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I am committed to community psychology because I consider myself a psychologist with a social justice purpose. SCRA is my professional career home. I believe in the values of community psychology especially the idea that creating social justice and equity in any arena is the role of a community psychologist. I have been a member of SCRA since I was a doctoral student at Michigan State University. Over my 25 year tenure, I have served as a member-at large, chair to the Committee on Women, a Minority Representative to the SCRA Executive Council and I am an active member of the Counsel of Ethnic and Racial Affairs. In 2018 I received the Ethnic Minority Mentoring Award. I also have participated in APA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Psychology and AIDS (COPA) representing the voice of community psychology and health in ethnic minority populations. I have been involved in APA Division 35: Society for the Psychology of Women—serving as president of section III- Latina women. In all these roles I have considered myself to be the voice of community psychology. I am currently the director of the Pathways Program Office and a professor of Chicana/o Latina/o Studies at Cal State LA where on a daily basis I use community psychology principles to conduct all the work that I do. As president, I would continue to advocate that community psychology and community psychologist have a role in any social justice issue that we tackle as an international community seeking a just world.
I am an evaluation research scientist at the Community Engagement Institute’s Center for Applied Research and Evaluation, an affiliate organization of Wichita State University. My work spans a number of different domains from youth behavioral health to early childhood education to trauma in the population affected by intellectual and developmental disabilities. I am honored to serve as a managing editor of the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, an open access journal that disseminates practice-related research and community-based work. My road to community psychology has been long and winding. Before landing with my PhD in CP, I was a college writing instructor, a public relations specialist, a brand manager, and a marketing researcher. My experiences are varied enough for me to know that sometimes (oftentimes) my thoughts on a topic are not the most valuable or useful, and that shapes who I am, how I lead teams, and is a strength I hope I bring to SCRA. During my tenure in SCRA, I have held a number of leadership positions on the Practice Council, notably co-chair and EC representative. I believe in the vision of SCRA, and I believe that vision can be a welcoming space for ideas, experiences, and perspectives outside of my own that I would like the opportunity to channel and amplify. I would also like to see evaluation included in the work SCRA does, so transparency and accountability are woven more fully into the fabric of the organization as it moves into the future.
I am delighted to be considered for Secretary of SCRA. I am committed to SCRA’s values and principles, and would be honored to support the Society becoming more inclusive, supportive, and impactful through this role. After transitioning from well-networked Midwestern undergraduate/graduate CP programs, I observed the under-valuing and under-representation of CP practitioners at primarily-undergraduate institutions. To build connections and learn more, I served as the Western Regional Coordinator and co-chaired the regional SCRA Conference with Charles Collins at University of Washington Bothell (UWB). I co-founded and co-chair the Community Psychology Practice in Undergraduate Settings Interest Group with Jen Wallin-Ruschman. I co-edited a two-volume Special Issue of the Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice dedicated to undergraduate CP practice with Eylin Palamaro-Munsell and Jen Wallin-Ruschman. I am committed to creating new space for undergraduate-focused CP practitioners to find support, share their work, and promote equitable access to SCRA for all CP practitioners. I recently received tenure at UWB where I serve as the co-chair of the Committee Against Sexual and Relationship Violence. I am a Faculty Fellow in the UW Wellness for Living and Learning Initiative and am co-planning an all-campus retreat Fierce Compassion: Contemplative Practices for Nurturing Social and Environmental Justice. I regularly teach courses in CP and gender, women and sexuality studies that center applied projects to address student-identified needs. I am committed to facilitating collaborative, action-oriented interdisciplinary settings that promote co-learning, supportive relationship building, and socially-just organizational development. I welcome the opportunity to serve as SCRA Secretary.
I am honored to be considered for Member-at-Large in Div. 27. I am currently an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice (Clinical Line) and the Director of the Community & Social Change Master’s Program in the School of Education and Human Development at University of Miami. I received my Ph.D. in Community and Prevention Research from University of Illinois at Chicago. My research focuses on examining how socio-cultural and contextual factors affect wellbeing of refugee and immigrant youth. To overcome inequities in minority communities, I engage in education; community-engaged research and evaluation; collaboration and civic work around social justice issues. I have been a SCRA member for over 10 years. Within SCRA, I am an active member of the Immigration Justice Committee and I’m also one of the co-authors of the Policy Statement on the Effects of Deportation and Forced Separation of Immigrant Families. As SCRA Member-At-Large, I am looking forward to contribute in two separate ways to the growth and prominence of our division. First, I am interested in connecting with junior professionals and directors of community psychology programs to develop a supportive network. Second, I want to focus on increasing SCRA membership and visibility by effectively expanding the reach to individuals who are working in variety of sectors beyond higher education institutions. Thank you for considering me for this position.
I earned my Ph.D. in Ecological-Community Psychology from Michigan State University in 2014. I spent one year working for the U.S. Department of Justice, and am now an Assistant Professor in the Boston College School of Social Work. In Fall 2019, I will join the faculty of the Community and Prevention Research program in the Psychology Department of the University of Illinois-Chicago. I’m thankful for having had the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary settings as they’ve helped me refine my thinking around what defines community psychology, how our intersectional identities impact and are influenced by the many different settings we encounter, and the importance of belonging and being in community with others.
My involvement in SCRA has steadily increased over the years. In 2017, I received the Best Dissertation on a Topic Relevant to Community Psychology Award. I also became the Founding Chair of the Criminal Justice Interest Group, hosting monthly Learning Communities, and was selected to be a Leadership Development Fellow. In 2018, I became Column Editor of the Criminal Justice Interest Group column in The Community Psychologist, and served as an Advisor for the Ask An Advisor service through the Community Tool Box. I also review for the American Journal of Community Psychology and the Biennial. SCRA has provided me with a sense of community and a means of coming together with like-minded folks committed to community work. I welcome the opportunity to serve as MAL so I may help foster the same for an even broader membership.
I am excited to submit my statement qualifications and interest to support my nomination for the National Regional Network Coordinator of SCRA. I have worked to integrate my approach as a clinical social worker, practitioner, a community builder, activist, and now an emerging community psychologist as a recent graduate of National Louis University’s Doctoral Program.
I currently lead a behavioral health and substance use division within a Federally Qualified Health Center serving more than ten communities throughout the Chicagoland area. As part of the community health movement, our division is responsible for delivering an interdisciplinary approach to prevention, treatment, and community engagement, addressing social determinants of health.
Additionally, I was a co-founder, and board President for more than 13 years of one of the longest standing institutions committed to the advocacy and activism for black queer women and LGBTQ youth (Affinity Community Services, in Chicago). Affinity has maintained this focus for nearly 25 years through its mission and institutional presence locally and nationally.
I joined SCRA initially in 2014, as a doctoral student and a conference co-presenter at the Biennial conference, hosted by National Louis University and re-joined in 2018, post-graduation. If elected to the position of the Regional Network Coordinator, I would continue to advance the primary work of inclusion and representation of diverse voices and experiences of its members to inform the philosophical, political, and strategic work of SCRA.
I am a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Biobehavioral Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus and Research Psychologist at the Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) for Suicide Prevention, U.S. Veterans Health Administration. I received my degree in Community and Prevention Research at the University of Illinois – Chicago. My research focuses on understanding how communities affect military community integration and can promote military readjustment and mental health.
As a community psychologist, I have worked to strengthen the conceptual and empirical bases for culturally-situated, community-based and community-level mental health interventions. Since completing my doctorate, I have worked in settings where community psychology is not a central or organizing discipline. This has been both challenging and rewarding. Through conducting community-based participatory research in these different settings, I have learned invaluable lessons from working across disciplines. For example, many colleagues, practitioners and community partners share and enact CP values, principles and/or social justice commitments in ways unique to their disciplines or lived experiences. Honoring the range of ways in which we collectively engage in this work is critical for developing strong and lasting interdisciplinary partnerships to bridge research and practice.
It is an honor to be running for SCRA National Regional Network Coordinator. I joined SCRA in 2006 and am a member of the Rural and Early Career Interest Groups. As National Regional Network Coordinator, I look forward to supporting Regional Coordinators’ and International Regional Liaisons’ ongoing efforts to strengthen and diversify membership. Additionally, I would strive to expand membership across disciplines and work hard to convey member concerns and hopes to the Executive Committee.