The Community Psychologist

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

Volume 49 Number 1 
Winter 2016

John_Moritsugu_small.jpgFrom the President

John Moritsugu
Pacific Lutheran University
(moritsjn@plu.edu)

Moving into our fiftieth year following Swampscott, we address the questions of where we are and where we want to go. Strategic planning for the Society is one of the activities which occupy us at this time. As we deal with this process, I am reminded of the transactional nature of development and maturation. We certainly have grown and matured as an organization. Yet there are the new challenges to face given our changing contexts societally and in our science and profession. We confront new developmental tasks and recognize that our world has changed as well.

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From the Editors  Tiffany_McDowell_and_Dan_Cooper_small.jpg
Daniel Cooper and Tiffany McDowell 
Adler University, Chicago

Winter Greetings! We are excited to introduce ourselves as the new editors of The Community Psychologist. We would like to thank Gregor Sarkisian and Sylvie Taylor for their excellence over the past several years as co-editors, and for working hard to ensure a smooth transition for us. We have some big shoes to fill and couldn’t be more grateful for all the hard work they’ve done to keep TCP so central to SCRA and the field of community psychology. This is an exciting time for SCRA as it begins implementing new strategic initiatives. We have heard a lot of exciting ideas from membership and TCP readers about the future direction of the publication. We look forward to maintaining the legacy of TCP while also instituting new features that will help it evolve in exciting new ways. Stay tuned!

Dan and Tiffany

Visioning_2_small.jpgThe Community Practitioner

Edited by Olya Glantsman

Imagining the Future of CP Practice: Update on the Visioning Session at the 2015 Biennial
Written by Nicole Freund (nmfreund@gmail.com)

While early summer in Lowell, Massachusetts was a little on the cool side during the 2016 SCRA Biennial this past June, one room was hot with energy and ideas. The SCRA Practice Council sponsored a two-part 2.5-hour session designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of community psychology and to generate ideas for guiding SCRA members into the future.

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Education Connection

Edited by Carie Forden

This issue’s column features a discussion of a participatory action research project to investigate student experiences in a community-based learning program. It describes some of the advantages and challenges of participatory research with undergraduates, and provides us with a nice example of how community psychology can be practiced on our own college campuses.  If you have an idea for a future Education Connection column, please contact Carie Forden (cforden@aucegypt.edu).

The Community Narrative Research Project: Undergraduate students examining their own and others’ experiences of civic engagement over time
Written by Natasha Main, Chigozie Emelue, Eann Malabanan, Adele Malpert, Shannon Hoffman, Marsha Walton, and Elizabeth Thomas, Rhodes College

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Craig_Kwesi_Brookins.jpgLiving Community Psychology

Written by Gloria Levin

For this installment, we introduce a community psychologist whose academic career has shifted among psychology and Black and African studies but always incorporates the values and basic principles of community psychology.

Craig Kwesi Brookins
North Carolina State University
(Craig_Brookins@ncsu.edu)

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Public Policy

Edited by Jean Hill

Getting Started in Policy Work: Strategies for Community Psychologists
Written by Julia Dancis, Portland State University, and Surbhi Godsay, Jennifer Hosler, and Kenneth Maton, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Individuals are situated within a complex network of interrelated systems, including their families, communities, and broader society (Brofenbrenner, 1979; Kloos et al., 2012). Woven into this ecological system is public policy, which affects these networks and all individuals dwelling within their limits. As community psychologists, we value using social science as a means for social change; it follows then, that we should work to change policy so that communities are more equipped to exist and thrive autonomously (Wolff, 2013; Kloos et al., 2012).

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Regional Update Winter 2016Gina_Langhout_large.jpg

Edited by Regina Langhout
(langhout@ucsc.edu)

Every quarter, there are coordinators to thank and to welcome. Welcome to Rachel Jantke at DePaul University, who is a new regional coordinator for the Midwest, and to Angela Nguyen at the University of California at Santa Cruz, who is a new Student Regional Coordinator.

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RURAL_1.The_City_That_Trees_Built_small.jpgRural Interest Group

Edited by Susana Helm
Co-Editors Cheryl Ramos and Suzanne Phillips

The Rural IG column highlights rural resources as well as the work of community psychologists, students, and colleagues in their rural environments. In this issue, we are pleased to provide a 'brief report' from newly elected co-chair Dr. Suzanne Phillips. For future issues, please email Susana Helm (Rural.IG@scra27.org) if you would like to submit your own brief rural report or if you have resources we may list here.

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Self Help and Mutual Support

Edited by Greg Townley and Alicia Lucksted 

Who Decides? Self-Direction is Key to Self-Help: Preliminary Musings
Written by Elizabeth Stone, Pacifica Graduate Institute

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Early Career Interest Group

Edited by Ashlee Lien and Ben Graham

Selecting a Career in Community Psychology
Written by Ashlee Lien, SUNY College at Old Westbury, and Adam Voight,Cleveland State University

Contributors to this column: Ashley Anglin, Atlantic Health System; David Asiamah, Atlantic Health System; Ashley Boal, WestEd; Jamie DeLeeuw, Monroe County Community College; Andrew Greer, Westat; Laurel Lunn, Westat; Neal Palmer, CUNY Institute for State & Local Governance

A task that every aspiring Community Psychologist faces is selecting a career. Deciding on a career direction can be daunting, even with guidance from mentors in the field. When seeking advice, the first question is often whether you intend to go into an academic or a practice-related field. The distinction that is often drawn between these career directions is unclear at best, although the advice for preparing for a future career is often targeted for one specific direction. While preparing for a career is typically more of a concern for graduating students, it can also be an issue for early career individuals who may be questioning the direction they have chosen.

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STUDI_cultural_considerations_small.jpgStudent Issues

Edited by Sarah Callahan and Meagan Sweeney
(Studentreps@SCRA27.org)

Cultural Considerations While Developing a Child Trauma Prevention Project for Egyptians Exposed to Community Violence
Written by Karen Fanous, Alaa Aldoh, Farrah Helwa, and Sherine Mikhail, The American University in Cairo

Egyptians have been living in a context of socio-political violence and turmoil since the uprisings of 2011. As part of our Advanced Community Psychology undergraduate course at The American University in Cairo, we wanted to develop a project that targets parents and their parenting styles in order to enhance child resilience and prevent mental health problems resulting from the community violence.

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Transformative Change in Community Mental Health Interest Group

Edited by Geoffrey Nelson
(gnelson@wlu.ca)

Social Benefits of a Health and Wellness Intervention for Individuals with Serious Mental Illnesses
Written by Amy Shearer, Portland State University, Greg Townley, Portland State University, and Christina Overgard, Luke-Dorf, Inc.

Individuals served by the public mental health system die an average of 25 years earlier than the general public, largely from preventable diseases and suboptimal healthcare (Colton & Manderscheid, 2006; Mauer, 2006). In a study of Medicaid claims, 75% of people with serious mental illnesses had chronic preventable health conditions, such as pulmonary and smoking-related illnesses (Jones et al., 2014). Individuals with schizophrenia in particular have more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and harmful levels of salt consumption (Davidson et al., 2001).

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