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Here we highlight the extraordinary work of our members, both those recognized by SCRA and those who have won awards from the APA.
Douglas Perkins has been an outstanding scholar in our field for many years. Dr. Perkins has contributed to multiple bodies of literature examining the importance of social contexts, and his work in empowerment theory and research, citizen participation, environment/ecological psychology, and interdisciplinary community-based research has significantly advanced our field. Dr. Perkins has bridged scholarship across continents and cultures through his productive international collaborations with scholars in Europe and Asia. Moreover, his leadership in working to bring scholars and ideas together across disciplinary and national boundaries is exemplary. Dr. Perkins’ training of researchers through his longstanding involvement and leadership as a faculty member at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University also strengthens his qualifications for this award. Dr. Perkins’ body of work, by virtue of its methodological rigor, innovation, and enduring theoretical contribution to the field, is greatly deserving of the SCRA Award for Distinguished Contribution to Theory and Research in Community Psychology.
Ruth Hollman founded SHARE! as a client-run agency that uses evidence-based practices to improve outcomes for people with mental health issues. SHARE! hosts more than 140 self-help support groups each week and make referrals to 12,000 others in Los Angeles County. As Executive Director, Ms. Hollman collaborates with other researchers to study self-help support groups. Her 25 years of participant observation with self-help groups supports the formulation of research questions that are informed by and relevant to practice. Her research background and experiential knowledge support high quality data collection within the cultural norms of the self-help groups. To help connect consumers to self-help support groups, she has developed extensive connections with numerous mental health providers. Ms. Hollman's work is grounded in a well-developed philosophy of practice in community psychology that promotes dignity and acceptance of everyone and is highly deserving of the SCRA Award for Distinguished Contribution to Practice in Community Psychology.
Jenna Watling Neal of Michigan State University was selected as a recipient of the 2016 Early Career Award. Dr. Neal has established an exciting and prolific research program on the qualities of social networks, focused primarily on children’s relationships within classrooms, and has been an active contributor to SCRA and our field. Theoretically rich and analytically innovative, her research speaks to the social and structural aspects of community relations, exploring how resources (social, tangible, and/or, political) are exchanged to alter social conditions and the lived experiences of marginalized populations. In a series of groundbreaking papers in AJCP, Watling Neal examines how a social network perspective can better define and measure power, in ways that facilitate empowering processes and outcomes, importantly, at both individual and setting levels. Letters of support enthusiastically describe her work as “remarkably creative,” “trail-blazing,” and as “providing a bold restatement of power,” thus representing major conceptual and methodological advancements in empowerment theory and ecological theory, core concepts to the field of community psychology.
Kate Dorozenko received her Ph.D. from Curtin University, Perth, Australia and is currently a Research Associate in the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work at Curtin University. Dr. Dorozenko's dissertation presents an in-depth, multi-layered qualitative analysis of the social construction of "intellectual disability" and how intellectual disability is understood and experienced by such individuals. The research challenges traditional notions that the intellectually disabled individual is not aware of the disability or constructs negative personal identities. The work is an excellent illustration of creatively and systematically engaging research participants and those in their social networks as co-investigators. The nomination letter describes the dissertation as "developing a detailed approach to participatory methods with persons who have been labeled as having an intellectual disability." The research is grounded in models of empowerment and contextualist perspectives, and creatively uses multiple methodologies to expand understanding of this construct and ways to increase control and meaningful participation for persons with an intellectual disability.
Dissertation Title: The Identities and Social Roles of People with Intellectual Disabilities: Challenging Dominant Cultural Worldviews, Values and Mythologies
Sarah Reed completed her Ph.D. at Michigan State University and is currently an NRSA post-doctoral fellow at the Center for AIDS Intervention Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her dissertation presents an in-depth and carefully executed qualitative study of two groups of Black gay and bisexual men [GBM): those who have experienced sexual abuse, depression, or substance abuse and those who have not experienced these. The study involved extensive interviews and multi-layered, multi-stage analyses that supported the significance of pride in being gay or bisexual, sexuality-related family support, and involvement in GBM social groups and organizations as protective factors for these men. The dissertation is distinctive in studying an underrepresented and marginalized group within a resilience framework, examining both relational protective factors and community resources. Further, the dissertation incorporated community psychology values/approaches such as a participatory approach with the development of the interview questions by interviewing key informants, a strengths-based framework, and a focus on health promotion, not just prevention.
Dissertation Title: Thriving and Adapting: Resilience, sense of community and systemics among young Black gay and bisexual men
Robin Miller has enthusiastically and steadfastly mentored ethnic minority students as their primary advisor, committee member, and practicum supervisor. Given Dr. Miller’s “history of involvement to increase representation of ethnic minority persons in their own institutions, research programs, or within SCRA,” her students note that they owe many of their own career successes to her mentoring. Her former students have successful careers at UCLA-Williams Institute, Northwestern University, DePaul University, The Children’s Trust, the University of California, and San Francisco AETC National Evaluation Center. Dr. Miller has transformed the lives of so many students through her dedication to diversity and inclusivity and is highly worthy of the SCRA Ethnic Minority Mentorship Award.
On occasion, by vote of the Executive Committee, the Society gives special awards to persons inside or outside of community psychology who have advanced the interests or goals of the field.
We are recognizing Jean L. Hill with the SCRA Award for Special Contribution to Community Psychology for her work to create a digital presence for SCRA through a newly constructed website and coordinated social media. Although SCRA had a basic website prior to her efforts, the technology of this previous website platform and the content that was presented were outdated. Dr. Hill has contributed countless hours of work over three years to arrive at the website we have today. She has also led a group in discerning how best to meet the needs of SCRA given our resources and our requirements. The demands for coordination and management involved in the re-creation of the website and transition old to new site required much more work than first anticipated. Many of the functions on the new website are critical for SCRA functioning (e.g., calendars, posting society business, member outreach) and also represent an important vehicle for outreach to those not yet familiar with community psychology. SCRA needs to continue to develop its digital presence so that more people can learn about the field. Dr. Jean Hill’s contributions have built a crucial foundation upon which we can expand for years to come.
We are recognizing Brad Olson with the SCRA Award for Special Contribution to Community Psychology for his nine years of advocacy, investigation, witnessing, and pushing for social change within APA. As co-founder of the Coalition of Ethical Psychology, Dr. Olson was one of six “dissident” psychologists who worked to expose APA’s collusion with the Department of Defense and psychologists’ involvement in enhanced interrogations. In August 2015, the APA Council overwhelmingly backed the dissidents’ proposal to ban psychologists from taking part in national security interrogations. Dr. Olson has faithfully shared information with SCRA that has been critical to keeping our members informed about these issues. His untiring dedication has also ensured the visibility of SCRA as an active partner in these important efforts to hold psychologists, psychology, and the APA accountable.
G. Anne Bogat and Jacob K. Tebes
We recognize Anne Bogat and Jack Tebes with the SCRA for Special Contributions to Community Psychology based on their work to negotiate a new contract for the American Journal of Community Psychology. During this time of tremendous change in publishing, Drs. Tebes and Bogat have helped to secure the vitality of our organization for the next several years. For over two years, as our prior contract was set to expire, they led a strategic review of the state of journal publications and evaluated the interest of competing publishers in working with AJCP through phone conversations, email exchanges, and in person meetings with publishing company representatives. This information gathering and “sales representation” for SCRA was a substantial amount of time, but critical for generating interest in working with AJCP and properly vetting the options available. After making a determination, in consultation with SCRA leadership, of the best options, they negotiated a contract that is crucial for enhancing the SCRA financially, as journal revenue constitutes the majority of SCRA’s operating budget.
The contributions and stewardship of Drs. Tebes and Bogat were not only financial. In preparation for the negotiations, they became aware of emerging industry standards for promoting and sharing content through new digital platforms. Their work will greatly help the next editor of AJCP. As a Society, we have a more stable financial picture for the next few years and we have increased capacity to lift up the work of SCRA members and the field of community psychology.
Anne Brodsky, University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Joy Kaufman, Yale University