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The
Community
Psychologist

Volume 55, Number 2 Spring 2022

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From the President

Written by Yvette G. Flores, University of California, Davis

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Dear members: I hope 2022 brings you and your loved ones good health. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, we continue to meet virtually in our officers and Executive Committee meetings. We held the Midwinter Meeting virtually over three days, February 3-5, 2022. Below I provide an overview of the many important issues we addressed in the meeting, as well as ongoing issues our society continues to address.  

Midwinter Meeting

At this meeting we officially welcomed Dr. Kwesi Brookins to the Executive Committee, although he had been participating in officers’ meetings in his role as President Elect since early January 2022. Each year Councils, Interest Groups, Regional Networks, Committees, and elected members of the EC are invited to submit proposals requesting financial support for their activities. The EC reviews these proposals and evaluates their alignment with SCRA goals and values. The officers make recommendations regarding funding allocations informed by the recommendations from the full EC and our budgetary realities. We were heartened to see many initiatives proposed that will further SCRA’s response to the Call to Action on Anti-Blackness in our Society. In future columns, I will describe some of the important initiatives. I am certain you also will read about these from chairs of these various groups in future TCP newsletters.   

In reviewing these proposals, it became evident that our bodies need additional administrative support. As part of our agenda, we engaged in extensive discussions of our organizational structure and how best to support the needs of our volunteer leaders and organizers, including chairs of Councils, Committees, and IGs as well as officers and EC members. In the near future, the officers will be reaching out to these groups to identify specific administrative support needs.

One of our priorities as officers for the Midwinter Meeting was growing our infrastructure to respond to the Call to Action and grow our capacity to create a more liberatory SCRA. Specifically, we returned to the proposals to create the Working Group, Advisory Board, and funding guidelines identified in the Response to the Call to Action on Anti-Blackness. Several members volunteered to form a committee to guide the formation of the Working Group and Advisory Board, seek members, and set timelines to launch this group. The Working Group and Advisory Board are a high priority for the EC to further the stated goals of the Response to the Call to Action.  

Another important activity of our Midwinter Meeting was a discussion of SCRA’s revenue projections. Our treasurer, Dr. Christopher Nettles, presented the funding processes we must follow given our 501C status and our relationship to APA, as well as the risks and realities we face in our organization.  In the next TCP column, Dr. Nettles plans to share this information with the membership. This was a critical conversation to have prior to making funding decisions.  By the time you read this column, SCRA bodies will know the level of funding we were able to provide, and this information will be available to the membership.

Prior to the Midwinter Meeting Past-President Dr. Bianca Guzman and Secretary Dr. Lauren Lichty co-chaired the nominations committee. The nominees for President-Elect, Member at Large, Secretary, and Regional Coordinator were brought forth to the Executive Committee. At the time of this writing, we do not have a full slate of candidates. For the future, I urge SCRA members to consider running for these positions. In late fall, we will begin recruiting nominees for 2023 elections. I hope you will consider bringing your talents to leadership positions within SCRA. To vote for these positions this spring, you need to have renewed your membership; I hope you did so and will vote in the next elections. You will be receiving reminders to vote and if you do not receive a ballot from APA, please let us know right away so we can resolve the situation.  

I add my appreciation to the members who volunteered to serve in the Nominations Committee as well as in the Fellows Committee.

A highlight of our Midwinter Meeting is bringing forward to a vote the SCRA members who have been nominated for Fellow Status. The Fellows Committee chaired by past president Bianca Guzman consisted of past fellows and the SCRA president. We reviewed their extensive dossiers and unanimously approved the five outstanding candidates that were nominated. The EC members also voted to grant Fellow status to this diverse group of scholar-activists. Dr. Guzman made the official announcement via the list serve, but their strengths merit repeating. Below I share highlights of their careers from the announcement drafted by Dr. Guzman and the Fellows Committee. Our new SCRA Fellows are:

Chiara Sabina, PhD, Associate Professor and the Chancellor’s Scholar for Inclusive Excellence in Interpersonal Violence Research, School of Social Work, Rutgers University.  

Dr. Sabina’s international research has made a significant impact to our understanding of the processes and experiences of different types and forms of interpersonal violence affecting Latinas in the US and in Latin America. Critically, she has focused on the application of this work, including how her findings can guide practice and intervention. Dr. Sabina is a past Fulbright Fellow, who conducted applied research in Ecuador, developed a directory of service providers for women survivors of interpersonal violence, and organized a conference for service providers in Quito. Overall, her contributions to the field of violence have impacted the ways in which violence against women in the United States and abroad is conceptualized. In addition, Dr. Sabina's service contributions to SCRA have also been substantive and significant (leading to the interest group on early career issues as well as the reinstitution of the Committee on Cultural, Racial, and Ethnic Affairs).

Noelle Hurd, PhD is the Scully Family Discovery Associate Professor at the University of Virginia and is an affiliate in the Department of Psychology

Dr. Hurd has made multiple significant contributions to community psychology and psychology in general, including her nuanced and contextually-grounded research regarding the natural mentoring relationships experienced by Black youth and her efforts to draw from this research to inform interventions, large-scale mentoring programs, and policy.  Dr. Hurd has been a scholar activist participating in Congressional briefings around Diversity Equity and Inclusion, and natural mentoring relationships for youth of color. She has served on the editorial boards of both the American Journal of Community Psychology and the Journal of Community Psychology and has authored multiple op-ed pieces in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Dr. Hurd has also played a significant role in community psychology training at the University of Virginia and in mentoring many early career scholars and advocated for and supported the work of scholars engaged in equity- and justice-focused research. 

Olya Glantsman, PhD is a Senior Professional Lecturer – Psychology Department, DePaul University

Dr. Glantsman has made outstanding and substantial contributions to education, training, and the visibility of our field.  Her key contributions to SCRA and CP include: (1) program development and leadership – e.g., developing and running a  BA CP concentration on her campus since 2006 and, more recently, helping create and lead an MS and BA/MS in CP; (2) substantive CP teaching, particularly of undergraduates; (3) meaningful service roles in SCRA and in her region, many focused on education, training, and dissemination of CP (co-Chair of the CP Practice Council for 4 years; editor of Theory into Action; 5 years as Midwest regional coordinator; co-chair of Undergraduate Interest Group and the Grad/Undergrad Mentoring Initiative; Biennial 2021 Conference Program Committee, editing  The Community Practitioner column in TCP.); and (4) serving as co-editor of “Diverse Career Opportunities in Community Psychology” as well as an open access introductory CP  text.

Rhonda Lewis, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS 

Dr. Lewis has made sustained and long-standing contributions to critical issues in community psychology. Her research on health disparities, substance use prevention, and the mental health/health and positive development of youth and emerging adults of color has impacted the ways in which we contextualize health for youth of color. She is an exemplary mentor who has sought to diversify and expand the reach of community psychology and STEM nationwide. She has had a number of meaningful service roles within SCRA, including chairing the Ethnic and Racial Affairs Committee (prior to this committee becoming a council), planning multiple biennial conferences, and contributing to the design of the community psychology practice competencies. She is currently the lead editor of the Journal of Community Psychology Special issue on COVID and vulnerable populations.” She is also a co-editor for the Special Issue of AJCP entitled “Racial reckoning, resistance, and the revolution: A call to community psychology to move forward.” 

Urmatapa Dutta, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Lowell 

Dr. Dutta is an exemplary scholar with a global focus. Dr. Dutta has made multiple meaningful contributions, including her action and activist research focusing on structural and cultural violence. She has co-edited a special issue of Community Psychology in Global Perspectives entitled: “Situating Structural and Cultural Violence in Community Research and Action.” She has also advanced critical qualitative research for which she has been honored with the Distinguished Early Career Contributions in Qualitative Inquiry Award of Division 5 of APA, and elevated anti-racist and decolonial processes and practices.  She has made empirical and theoretical/conceptual contributions using a foundation of collaborative, participatory practices, evident in her editorial contributions for multiple journals (e.g., Associate Editor of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology; Qualitative Psychology) and her multiple plenary or keynote presentations. She has received the Outstanding Educator Award from SCRA 2021 and a UMass-Lowell outstanding teaching award in 2015 and 2021.

I am honored to serve an organization that recognizes the contributions of such activists/scholars.

Looking Forward

In the next few months, we will have elections to critical roles in our division, continue the work on the Response to the Call to Action, move forward with the SCRA Theory of Change and the Strategic Plan under the leadership of our President Elect, and continue planning for our next biennial.  We welcome your input and will be reaching out for your opinion on a number of issues. The support and collaboration of members is essential to ensure a more inclusive space within SCRA where all members feel welcomed and respected.   

Until next time, I wish you health and continued engagement with our division. Feel free to reach out via email: president@scra27.org, or join me during office hours the second Friday of each month.