The Community Psychologist

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

Volume 54, Number 1

Winter 2021

From the President

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Written by Bianca L. Guzmán, California State University, Los Angeles

As I write this update, I reflect on the monumental number of events that have occurred in our country. During the fall of 2020, I think we believed that the COVID-19 pandemic was attacking fewer people. In California, where I reside, I began to see a laxer approach to social distancing and there seemed to be a feeling in the air that things at least with COVID-19 were slowly getting better. There was then and there are now many conversations about how this health pandemic was affecting our economy and the most vulnerable populations in our country. We were also revving up for a tremendous political display of hate and animosity with the presidential election looming on the horizon.

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From the Editors  

Written by Dominique Thomas, Independent Scholar and Allana Zuckerman, Mesa Community College

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Happy New Year! With another year, comes another issue of The Community Psychologist! We’re excited to be taking on our new editorial roles! We first want to thank Susan Wolfe, the previous Editor and current President-Elect for her great work during the last three years! We will continue the work you have done and will keep pushing this publication forward into the future.

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The Community Practitioner

Edited by Mayra Guerrero and Olya Glantsman, DePaul University

A SEARCH FOR GLOBAL TRUTH

An educatoradvocatefixer, and healer – this is how psychologist Dr. Vernita Perkins describes how she approaches her role in promoting global wellness and meaningful living within corporate systems, communities, and the daily lives of individuals. Dr. Perkins is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Omnigi Research, an innovative hybrid global entity, composed of multi-disciplinary scientists committed to the real-world application of rigorous research aimed at health, wellness, innovative leadership, and purposeful, meaningful living.

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Early Career Interest Group

Edited by Vernita Perkins, Omnigi

Reflections on Multiple Pathways to Community Psychology and A Call to Action

Written by Sheree’ Bielecki, Pacific Oaks College; Traci L. Weinstein, Rhode Island College; Michelle Abraczinskas, University of Florida; Mikana Montagnino, Student; Vernita Perkins, Omnigi Research; Christopher Nettles, Cobb Area Municipal Council

Introduction

The Early Career Interest Group is pleased to present a new column introducing our membership. Early career includes undergrad and grad students through 10 years after graduation. We asked our members to present their reflections on how they came to Community Psychology and to SCRA, along with their research focus and purpose. These stories highlight the diversity, background, and career trajectory of some of our newest and ongoing members.

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Education Connection

Edited by Mason Haber, Harvard Medical School

THE COUNCIL ON EDUCATION (COE): CONTINUITY AND CHANGE IN UNUSUAL TIME

Written by Mason Haber, Harvard Medical School

Community Psychology (CP) educational councils have existed for almost as long as the field itself (Council on Education, 2019). Over time, the names, types of goals, and composition of the councils have changed in ways that we would argue have resulted in a deliberative body that is increasingly aligned with the values of and better positioned to provide leadership for the CP field.  Despite this progress, the current Council on Education (COE) continues to grapple with some of the same challenges faced by educational councils historically, coupled with new challenges, both internal (to the Council and SCRA) and external (adapting to the pandemic and recession, and responding meaningfully to the social upheaval and protest related to racial injustice). In this column, we consider these longstanding and new challenges and our recent and planned efforts to meet them in ways that we hope will draw ourselves and the Society as a whole closer to our ideals and goals.

Immigrant Justice

Edited by Sara L. Buckingham, University of Alaska Anchorage and Kevin Ferreira, California State University-Sacramento

ATROCITIES COMMITTED AGAINST WOMEN ON U.S. SOIL: A CALL TO ACTION

Written by Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, Dana B. Rusch, Tara G. Mehta, University of Illinois at Chicago; Alissa Charvonia, Howard University; Rebecca Ford-Paz, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; Carolina Meza-Perez, University of Nevada Las Vegas; and Sara L. Buckingham, University of Alaska Anchorage

In September of 2020, a brave nurse working at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Georgia made disturbing allegations of medical neglect and forced sterilization performed on detained Latina women at the center (Project South, 2020). Detainees have been denied medical treatment, not offered preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, and worst of all, sterilized without their consent (New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, 2020; Project South, 2020; Southern Poverty Law Center, 2020). These horrific allegations spurred the SCRA Immigration Justice Special Interest Group to speak out, writing letters to the editor of our local newspapers. We encourage other community researchers and practitioners to take action with us. 

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International Committee

Edited by Douglas D. Perkins, Vanderbilt University and Olga Oliveira Cunha, NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities.

REVIEW OF A NEW EDITED VOLUME FROM THE 2018 SANTIAGO, CHILE, INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY

Written by Douglas D. Perkins, Vanderbilt University

For TCP readers unfortunate enough to have missed the seventh International Conference on Community Psychology in October, 2018, in Santiago, Chile, or even those who attended but missed any of the featured presentations, a new collection of papers based on those presentations was just published in November and can be read for free online at  https://issuu.com/libropsicologiacomunitaria/docs/libro_cipc. The volume entitled Diálogos contemporáneos en psicología comunitaria: Escenarios, problemas y aprendizajes (Contemporary Dialogues in Community Psychology: Scenarios, Problems and Lessons) was edited by Conference Chair Jaime Alfaro Inzunza, along with Bárbara Olivares Espinoza, Ma. Verónica Monreal Álvarez, Paris Gamonal Corbalán, and Francisco Jeannerett Birth. Dr. Alfaro and his team have done the global field of community psychology a great service in compiling so many of the invited addresses from the conference after giving the authors the opportunity to edit and polish their ideas into more coherent chapters.

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Real Talk

Edited by Dominique Thomas, Independent Scholar and Allana Zuckerman, Mesa Community College

Community psychology is in danger, but not for the reason you may think. We must ask ourselves if we have properly allocated our time and resources as a field. Being so wedded to the academy and higher education may end up being our downfall rather than the legitimacy we may seek from these domains. When we’re forced by university logic to devote so much time and mental energy into these structures, we have less so for communities. This logic reproduces itself within CP; training as community psychologists and as instructors often has left us feeling more disconnected from our communities, unable to feel totally at home as community psychologists. What communities does community psychology currently serve?

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Regional Network News

Submitted by Regional Coordinators

NEWS FROM THE MIDWEST REGION U.S.

MIDWEST REGIONAL COORDINATORS

Tonya Hall, Chicago State University

Moshood Olanrewaju, National Louis University

CULTIVATING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC IN THE MIDWEST

Written by Tonya Hall, Chicago State University

An individual’s sense of belonging often established via positive social relationships is essential to human health promotion and survival. Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory posits that a person’s development is influenced by her or his social relationships and interactions with the environment (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Establishing social relationships can have both positive and negative aspects on one’s health. Cohen (2004) argued “Social networks provide emotional, informational, and material support; regulate behavior; and offer opportunities for social engagement. They also provide modes of contact to spread disease and the opportunity for conflict, exploitation, stress transmission, misguided attempts to help, and feelings of loss and loneliness. These potentially negative aspects of networks can act as psychological stressors resulting in cognitive, affective, and biological responses thought to increase risk for poor health (p. 680).” Strengthening the positive while simultaneously minimizing the negative aspects of social relationship and network building are essential now more than ever during the present age of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Rural Interest Group

Edited by Susana Helm, PhD, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa

BRIEF REPORT: COMMUNITY IN RURAL NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA

Written by Cari Patterson, Inspiring Communities

Location and Geography

Mi’kma’ki to its original people, the Mi’kmaq, Nova Scotia is Canada’s second-smallest province at 55,284 km2 or 21,345 mi2, and is nestled on the Atlantic coast, with 7,400 km (4,598 miles) of shoreline. Part of the Appalachian Mountains, it is home to rolling hills, highland wilderness areas, low mountain ranges, rich agricultural land, one of the deepest natural harbours in the world in Halifax, the capital city, and thanks to the funnel-shaped Bay of Fundy, the highest tides in the world at 16 metres, or about 50 feet. Refer to the map of Nova Scotia here.

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Student Issues 

Edited by Camilla Cummings, DePaul University

A Mixed Methods Study on Community Academic Partnerships in Public Health: Preliminary Findings from Phase 1

Written by Tatiana Elisa Bustos, Michigan State University

LITERATURE REVIEW

Public health needs call for greater community participation and control in processes that define community problems and design and implement interventions that are both meaningful and feasible within the community (Israel, et al., 1998; Wallerstein & Duran, 2010). To that end, a systems approach to public health challenges in underserved communities can utilize community-academic partnerships (CAPs)—partnerships extending beyond academic boundaries to translational research in real-world settings—to support and enhance the capacity of existing community-based initiatives and integration of evidence-based programs. CAPs involve community-partnered research that includes community stakeholders into the decision-making processes of interventions, programs, practices, and other health-related efforts; likewise, academic stakeholders are integrated into the decision-making processes of community-based organizations’ (CBOs) real-world application of said practices, interventions or treatments into the community (Drahota et al., 2016; Pellecchia et al., 2018).  

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From Our Members

Edited by Dominique Thomas, Independent Scholar

USING COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY VALUES TO FOSTER STATE-LEVEL CHANGE

Written by Corbin J. Standley, Michigan State University

Community psychology aims to use research and action to promote positive change at the individual and systemic levels (SCRA, n.d.). This vision guides our research, activism, and community engagement efforts. As graduate students in the field, we learn that this vision is guided by values such as participation, collaboration, and diversity (Nelson & Prilleltensky, 2010; Rappaport, 1977). Recently, I have had the opportunity to engage in state-level change efforts and have been reflecting on how these values have influenced this work. Two major state-level initiatives—the passage of the Save Our Students Act and the ongoing work of the State Suicide Prevention Commission—provide powerful examples of these values in action.

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Reading Circle

Edited by Dominique Thomas, Independent Scholar and Allana Zuckerman, Mesa Community College

To encourage ongoing dialogue with each other about what we are reading and how those readings are influencing our work, we are starting a reading circle and recommended reading list. Each issue we will share 5-6 readings that have influenced our work and provide a space for additional submissions. This is a space for people to share what they are reading so we can get an idea of the different knowledge bases people are exposed to and what is influencing their research and practice. This is also a way for us to share information and knowledge across a variety of topics to showcase and enhance richness of thought within the field. Here's what we've been reading!

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SCRA Member Spotlight

Edited by Dominique Thomas, Independent Scholar

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!