Community Psychology and Public Policy

Community Psychology and Public Policy: Research, Advocacy and Training in International Contexts
Vol. 7 Issue 1 of the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice

Community psychology reaches across the globe. An outgrowth of an International Community Psychology Conference held in Brazil, the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice this year published a special issue on “Community Psychology and Public Policy: Research, Advocacy and Training in International Contexts.” It includes a wealth of diverse articles, from around the world, on policy changes or proposals pertaining to many social issues.

In introducing the issue, Scott Wituk, editor of the GJCPP, wrote, “A key set of community psychology practice competencies directly or indirectly relate to policy. If community psychology sets our goals to create systemic community change then policy change is a critical and often under-reported component of our work. In this special issue we are fortunate to read about diverse efforts from across the globe related to policy.”

“I want to thank the special issue editors (Douglas D. Perkins, Manuel García-Ramírez, Isabel Menezes, Irma Serrano-García, and Melissa Strompolis (USA, Spain, Portugal, Puerto Rico), contributors, and reviewers for assembling a thoughtful international collection of articles highlighting the experiences and insights from community psychologists focusing on policy. This is an especially rich collection of writings. There is much to learn from these articles and also suggest additional attention to this topic.”

The following is the abstract for the issue:
“We introduce a special issue on public policy research, advocacy, and training by community psychologists that grew out of the Fifth International Community Psychology Conference held in Fortaleza, Brazil. Two papers from Portugal propose changes in sex education policies in schools and communities to promote adolescents’ rights and drug abuse policies based on decriminalization of use and possession, risk and harm reduction, and health promotion. An article from Spain addresses transformative policies to reduce public health disparities for the Roma population in that country. Three contributions from Brazil examine a Landless Workers Movement popular education and agroforestry project to support children and adolescents’ rights and participation; another social movement to control public policy on youth and adult literacy and education; and racist environmental and natural resource policies that ignore the territorial rights of indigenous Amazonian populations. A paper from Chile describes the creation of a regular public forum to reduce stigma and promote human rights in community mental health care. Another paper examines the development and presents examples of social-community psychologists’ involvement in policy work in Puerto Rico, the process of training students for this endeavor and how to improve training. Finally, three articles cover recent trends in policy advocacy by community psychologists in the United States including its promotion and capacity building by the Society for Community Research and Action; using social media as a tool to enhance effectiveness of advocacy efforts; and an assessment of advocates’ and legislators’ capacity, knowledge, and perceptions of child injury prevention to inform policy change efforts.”

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