This year marks the 25th anniversary of APA's Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs (OEMA), the branch of APA that works toward diversity, inclusion and empowerment in psychology.
The office took root at 1978's National Conference for Increasing Roles of Culturally Diverse Peoples in Psychology--known as the Dulles Conference.
There, several dozen ethnic-minority psychologists met with APA officials to discuss how to restructure APA to enhance participation of ethnic-minority psychologists. After much debate, they decided to create a new office at APA headquarters, and OEMA was established the following year.
Through the years, OEMA initiatives have increased the scientific understanding of how ethnicity influences behavior and culture pertains to psychology, and also have promoted recruitment, retention and training opportunities for ethnic minorities in psychology, says its director, Bertha Holliday, PhD.
According to Holliday, notable events in OEMA's history include:
* Establishing the Task Force on Minority Education and Ethnic Training in 1981. One of the board's first initiatives, its work ultimately led to enhanced participation of ethnic-minority psychologists in APA.
* Publishing of the first-ever Directory of Ethnic Minority Professionals in Psychology in 1985, which enhanced networking among minority psychologists.
* Developing the "Guidelines for Providers of Psychological Services to Ethnic, Linguistic and Culturally Diverse Populations" in 1990, which supplied the first guiding principles for working with minority populations.
* Encouraging representation of ethnic-minority psychology students by creating the Minority Undergraduate Students of Excellence (MUSE) program in 1992.
* Organizing a miniconvention on "Psychology and racism" in 1997, which initiated APA's National Conversation on Psychology and Racism.
OEMA will celebrate its anniversary during the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs Social Hour on Thursday, July 29, at 5 p.m. at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa during APA's 2004 Annual Convention in Honolulu. To learn more about OEMA, visit www.apa.org/pi/oema.
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