The Community Psychologist

A Publication of the Society for Community Research and Action
Division 27 of the American Psychological Association

Volume 53 Number 2

Spring 2020

From the PresidentSTHPicture.jpg

Recently, the SCRA executive committee (EC) held its annual mid-winter meeting in Chicago on January 30th- February 1st. The purpose of the annual mid-winter meeting is to provide a place where the SCRA leadership, the executive committee, get together in person for a 2 ½ day meeting where we discuss and approve budget requests, share reports and accomplishments for the year, and do planning for the coming year around major SCRA initiatives. The executive committee includes the presidential stream (past, current, and president-elect), SCRA officers including the executive director, secretary, and treasurer, representatives from the SCRA councils, representatives from the SCRA publications, student representatives, members-at-large, and others. Several new members to the EC noted that attending this meeting enabled them to learn about so many exciting initiatives that are happening in SCRA of which they were previously unaware, as well as provided a fuller scope of activities in which our members engage. 

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From the Editors  

Dominique_Thomas.jpgSusan_Wolfe.jpg

Susan M. Wolfe, Susan Wolfe and Associates, susan@susanwolfeandassociates.com and Dominique Thomas, University of Michigan, tdominiq@umich.edu

When we began work on this issue, we never considered it would be published in the middle of a pandemic. Several of the articles include editor notes indicating changes to relevant material since articles were originally submitted.

As community psychologists, this is relevant to what we do on many levels – policy, systems, community, and individual. SCRA listserv inquiries ask about measures that can be used, ideas for how to get through, transitioning from live classes to online classes, creating and reinforcing community, and many others. Our professional lives and workplaces have been changed during this time and our personal lives and livelihood, health, and mental health may also be affected. This is not business as usual, nor should anyone feel compelled to meet the same productivity demands. Healing is a necessary part of this change.

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The Community Practitioner

Edited by Olya Glantsman and Mayra Guerero, DePaul University

PRACTITIONER HIGHLIGHT: CAMILLA CUMMINGS

Written by Camilla Cummings and Isabelle Grant, DePaul University

In this column, we are highlighting the work of Camilla Cummings, a Clinical-Community Ph.D. student at DePaul University, and the current SCRA Student Representative for 2019-2021. Camilla’s research and advocacy focuses on interventions for individuals experiencing or at-risk for homelessness and issues of housing equity. In 2018, Camilla was awarded a SCRA Practice Community Mini-Grant for her dissertation study, which is a community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) project examining the lived experiences of tenants who are displaced from Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing. This research project emerged from her organizing and advocacy work with ONE Northside, a grassroots community organizing organization based in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. ONE Northside works on organizing community members around many social issues including affordable housing with teams working on housing issues related to rent control, community-driven development (i.e., community benefits agreements), and SRO preservation. 

Community Psychology Practice in Undergraduate Settings

Edited by Elizabeth Thomas, Rhodes College and Sheree Bielecki, Pacific Oaks College

Undergraduate Reflections on SCRA

Written by Laurel Weiss, Virginia Harness, Stephanie Hamilton-Rubio, Spencer Fox, The College of Idaho, Northern Arizona University

From the perspective of these undergraduate students, it is apparent that academia often does not include undergraduate students in its conceptualizations of what it means to be a valuable member of the academic community. At research conferences, the undergraduate student can be utterly invisible, working behind the scenes of research only to be mentioned as an aside. This seems to be a critical error. If academic associations hope to draw in new generations of members, it is important to note that many students do not start their academic life in graduate school. Community psychologists have made significant strides in attempting to address this issue for their undergraduate members at professional conferences. They have also tackled barriers of initial entry into the field. In 2017, the Undergraduate CP Practice Interest Group was formed, and as a result of their work, the 2019 SCRA Biennial conference had a student orientation session and a networking event. In addition to that, an open-access textbook for community psychology is now available. Moreover, SCRA membership for undergraduates is currently free (although this change came after registration for the 2019 biennial).

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Environment and Justice

Edited by Manuel Riemer, Wilfrid Laurier University

Announcing Environment and Justice Interest Group Action Teams

Written by Carlie D. Trott, University of Cincinnati and Kai Reimer-Watts, Wilfrid Laurier University

On Monday, February 10th, 2020 thirteen members of the Environment and Justice (E+J) Interest Group convened online to discuss action plans for 2020. Since September of 2019, we have been exploring the launch of new action teams— subgroups of E+J members who will work collaboratively on projects falling under the mission of the interest group, “to promote research, teaching, and action related to global climate change and environmental degradation, with a focus on environmental justice, particularly how environmental change affects and often perpetuates social inequality.” Planning for action teams began in fall 2019. To formulate action ideas, Kai Reimer-Watts and Carlie Trott (co-Chairs) administered a survey with E+J members in November. By December, the group began to zero in on a handful of projects that were appealing to small groups of E+J members. We wanted to take this opportunity to summarize action opportunities below. In the following sections, we describe the focus and intentions of the action teams as well as how to get involved. Please join us!

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Prevention and Promotion

Edited by Susana Helm, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Ripples on Ecological Praxis and the Natural World: Island of the Pacific-Asia Region

Written by Susana Helm, Niki Harré, Toshi Sasao, Nikolay Mihaylov, Douglas D. Perkins, Gordon Lee, Sae Chinen, and Julie Pellman

The Prevention & Promotion Interest Group coordinated a 50-minute “innovative other” session at the 2019 Chicago SCRA Biennial meeting by focusing on the conference theme - Ecological Praxis and the Natural World (http://www.scra27.org/event/biennial-conference/2019-biennial/) - in the context of Islands of the Pacific-Asia region. This region was selected by the session organizers, each of whom reside in Pacific-Asia island nations:  Niki Harré in Aotearoa New Zealand, Toshi Sasao in Japan, and Susana Helm in Hawai`i. As session organizers, we sought to promote dialogue and action as acts of resistance against impositions of destabilizing change affecting our island nation homes resulting from globally inspired changes that challenge local sovereignty and self-determination. Theory, concepts, and methods from community psychology prevention and promotion were considered through a series of critical questions addressed among the session participants (Figure 1). What follows are ripples of thought and action from the session participants.

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Public Policy

Edited by August Hoffman, Metropolitan State University

Establishing Environmentally Sustainable Practices through Community Engagement: A “Greener” Approach to the “Wicked Problems” of Industrialization

Written by August Hoffman, Pubic Policy Co-Chair

In their insightful essay addressing the problems between existing empirical research and how effective policies are used in disseminating information to the public, Bogenschneider and colleagues (2019) argue that a more effective strategy in communicating research to policymakers should include a more salient and engaging process that allows them to “identify their purpose for using research” (p. 792). In other words, if we wish to incorporate sound research into legislation to help protect the finite resources of the natural environment, we need to create more interactive and tangible opportunities where policy makers and legislatures can see (and experience) the importance of environmentally responsible behaviors.

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Regional Network News

Edited by Christina Smith, University of Chicago and National Louis University – Regional Network Coordinator

News From the Midwest Region U.S.

MIDWEST REGIONAL COORDINATORS

Melissa Ponce Rodas, Andrews University; and Tonya Hall, Chicago State University

Greetings from Midwest SCRA:

We have had a good academic year so far, with an amazing experience at our Midwest ECO last October 2019!  Attached you will find some pictures of the networking and gatherings that were had!  Thanks again to National Louis University for hosting and organizing this successful event!

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Self-Help and Mutual Support Interest Group

Edited by Thomasina Borkman, George Mason University and Ronald Harvey, American University in Bulgaria

Selective Use of Professional Services by Family Survivors of Suicide’s Self-Help Groups in Japan

Written by Tomofumi Oka, PhD, Sophia University, Japan

This paper is an excerpt from, and expansion of a presentation made at the Third International Social Development Conference in Malaysia (Oka, 2018). The purpose of the paper was to consider how self-help groups (SHGs) play a unique role in the field of human and social development. The presentation considered two case studies of the various knowledge bases of SHGs in Japan. This paper extracts one case study, the family survivors of suicide and their “liberating meaning perspective” based on their collective experiential knowledge which is related to the rejection of mental health bereavement professionals but welcomes and accepts legal professionals. This paper’s contribution to the SHG literature is to highlight the group’s differing relationships with professionals, a distinction rarely made in the literature.

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Student Issues 

Edited by Joy Agner, University of Hawai’i at Manoa 

SCRA Thesis Award Grantee Report: A Phenomenological Analysis of a Culturally Specific Intervention for African American Women

Written by Funmi Ayeni, B.S., M.A., Michigan State University

Examination of a Culturally Specific Group Intervention for African American Survivors of Sexual Assault

Literature Review

Sexual assault is a pervasive health problem in the United States (BJS, 2017). The detrimental effects of sexual assault are well documented and include adverse physical, psychological, emotional, and economic outcomes (Ullman, 2014). Survivors often require extensive support services to cope with the aftermath of their experiences (Zinzow et al., 2012). The problem of sexual assault has been documented among many racial, cultural, and ethnic groups, but is more prevalent among women of color (Bryant-Davis, Chung, & Tillman, 2009).

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SCRA Member Spotlight

Edited by Dominique Thomas, University of Michigan

The SCRA Member Spotlight lets us engage our members and highlight great work! Each issue we solicit submissions of accomplishments. We especially would like students, early career scholars, and practitioners to submit their accomplishments and work. Submissions can include but are certainly not limited to:

  • New jobs
  • Post-docs
  • Promotions
  • Thesis/Dissertation Defenses
  • Newly published journal articles, books, chapters
  • Podcasts, blogs, news items that are by or about you
  • Certifications or other credentials
  • Retirement
  • Grants
  • Awards
  • Successful/ongoing projects
  • New projects or community initiatives

If you are interested in submitting for the next issue, please click this link and fill out the form. We hope to hear from you!

From our Members

Edited by Susan M. Wolfe, Susan Wolfe and Associates

Were We Critical Friends? Working with Values in Research

Written by Samuel Keast and Christopher Sonn, Victoria University, Australia

Conceptualising values in research is one thing, negotiating them through the layers of relationships and constraints of a community organisation and a university is something else. This article highlights some challenges in navigating values of inclusion, voice, and collaboration through the implementation of a program evaluation. The program was developed specifically for youth from the African-Australian diaspora and was largely in response to the negative representations of these young people in the media and political discourse. The not-for-profit organisation has run a number of youth-focused programs, but this was the first of its kind to respond to the needs of young people from the African-Australian diaspora.

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