In This Issue

Results of Minority and Foreign-born Survey

Division 28 performs a survey in an attempt to link its minority and foreign-born members with supportive resources that already exist within the APA community

By Yukiko Washio, PhD

The notion of enhancing the diversity of APA constituents has been promoted consistently since the 2005 presidential task force started by past APA president, Dr. Ronald F. Levant. The current APA president, Dr. Melba Vasquez, has continued this agenda by defining one of her presidential initiatives as “Preventing Discrimination and Promoting Diversity.”

This topic is particularly relevant for Division 28. Under the commission of Mark Greenwald, the current president of APA Division 28 (Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse), Division 28 has recently formed a focus group of minority and foreign-born researchers who will work together to develop recommendations for ways the Division can encourage, support and provide assistance to minority and foreign-born researchers. In 2007 (most recent data available), approximately 5.5% of Division 28 members were from minority subgroups or were foreign-born.

The group first developed an online anonymous survey to help identify the best direction to proceed with the focus group. The survey targeted not only minority and foreign-born researchers, but also those who have worked with minority and foreign-born as mentors, and asked questions pertaining to potential cultural, language and immigration barriers. The survey was open for 1 month and was advertised on Division 28 listservs. Provided below are the results of the responses to the survey questions:

Preliminary Data Suggests

  1. Survey responders found cultural (as opposed to language or immigration) barriers to be the most problematic/restrictive to their professional development.

  2. The majority of support provided to minority/foreign born researchers addresses language and immigration problems, and generally comes in the form of website forums. Not much beyond informal support from families, peers, and mentors is generally provided to address cultural differences.

  3. Responders believed that more formally addressing cultural barriers for minority support, especially with respect to establishing a mentoring program, writing relevant newsletter articles, and hosting APA conference social hours, would be the most beneficial way that Division 28 could contribute to the professional development of minority/foreign-born researchers.

Based on the results of this survey, the Division 28 support group began a series of correspondence with other APA staff and professionals outside of the Division 28, including the current APA president, Dr. Melba J. T. Vasquez, Sarah K. Jordan (Director of APA Division Services Office) Keith Cooke (Manager of APA Division Services Office), and Dr. Julie M. Levitt (current president of APA Division 48; Peace Psychology). Based on these communications, Division 28 is hopeful to be able to link its minority and foreign-born members with supportive resources that already exist within the APA community. Sarah Jordan and Julie Levitt have been especially helpful in providing materials from the past cross-divisional survey analyses and newsletter articles, as well as introducing the task force to other divisional officers who have been active in enhancing and supporting diversity for professional and service activities in the field of psychology. In the next edition of the newsletter we will provide a summary of these available resources, as well as our beginning efforts to organize a minority and foreign-born mentoring group.