Division 45 celebrates 25th anniversary

The Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues continues to “stand on the shoulders of those before us”

2011 is the 25th Anniversary of the founding of Division 45 - The Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues.  In this signature year, the division won the Richard Suinn Award for our Links and Shoulders Mentoring Program, and received a 1.6 rating of our Cultural Diversity in Ethnic Minority Psychology Journal.  Both recognitions show that we have come a long way, and reflect our motto that "we stand on the shoulders of those before us". 

Division 45 logoIn 1892, there were no persons of color involved in the founding of the American Psychological Association, and ethnic minority issues were of the most marginal interest to the Association until the 1960s.  Indeed, when the Supreme Court in its 1954 Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education decision, ordered the dismantling of the nation’s legally racially segregated public school systems, the APA failed to acknowledge the significant impact of the psychological research and data submitted to the Court by Kenneth B. Clark. 
After 1960, APA gradually effected shifts in its stance on ethnic minority issues as a result of  psychological research challenging mainstream psychology’s assumptions of innate racial differences; increased racial discrimination challenges to intelligence and other psychological testing for employment and educational purposes; continued advocacy of psychologists of color; and the growing social activism of the times.   During the 1970s, several specific events laid the groundwork for the emergence of an APA division whose mission would be the psychological study of ethnic minorities.  With continuous membership growth, the significant growth of programs and stability of division operations, Division 45 entered  the 21st Century able to engage more actively in strategic innovation, and to be more assertive in advocating for ethnic minority concerns and cultural diversity.

Today it provides vibrant leadership with 2011 marking not only its 25th anniversary, but also an initiative promoting Diversity and Leadership by 2011 President Jean Lau Chin  to raise awareness, close the gap, and promote access to leadership among our talented diverse leaders!  Division 45 will celebrate its anniversary with programming and networking at the 2011 APA Annual Convention.

A Glimpse of Division 45 History 

  • Established in 1986 as the only APA division devoted primarily to research on ethnic minority concerns and the application of psychological knowledge and techniques to ethnic minority issues. 

  • Founded a mentorship program, “Links and Shoulders” in 1993 to address the career development needs of graduate students and early career psychologists from communities of color. 

  • Launched its official journal in 1998. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology is the only APA journal focusing exclusively on scientific research on ethnic minorities and culture. 

  • Inaugurated the first National Multicultural Conference and Summit in 1999, in collaboration with Divisions 17, 35, and 44. 

  • Organized the first national psychological conference on Immigration in 2006, with the co-sponsorship of several APA divisions.