Committee on Socioeconomic Status (CSES): 2013 Annual Report

Mission Statement

As approved by APA’s Council of Representatives in August 2006: 

The mission of the Committee on Socioeconomic Status (SES) shall be to further the major purpose of the APA — “to advance psychology as a science and a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare”— by ensuring that issues of SES receive the full attention of the association. The committee will identify and act as a catalyst in the association’s efforts to address issues of SES, and promote appropriate attention to SES in psychological research and practice. In this regard, the committee shall: (a) collect information and documentation concerning SES; (b) promote scientific understanding of the roles of poverty and SES in health, education and human welfare; (c) develop approaches to the application of psychology that take into account the effects of SES on psychological development and well-being; and (d) advocate for social policy that will alleviate or reduce the disparities between SES groups.

CSES Composition

In 2013, CSES welcomed two new members to the committee: 

Dionne Jones, PhD, (2013-2015) Jones is deputy chief of the Services Research Branch, Division of Epidemiology, Services & Prevention Research, National Institute on Drug Abuse/National Institutes of Health. She manages a grant portfolio that focuses on women, HIV/AIDS, criminal justice and health disparities.

John Ruiz, PhD, (2013-2015) Ruiz is an assistant professor in the department of Psychology at the University of North Texas where he is on the program faculty of both the Clinical Health Psychology and Experimental Psychology training programs. Ruiz is active within Div. 38 (Health Psychology), previously as a member of the Health Disparities Committee and currently serving a second term as the chair of the Div. 38 diversity council.

Jones and Ruiz joined the current committee members Laura Smith, PhD (Chair); Cynthia Hudley, PhD (Chair-Elect); and Ruth Riding Malon, PhD; Salvador Macias, III, PhD for a term extending from January 2013 until December 2015.

CSES Convention Programming

CSES co-sponsored the following APA Annual Convention symposiums for 2013.

  • Indigenous Healing among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders: Lessons for Western Approaches to Mental Health, Counseling and Psychotherapy; 
  • Health Disparities: Emerging Biopsychosocial Challenges of Older Adults Living with HIV; 
  • Can Psychology Accommodate Divergent Views on Size? Barriers to a nuanced understanding of obesity; and  
  • Culture and Health Disparities among Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians Indigenous Theory, Research and Practice

Other CSES Activities

CSES Annual Leadership Awards

CSES hosted its annual SES Network Reception & Leadership Awards Ceremony, where it recognized its 2013 Leadership Award recipients, Dr. Heather Bullock (Distinguished), Brian Kim (Emerging), and the Honolulu based non-profit, Hawaii H.O.M.E  Project (Organization). 

Special Publication Projects  

As demography changes in the U.S., it presents both challenges and opportunities for education, employment, health and housing policies. CSES, in an effort to offer resources that deepen the breadth and depth in understanding the harmful impacts of poverty released its first installment of bibliographies entitled, Examining the Structural Determinants of Poverty, an annotated bibliography 

50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

As a part of its social media commemoration, CSES members Ruth Riding Malon, PhD, Chair-Elect Cynthia Hudley, PhD, Helen Neville, PhD, CEMA Chair, and Henry Tomes, PhD, former Executive Director of the Public Interest Directorate authored blog commentary, noting societal progress and the work that remains for psychology.  

World Poverty Day

In observance of the 2013 UN World Poverty Day, CSES engaged APA staff, members and the public through a social media based campaign to generate the public and psychology’s awareness of global poverty with an emphasis on the structural determinants of poverty. In the week leading to October 17, 2013, CSES utilized twitter, Facebook, and the APA website to galvanize the awareness of World Poverty Day. Additionally, as a part of its commemoration, the office sponsored a brown bag lunch screening of A Place at the Table, a documentary that examines the issue of hunger in America through the lens of four families struggling with food insecurity.

Guidelines for Psychological Practice with SES Disadvantaged Populations

CSES is currently vetting a draft of proposed guidelines to assist the profession of psychology in serving low-SES and disadvantaged populations.

Disentangling SES and Racial, Ethnic Minority Status

CSES began its initial discussions to advance the proposed development of products that address the disentangling of SES and Racial, Ethnic Minority Status. CSES members Cynthia Hudley, PhD and John Ruiz, PhD have developed a symposium for the 2014 Annual APA Convention.

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week | Soup, Sock and Soap Drive

With the support of the CSES, the office collaborated with the APA Neighborhood Opportunities for Volunteer Activities (NOVA) and sponsored a fundraiser in observance of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. The drive collected coats, clothes, toiletries and food for three local organizations providing wrap-around services in the DC community. 

CDC funded Socioeconomic Status Related Cancer Disparities (SESRCD)

August 2013, the CSES sunset its 5-year cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Cancer Prevention and Control to implement the Socioeconomic Status Related Cancer Disparities Program (SESRCD). SESRCD efforts strengthened the capacity of community cancer-serving organizations and stakeholders to utilize evidence-based strategies to improve or initiate cancer prevention, early-detection and survivorship activities in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations