The Community Psychologist

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

Volume 51 Number 2 
Spring 2018

From the PresidentYolanda_Suarez.jpg

Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar

ysuarez@uic.edu

University of Illinois at Chicago

Building our Road Ahead on Our Values and Strengths 

One of the cornerstone values of community psychology and the work that many of us engage in is the focus on assets and building on strengths. Consistent with this value, at the last Mid-Winter Meeting I invited the Executive Committee (EC is composed of 19 members) to engage in an Appreciative Inquiry approach to reflect on our (as a society) strengths and successes and envision the future. Appreciative Inquiry is a positive approach to planning that builds on the premise that strategic planning should be grounded on the organization’s values and strengths. We are often so blitzed with troubles and issues to resolve, that we can easily overlook the strengths and values that keep us together and matter to us. Celebrating our strengths and values allots us a strong sense of community and belonging.

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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, Georgia State University, dthomas60@gsu.edu

Spring is here, and with it comes many interesting and important articles. First, the President’s summary of the SCRA Executive Committee’s Mid-Winter Meeting provides SCRA members with some insights into what is discussed and what SCRA leadership considers as priorities. Second, we have all of the great articles submitted by our column editors. Third, TCP has additional articles to share that were submitted by members, including a book review. Fourth, we present the 2018 SCRA Award winners (congratulations!). And, finally, we also present to you the candidates for the SCRA Executive Committee. With that, we would like to remind you that, just as it is important to vote in our local, state, and federal elections, it is also important to vote in the SCRA elections when you receive the ballot.

Remember, we want feedback from you about what we are doing right and what you would like us to do differently. Also, if you have ideas for a special feature or article, please email us at tcp@scra27.org and share with us or set up a time to talk about it.

Susan and Dominique

Community Health Interest Group Initiates Research Partnership with UPR Psychology

Written by David W. Lounsbury, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York

To be frank, things were not going so well for my in-laws in Puerto Rico even before Hurricane Maria struck. The elderly parents of my husband, Rafael, had been housebound for more than a year prior, requiring 24-hour homecare. The family house in San Juan, a Caribbean-style three-bedroom cement structure – built in the Fifties to withstand up to 140 MPH winds when the Americanization of the island’s economy was still powering up – was now in need of serious refurbishments to roof, baths and kitchen. Then came 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. On September 7th Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm with intense tropical rains and winds topping 180 mph, clipped Puerto Rico and damaged an already extremely fragile power grid. Just two weeks later Maria hit, the first Category 4 storm to make landfall on Puerto Rico since 1932. Tracking southwest of the San Juan, from Arecibo to Humacao, Maria wiped out homes, roads, and bridges across the island. Nearly the entire population was without electricity and running water with thousands rendered homeless. A humanitarian crisis unfolded.

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The Community Practitioner

Edited by Nicole Freund

Written by Olya Glantsman, DePaul University, oglantsm@depaul.edu

The Community Psychology Practice Council is utilizing this column in 2018 to highlight the practice work of our members and profile their organizations. This first profile is of The Community Engagement Institute (CEI), an institute affiliated with Wichita State University. CEI partners with communities and organizations to strengthen Kansas through education, leadership development, facilitation, project management, and research. The Institute’s purpose is to (1) promote best practices in organizations and communities, (2) foster meaningful connections and engagement, provide applied learning opportunities, and (4) conduct high-impact, state-of the-art applied research. Dr. Scott Wituk currently serves as executive director of the institute and provided valuable context and history for how CEI came to be and where it is going.

Criminal Justice Interest Group 

Edited by Jessica Shaw, Boston College of Social Work

The Criminal Justice Interest Group Column features recent and ongoing work of our members. We encourage readers to reach out to the authors if they are interested in learning more or exploring potential opportunities for collaboration. We also invite readers to join one of our upcoming Learning Community Series presentations in which Criminal Justice Interest Group members share their work virtually to foster a learning community. More information, and recording of prior presentations, can be viewed at http://www.scra27.org/who-we-are/interest-groups/criminal-justice-interest-group/ .

Fostering Interdisciplinary Collaboration through Process Evaluation

Written by: Sindhia Colburn, Mercedes Pratt, Adam Watkins, and Carolyn J. Tompsett, Bowling Green State University

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Rural Interest Group

Edited by Susana Helm, PhD, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, Rural.IG@scra27.org, Cheryl Ramos, PhD and Suzanne Phillips, PhD

The Rural IG column of The Community Psychologist highlights rural resources as well as the work of community psychologists, students, and colleagues in their rural environments. Please email Susana if you would like to submit a brief rural report for publication in this column, or if you have resources we may list here.

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Self-Help Interest Group

The Changing Shape of Self-help/Mutual Aid

Written by Tehseen Noorani

The key concepts our interest group revolves around - for instance, 'self-help', 'mutual support' and 'peer-assisted' - can be understood in broad-brush terms. In doing so, the phenomena they refer to might be said to appear everywhere - in the workplace, social gatherings, big institutions, community spaces, on the internet, or at home. This raises a challenge for those of us interested in studying and/or promoting self-help and mutual support (SHMS) practices: how can we draw boundaries that allow us to distinguish where it is from where it is not? If we cannot any longer, perhaps the distinctive study of SHMA risks fading into a sort of generalized irrelevance.

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Student Issues

Edited by Erin Godly-Reynolds and Jaimelee Behrendt-Mihalski, University of North Carolina Charlotte

A Call for Increased Transparency: Total Cost of U.S. Graduate School Attendance and Multi-Level Policy Implications

Federal-Level Proposed Cuts: Same Headline, Different Day

Written by Erin Godly-Reynolds & Jaimelee Behrendt-Mihalski, University of North Carolina Charlotte

In our current political climate in the U.S., we have become inundated with alerts of potential threats to our federal funding and other resources that support our graduate degree programs and individual-level funding streams that enable us to complete advanced degrees in Community Psychology and repay student loans after we graduate. While these threats seem to be never-ending, in December we enjoyed a small win that warranted a temporary sigh of relief: The provision to tax graduate student tuition waivers and grants was removed from the Tax Code chopping block. In its Education Advocacy Legislative Update released in January, the American Psychological Association (APA) explained that a coalition of advocates successfully stopped Congress from eliminating key tax provisions that support graduate students (APA Federal Action Network, 2018). APA (2018) described the preservation of student loan interest deduction and tuition remission tax wavers as critical to graduate students because of these policies’ role in making graduate study more accessible and affordable. Framed as a win for both graduate students and our university, our Graduate School electronically notified us of this federal-level policy news with “Good News for Graduate Students” as the subject. The message sparked a conversation among over twenty of our peers pursuing advanced degrees in psychology, which was fueled by APA’s sentiment regarding policies that impact access and affordability and informed by content we studied in a required diversity course.

Undergraduate Community Psychology Practice

Creating Space for Networking, Support, and Developing Undergraduate Community Psychology Pedagogy

Written by Lauren F. Lichty, Jen Wallin-Ruschman, & Eylin Palamaro-Munsell

A movement has grown within SCRA to attend to the practice of community psychology (CP) teaching, research, and action within primarily undergraduate institutions. While there is often discussion of the importance of increasing the visibility of CP in undergraduate education to support graduate programs in the field, less attention has been given to the pedagogical and research-related practices of those working with undergraduates. Over the past two years, several discussions have taken place over the SCRA listserv, at regional conferences, at the 2017 Biennial, and in the American Journal of Community Psychology about the need to develop a community of practice within the field that centers on undergraduate settings. These community psychologists explicitly named the need for a place to share best practices and dialogue on difficulties within undergraduate settings (e.g., Lichty & Palamaro-Munsell, 2017).

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Book Review

Written by Edward Seidman, New York University

A Sparkle in Seymour’s Eye: Achieving College Dreams

Book Authored by Rhona S. Weinstein and Frank C. Worrell

There is no topic of greater importance to our contemporary society than the education and socio-emotional development of low-income children of color and first-generation students. The critical challenge for all of us is to expand these adolescents’ future life opportunities in order to jump-start the reduction of societal inequalities. Achieving College Dreams tackles this apparently intractable topic in the context of a 10-year charter school-university partnership. This volume is a living testament to what Seymour Sarason had in mind when he penned The Culture of Schools and the Problem of Change (1971). The authors/editors take us “inside” the process of development of this school across time making creative use of the voices of many – teachers, students, principals, professors, etc. – and make creative use of quantitative and qualitative data as well. The authors demonstrate how success means weaving together the facilitation of cognitive and socio-emotional development into a seamless and ongoing process at multiple levels. I am not aware of any accounts that track the development of a school targeted at this population, students’ successes and failures, using diverse voices and data sets. The volume stands as an exemplar of program development, scientific knowledge, and clinical know-how.

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From our Members

Action or Inaction in the Wake of Parkland Florida Tragedy?

Preventing Gun Violence Through Model Legislation

Op Ed Written by Christopher Corbett

Introduction

As the nation reels from another mass shooting that has killed at least 17 people and injured at least 15 more (Everytown Research, 2018), we can only face up to the harsh reality as to how preventable this shooting was--and also how culpable as a society we all are. Whether through obstruction, such as by the Congress who includes the “Dickey Amendment” every year in spending bills to prohibit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from conducting gun violence research (Radelat, 2018), or by neglect, we, the citizenry, fail to demand reasonable firearm restrictions-- there is plenty of guilt to go around. We can take action now to prevent such future tragedies.

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Congratulations Dick Repucci!

The 2018 Recipient of the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy

For over forty years, Nicholas “Dick” Reppucci has been deeply committed to the well-being of our communities through the formulation of public policy based on social science rather than intuition. This commitment has had a remarkable impact on policy changes for children and families spanning a wide-range of topics including, but not limited to, the evaluation of child abuse prevention programs, adolescent female offending, adolescent culpability, and the interrogation of juvenile suspects. His scholarly achievements and tireless dissemination efforts have fundamentally shaped the discourse on how our public policies can best serve our children, families, and their communities.”

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Dominique Thomas

The 2018 SCRA Best Dissertation in a Topic Relevant to Community Psychology

Dr. Dominique Thomas’ dissertation titled “Black Scholars Matter: Development and Validation of a Campus Racial Climate Measure for African-American College Students” was completed at Georgia State University under the direction of Dr. Winnie Chan. The dissertation research was a mixed methods study to advance understanding of campus racial climate, specifically for African-American students. He employed a sequential transformative strategy that included qualitative and quantitative phases. Items for the planned measure were developed from a series of interviews with African-American students. 

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Michelle Stratton

The 2018 SCRA Emory L. Cowen Award for the Promotion of Wellness

Dr. Michelle Stratton’s dissertation titled “Culture, Resilience, and Adaptation: The Voices of Rwandan and Congolese Refugees” was completed at the Pacifica Graduate Institute under the direction of Dr. Mary Watkins. Dr. Stratton’s dissertation is a sophisticated qualitative study of Rwandan and Congolese refugees in her home community of Manchester, New Hampshire. The project is the result of sustained engagement and inquiry into culturally-based sources of resilience, as well as consideration of how the ‘host’ culture can be more mindful of creating an environment that helps immigrants sustain, and not unreflectively assault, these sources of resilience. 

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Nathan R. Todd

The 2018 SCRA Early Career Award

Dr. Nathan Todd is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research aims to understand why and how individuals and groups work together for social justice, and the multifaceted ways that religion and racial privilege are part of this process. 

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Bianca L. Guzmán

The SCRA 2018 Ethnic Minority Mentorship Award

Dr. Bianca L. Guzmán is a highly recognized ecological community psychologist who has national expertise in the educational pipeline of K-20 students of color. She is currently the Director of Pathway Programs at Cal State LA, a new office she created on her campus to address the issues of preparing K-12 students for college. Dr. Guzmán has served as a fellow to the Massachusetts Institute for College and Career Readiness where she assisted in developing and implementing evaluation protocols for educational pathways that can impact the lifelong success of students.

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SCRA Fellows           

The Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) is pleased to announce the awarding of SCRA Fellow status to Dr. Louis Brown, Dr. Judith Meyers, Dr. Maury Nation, Dr. Stephanie Reich, and Dr. Barbara Yee.

Election to Fellow status requires evidence of unusual and outstanding contributions or performance in the field of psychology. Fellow status requires that a person’s work have had a national impact on the field of psychology beyond a local, state, or regional level. A SCRA Fellow is someone who provides evidence of unusual and outstanding contributions or performance in community research and action. SCRA Fellows show evidence of distinctive contributions to knowledge and/or practice in community psychology that are recognized by others as excellent and impact beyond the immediate setting in which the Fellow works. For the full list of SCRA fellows, please see http://www.scra27.org/members1/member-awards/scra-fellows/. Here is a brief introduction to our new SCRA Fellows for 2018.

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SCRA Executive Committee Candidates

Congratulations to this year’s 2018 nominees for SCRA office! We are delighted to have outstanding candidates running for each position. This year, SCRA will be voting for a new President-Elect, Member at Large to the Society’s Executive Council, and Treasurer. Election details will be posted and distributed as we learn the schedule that is outlined by APA.

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