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Special Sessions

A Value Proposition for Community Psychology

A Value Proposition for Community Psychology

William D. Neigher, Atlantic Health System [New Jersey]; Allen W. Ratcliffe, Tacoma Washington; Tom Wolff, Tom Wolff and Associates; Maurice Elias, Rutgers University; Sharon Marie Hakim, Wichita State University; Atlantic Health System [New Jersey].


I am Bill Neigher, a community psychologist who specializes in health and human services planning, program development and evaluation.  I have worked in these areas with very large and complex organizations like the UN, NIMH and the U.S. Senate, to very small social service agencies.  While I also teach and consult, my employment base is a large integrated health care system in New Jersey, the Atlantic Health System, where I direct planning and system development www.atlantichealth.org.

Dan Fishman and I wrote an article for The American Psychologist entitled" American Psychology in the 80’s: who will buy?” It asked the question: is there a “paying customer” out there for our services, absent government and grantor subsidy in hard times. [Fishman and Neigher, 1982].

We quoted Representative Barbara Mikulski [D-Md] from these 1979 remarks:
“Not one rummy has been taken off of Baltimore streets by this research.  Not one drunken husband has been dissuaded from beating his wife or one drunken mother from beating her child.  These research projects are like exotic, expensively mounted butterfly collections, hidden away in vaults and only exhumed from time to time to display to other collectors of the rare and unusual in reaffirmation of their elite status.” [Neigher and Fishman, 1982, p 533.]

But of course she was talking about other social scientists, not us. Right? We are community psychologists, and whether we work in academic or applied settings we are relevant.  We earn our public “keep” and society’s respect for the value we add to community science.  There are “paying customers” out there today for ourselves and our students, and there will be a continued demand for our skills and competencies well into the future.  Right again? Or maybe we are not so sure.

That was the part of the motivation for our ongoing work with the Value Proposition for Community Psychology, initiated under the watch of Mo Elias when he was SCRA president.  Developed with the SCRA Practice Council, it “makes the differentiated business case” for employers to hire us. What distinguishes us in that big stack of resumes?  Is it the 17 skills and competencies we say we have and practice, the context in community science we have for putting them together, or the values that underscore what we do?

Download the PDF below for the entire presentation, including slides and narrative.


Author

William D. Neigher, Allen W. Ratcliffe, Tom Wolff, Maurice Elias, & Sharon Marie Hakim

William D. Neigher, Atlantic Health System [New Jersey]; Allen W. Ratcliffe, Tacoma Washington; Tom Wolff, Tom Wolff and Associates; Maurice Elias, Rutgers University; Sharon Marie Hakim, Wichita State University; Atlantic Health System [New Jersey]


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