APA's efforts to better understand both the challenges and strengths of urban communities is coordinated by its Committee on Urban Initiatives. Begun as a Task Force in 1993 and established as a continuing committee in 1997, the committee's focus is on four broad areas--family, schools, workplace and community--and seeks to integrate psychological research and practice with efforts to improve life for people who live in urban communities.
Recent activities include the following:
Urban educational reform. This includes scaling up effective urban school reform; promoting the idea of diversity as a strength in urban schools; examining the consequences of high stakes educational testing; and incorporating socioemotional learning in models of academic achievement.
Community policing. Work in this area includes using psychology to improve the relationship between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve and understanding the psychological bases of racial profiling.
Addressing the impact of poverty. This includes considering welfare reform, the reauthorization of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the consequences of poverty for those living in urban areas, especially women and children.
While many psychologists work with urban populations, or on issues that are salient to urban communities, there is currently no recognized field of "urban psychology." The Committee on Urban Initiatives is therefore seeking psychologists who work on urban issues or use psychology to improve urban life.
Anyone with relevant interest or experience is urged to contact the Urban Initiatives Officer, Marsha Jenakovich, at (202) 336-6048 or e-mail.