessary guide for anyone interested in policy, no matter one’s prior experience in this arena. Dr. Maton is Professor of Psychology in the Community/Clinical track at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and, coincidentally, was Dr. Anderson’s dissertation advisor.
M. Brinton Lykes is Professor of Community-Cultural Psychology in the Lynch School of Education and co-director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College. Her work has made a crucial contribution to Community Psychology through its interrogation and documentation of culture, positionality, power, structural violence, human rights, and community. Dr. Lykes’s scholarship and action is rooted in epistemology and theory and engages in community-based participatory and action research that is responsive to deeply-rooted structures of inequality and oppression, particularly in the global South. Her work exemplifies the importance of interrogating whiteness/privilege in intercultural research and practice. This in turn models how community psychology can move towards deeper reflexive modes of work that attends to and seeks to ameliorate the various ways in which power is expressed in research and practice. Dr. Lykes has published more than 100 research articles and book chapters, edited and/or authored several books, and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her long-term participatory and action research responding to humanitarian crises across transnational contexts.
Susan Wolfe is described by the awards committee as “an individual who exemplifies John's unique characteristics as mentor, teacher, and advocate, and especially his passion in making the benefits of community psychology accessible to all.” For over 30 years, Dr. Wolfe has made significant contributions to community psychology education, through teaching, and publishing, and shared her experiences, struggles, and expertise with graduate students interested in community practice. She uses her expertise in community and capacity building, research, evaluation, and community engagement to make significant contributions to members of marginalized populations for whom she has been a lifelong advocate and the nonprofits who aim to serve their needs. Dr. Wolfe contribution to the field is made richer through the extent to which she extends herself, as a rich resource of skills and experiences, to young community psychologists as they work to find a niche to channel their skills, passions and life realities.
The School Culture and Climate Initiative is a partnership of The United Way of Northern New Jersey and the Center for Human and Social Development of the College of Saint Elizabeth, which supports the needs of K-12 school communities to ensure students are set up to thrive academically, socially, emotionally, and physically. The program is seen by the award committee as an exemplar of work John was known for: building bridges between theory, research, and improving the world, demonstrating positive impact on communities, and demonstrating excellence in crisis intervention, specifically around the impact of Superstorm Sandy. The SCCI is a multilevel initiative, reaching students, school staff, leadership, and climate, district-level coordination and policy, and integrating community resources and strengths, regional professional development networks, statewide communication, collaboration, and silo-busting. In the words of one community with whom they work “the Initiative guided us in reaching our own goals and their involvement has been priceless.”
Winnie Mak, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Emily Ozer, University of California at Berkeley.