Join us on Facebook 10th Anniversary!
Special Focus Issue

From the Guest Editors

Part 2: Special Issue of GJCPP on Practice Competencies in Community Psychology and Their Applications

Part 2: Special Issue of GJCPP on Practice Competencies in Community Psychology and Their Applications by  Vincent Francisco with co-editors Tom Wolff, Greg Meissen

Download the PDF version here.


It is our privilege to bring you part two of the special issue on competencies in community psychology practice. The analysis and articulation of the broader issues is as relevant in this issue as the previous one. The development of competencies is a milestone in any professional field of endeavor. It is difficult to do, as anyone who does curriculum development can attest. It also takes time, especially to develop language that is concise, measurable, and recognizable to relevant audiences. This two-part special issue contains articles that demonstrate the robustness of the list of competencies, and how useful (or not) they may be in various contexts. 

Jim Dalton does an incredible job with his overview of each article, providing descriptions of the competencies covered in each article and discussion of how the authors articulated the competencies across their areas of interest. We encourage you to start with that article, which can be found at the beginning of both volumes of this special issue.

As for the rest, the following brief list may help you focus your reading. We organized the papers from the more general to the more specific. These broad themes are also reflective of current issues in training and practice:

Critical analysis of competencies and their use - Arcidiacono argues for the inclusion of methodology, measurement, and application examples.

Application to community health improvement - Scaccia et alia offer a multiple case study and comparative analysis of the application of the competencies to community coalitions in three urban areas. Integration of activist and professional roles - Francescato & Zani, provide an exceptionally articulate argument for the integration of these roles. The perspective is international, and particularly relevant in the current social and political climate of any country.

Integration of competencies into doctoral training - Meissen et alia provide a description of how they used community psychology practice skills to revise the curriculum to include the competencies.

Case studies of student learning using the competencies - Bayaa et alia provide first person perspectives of the competencies as they relate to their graduate training.

Simulation exercise, systems orientation, and ecological perspectives - Sarkisian provides a wonderful description of a simulation exercise that can be adopted and adapted by others. He includes an appendix with detailed instructions.

Comparative case study of two graduate training programs using the competencies - Sanchez et alia provide a rich description of the differences of application of the competencies in two neighboring graduate programs — DePaul University and National Louis University — both in Chicago.

Development of research competencies - Faust et alia provide an analysis of community practice competencies along with competencies for community research. They go on to discuss challenges and opportunities in integration of research and practice.

Application of competencies to community practice - Wolfe and Price round out the offering of papers with their reflection on competencies from several relevant fields of practice - evaluation, public health, and community psychology practice.

Case study of student application of competencies to address a specific problem - Clifford et alia provide a rich perspective on the use of the competencies as they worked to address issues associated with risk for sexual assault on a college campus.

We encourage you to leave comments at the end of the articles, contact the authors to offer your perspectives on their work, and consider submitting a manuscript to the Global Journal that provides your perspective on the development, articulation, improvement and use of competencies in your work. 


Vincent Francisco with co-editors Tom Wolff, Greg Meissen Vincent Francisco with co-editors Tom Wolff, Greg Meissen

Tom Wolff, Ph.D., is a community psychology practitioner committed to issues of social justice and to building healthy communities through collaborative solutions. A globally recognized consultant on coalition building and community development, he has a lifetime of experience training and consulting with organizations, and communities across North America and around the world. Tom has published numerous resources to help communities solve their own problems. His most recent book is The Power of Collaborative Solutions- Six Principles and Effective Tools for Building Healthy Communities.He has been a partner in the development of the Community Tool Box (, a website with 7000 pages of practical resources on community health and development in English, Spanish and Arabic. Tom received the Distinguished Professional Contributions to Independent Practice Award from the American Psychological Association in 2014. He was educated at Clark University (B.A.) and the University of Rochester (Ph.D.). He presently runs Tom Wolff & Associates ( Consulting clients include federal, state, and local government; foundations; hospitals; nonprofit organizations; professional associations; and grassroots groups.

Vincent Francisco, PhD is Kansas Health Foundation Professor of Applied Behavioral Science and Senior Scientist with the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies. He is also Co-Director of the Work Group for Community Health and Development, a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre at the University of Kansas. In his work, he uses behavioral science methods to help understand and improve conditions that affect population health and health equity. Dr. Francisco published widely in the areas of health promotion, capacity building, and community-based research and intervention. He is co-developer of the Community Tool Box, a widely used Internet-based resource for promoting community health and development. He has years of experience mentoring undergraduate and graduate researchers and practitioners with community-based organizations throughout the United States and abroad. He was a member of the Adolescent Medicine Leadership Group, Chair of the Community Prevention Leadership Group, and a member of the Executive Committee of the NIH Adolescent Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions from 2003 through 2011. He was also an Associate Director for Research for the TRIAD EXPORT Center for Health Disparities (P20) at UNCG, funded by the NIH National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities. Dr. Francisco has considerable experience in the research and evaluation of community-based intervention programs focusing on adolescent development, reduction of risk for HIV/AIDS, teen substance abuse, youth violence, teen parenthood, and chronic/cardiovascular diseases. He also has considerable experience provision of technical support for the development of coalitions. He works with community initiatives to help them build capacity for systems change, create environments in which those organizations can succeed in accomplishing their mission, and evaluate those interventions within an open systems environment.

Greg Meissen is Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of the Community Psychology Doctoral Program at Wichita State University where he teaches community and organizational development and community leadership.  He was instrumental in creating the free standing Community Psychology PhD program and the APA Accredited Clinical-Community Program at WSU serving as their first Coordinator from 1994-97.  Wichita State was awarded the SCRA Excellence in Education Award in 2015.  Greg has also had faculty appointments at the Harvard School of Medicine and Boston University and served on the Surgeon General’s Council on Self-Help and Public Health.  In 1985 he founded the Self-Help Network as a statewide self-help group clearinghouse and research center where it has grown into the WSU Center for Community Support & Research into a statewide and national resource for community-based initiatives where he served as Director until 2008.  He has received over 30 million dollars in grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, Kansas Health Foundation, Administration for Children and Families, WT Grant Foundation and SAMSHA, and has published in the American Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Community Psychology, New England Journal of Medicine, Social Work, and Psychiatric Services. Greg was a co-founder and Co-Chaired of the SCRA Community Psychology Practice Council, has chaired the SCRA Council of Education Programs and has served on the Executive Committee of SCRA.  He has received the SCRA John Kalafat Community Psychology Practice Award and the SCRA Award for Distinguished Contributions.  A native Kansan, Greg has been involved in a number of Kansas Health Foundation and Kansas Leadership Center initiatives, is a Kansas Health Foundation Leadership Fellow and received the Kansas Community Leadership Award in 2010.

About this Article