UH Manoa Department of Psychology honored by the American Psychological Association

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Mia Noguchi, (808) 956-9095
Arlene Abiang, (808) 956-5637
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Feb 28, 2005

HONOLULU — The American Psychological Association awarded the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s Department of Psychology the 2004 Honorable Mention Award for Innovation in Graduate Education in Psychology at the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology 2005 annual meeting, February 11-14, in Tucson, Ariz. The award is one of three presented to psychology programs selected from more than 500 eligible graduate programs in the United States and Canada.

UH Mānoa was honored for its Community and Culture graduate program, the only graduate program in the United States that systematically incorporates community and cultural psychology into a single program.

Community psychology focuses on human behavior and experience in activities with others. It is these relationships, between activities and people, that shape both individual and community development. Cultural psychology places emphasis on the history, values, language and behavior patterns of a culture. Both provide important contexts from which greater understanding of human behavior can be obtained.

"In general, community psychology has not paid enough attention to cultural issues," says program director Clifford O‘Donnell. "That‘s why our program projects require the use of methods and measures that are compatible with the culture of project participants."

The program requires students to participate in the Quentin Burdick rural health community practicum that blends both community and cultural training. Psychology students live and work with students from other disciplines on a community capacity-building project. One such project involved conducting focus groups and individual interviews at a rural health care center to help pinpoint ways to improve the center‘s health services.

Other innovative features of the program include equal emphasis on qualitative and quantitative methodologies in course requirements, research projects, and practice, and five interdisciplinary Certificate options (Conflict Resolution, Disability Studies, Disaster Management, Planning Studies, and Policy Studies). All of these features are designed to support the integration of community and cultural psychology.