Embracing diversity through connections

The writer reminds us that the goals of the Diversity Committee is to attract the participation and involvement of diverse early career professionals as well as student members

By Eric C. Chen, PhD

As Chair of the Division 49 Diversity Committee, I would like to share with you exciting news about our various activities. The Diversity Committee was established to focus on the promotion of cooperation among diverse populations in the science and practice of group psychotherapy. The committee seeks to reduce oppression and intolerance and promote social justice in group work. The committee is responsible for developing and recommending programs and policies that promote this area of scientific inquiry and professional practice. The Diversity Committee is now composed of the following members: Jeanne Bulgin, Scott Conkright, Cheri Marmarosh, and Joe Miles.

Chief among the goals of the committee is to attract the participation and involvement of early career professionals as well as student members. Specifically, a student subgroup will be established to meet the needs of student members  and to attract, foster, and support diversity in the committee’s membership and activities. As a  result, I am excited to share with you that a student group for the committee has been formed with Joy Lere, Katie Bruder, Allyson Regis and Joseph Giardino providing the necessary new energy. Joy and Katie are both students in the PsyD program at George Washington University, and Allyson and  Joseph are students in the counseling psychology PhD program at Fordham University. If any student members would like to get involved, please contact Joseph Giardino.

Another important goal is to complete the selection of the first recipient of the Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Award, which will be presented during the 2012 APA Convention in Orlando, Florida. This award is meant to recognize the accomplishments of a group  psychologist who has made outstanding contributions in group psychology practice, research,  service, or mentoring that promote understanding and respect for diversity. Nominations are reviewed by the Diversity Committee and voted on by the board of directors. If you would like to nominate someone or nominate yourself, please send me an email no later than April 15, 2012: (a) a brief message highlighting the significance of the nominee’s contributions, and (b) the nominee’s vita.

We hope to embrace diversity through building connections with Division 49 members and student members, and create a platform for issues of diversity in group psychology and group psychotherapy. To provide updates about our work, starting in 2012 we will be initiating a regular column in The Group Psychologist. Keep a look out for our next column, which will be devoted to a specific diversity theme (e.g., social justice, undocumented immigrants, disability, intersection of cultural diversity and evidence-based practice) in the context of the science and practice of group psychology and group psychotherapy. We also welcome any suggestions for growth of the Diversity Committee and ways in which we may best serve Division 49.

Eric C. Chen, PhD, Chair, Diversity Committee