- Who We Are
- What We Do
- Contact Us
- Current Events
SCRA is a professional organization that focuses both on community practice and academic scholarship. Improving our influence over practice to research, and research to practice, in a community context is a necessary part of our future.
We are an organization with strong connections through our members to evaluation, public health, and many other fields of practice and scholarship. Continuing to find ways to build and support those connections through collaboration is vital to accomplishing our mission.
Finally, I think we need to increase our advocacy efforts related to several outcomes we value. One is advocating for humanity in our policies at federal, state and local levels. We are a professional association that distinguishes ourselves by combining our values with our science. We need to continue to partner and support our colleagues internationally in this area as well. For all of us, having communities that support all members of the community, whether recent immigrants (for whatever reason) or well-established, means that our applied science supports equity, inclusion and diversity.
SCRA is at a great place in its history. We can go in a number of different directions that will benefit the organization, scholarship, training of the next generation of practitioners and researchers, and society more broadly. My interest is in ensuring that SCRA can fulfill its mission long into the future.
I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for president. Over the years, I have served SCRA in several capacities, including as member-at-large from 2007-2009, and I was a co-chair of the 2011 SCRA Chicago Biennial Conference local planning committee. In my training, I had the great privilege of attending DePaul University where I discovered community psychology. Community psychology fit with my values and motivations to serve culturally diverse disempowered children, families, and adults, and work towards promoting more fair and just societies and a more truly ‘human’ psychology. Since then, SCRA has been my professional home. I am a professor of psychology at Roosevelt University, a university with an institutional mission of social justice, and I am the director of the PsyD program in clinical psychology. As president, I would facilitate the continued development of resources and electronic infrastructure to sustain the mission and continued viability of our organization. I would want to continue to cultivate a spirit of openness so that we can invite community activists, professionals, community practitioners, and students who are doing ‘community psychology’ into SCRA. Of particular interest is to ensure that the language and theory that we use is indeed accessible to community members and students so that if they discover our field, they will be able to gain entrée into our community in a way that is welcoming, inclusive, and not intimidating. Finally, I am dedicated to supporting social justice, advocacy, and activism, as this work is needed now more than ever.
I earned my Community Psychology Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Becoming a community psychologist nurtured life-long reflection on how my bicultural identity shapes my work. I grew up at the Juarez, Mexico-El Paso, TX border, a place of endless contrasts, salient inequities, and rich bicultural traditions. Who I am and where I come from influences my drive to collaborate with others to end inequities and promote social justice. Community psychology and SCRA offer critical frameworks, methods, resources, and relationships to foster this work, for all of us. The growing inequities and injustices in our world make community psychology and SCRA imperative.
I am an active member of SCRA’s Immigrant Justice Group and a SCRA Leadership Development Fellow, a Scholar for the Annie Casey Foundation (Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity program), and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, working in the Health Equities Division with a multidisciplinary team of public health/biomedical researchers at City of Hope (cancer center) in L.A. At City of Hope we collaborate with four public school districts and community-based organizations, applying participatory-action research to encourage empowerment among minority youth, helping them tackle health inequities and pursue health sciences careers. If elected as Member-at-Large I would collect input from other SCRA members to collaboratively develop ways we can better promote our field, enhance opportunities for students and early career members to obtain secure positions consistent with their life goals, and create new opportunities and resources to cultivate action on promoting diversity, equity, and social justice.
I am a Puerto Rican social-community psychologist working currently as Interim Director of the Institute for Psychological Research at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). My areas of research include HIV/STIs prevention, intimate partner violence, problematic alcohol use, psychosocial wellbeing of young adults, and road rage. I also teach part time at the Department of Psychology of the UPR. In 2006 I Co-Chaired the First International Conference on Community Psychology held in San Juan, PR. I have co-edited books about social-community psychology in Puerto Rico and internationally. The two main responsibilities of the MAL that will be elected this year include: 1) co-chairing the Membership and Professional Development Committee; and 2) working with the SCRA administration staff to implement the SCRA awards processes. I want to become a MAL because I am convinced of the importance of having a strong organization like SCRA that defends the interest of its members and of the communities that we serve, and also honor those that make a difference in promoting social change. As a Latino community psychologist, I will devote all my energy to emphasizing the importance of having an organization that defends the interests of our discipline and communities, not only locally but internationally, from the constant threats that menace our collective wellbeing. SCRA has played and needs to continue playing an important role in this endeavor and I want to contribute my grain of sand to make it possible.
After graduating from Indiana University, I joined the faculty at UNC Charlotte in 1980. Since then I have worked to integrate teaching, research and service to effect community change, addressing the needs of people who are economically and social disadvantaged and who have disabilities. Using community-based participatory research strategies, I have examined change in mental health systems of care and early childhood intervention programs. I have co-led the Community Psychology Research Lab at UNCC, engaging graduate and undergraduate students in community based research and community change efforts. Our program was recognized with the “Outstanding Program Award” from the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) in 2013.
I have been a member of the SCRA continuously since I was a graduate student, and I was privileged to serve as president of the Society in 2011. I look forward to having the opportunity to serve as Treasurer of SCRA and as a returning member the Executive Committee.