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Diversity Challenge 2009 In Review

Racial Identity and Cultural Factors in Treatment, Research, and Policy

Diversity Challenge
Racial Identity and Cultural Factors in Treatment, Research, and Policy

Under the direction of Dr. Janet E. Helms, the Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture (ISPRC) sponsored its 9th annual Diversity Challenge at Boston College October 23-24, 2009. This year’s focus was the integration of principles of racial identity and cultural theories in treatment, research, education, and policy. The conference drew over 300 participants and hosted more than 80 different sessions allowing scholars, practitioners, educators, community activists and policy makers a forum to extend the dialogue to address some of the unanswered questions from very different perspectives.


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The two-day Diversity Challenge included panel presentations by invited experts and community members. This year’s panelists included:

Robert T. Carter, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Education in the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University

Martin La Roche, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School, Children’s Hospital

Belle Liang, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology at Boston College

Thomas Parham, Ph.D. Assistant Vice Chancellor of Counseling and Health Services, University of California, Irvine

Gina Samuels, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago

Lewis Z. Schlosser, Ph.D., ABPP, Assosicate Professor of Counseling Psychology in the Department of Professional Psychology and Family Therapy, Seton Hall University

Karen Suyemoto, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts-Boston

Melba Vasquez, Ph.D., Independent practice and candidate for APA President, Austin, TX

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Comments from participants:

  • “Excellent conference, full of information, individuals, and ideas that will surely be of benefit in my future work!”
  • “It is a gem!”
  • “I found myself rejuvenated after long strings of stimulating conversation!”
  • “My supervisor…raved about how much she learned from your conference!”
  • “The conference was a huge success! Congratulations”
  • “I loved the panel discussions!”
  • “I really enjoyed the opportunity to be in an environment with others who share a passion for multiculturalism in psychology.”
  • “Notable and novice scholars could interact and dialogue. Very beneficial aspect of the challenge.”
  • [I enjoyed most] “the breadth of topics that were available during the various presentations and breakouts.”
  • “The atmosphere was a great mix of intimate and communal/ity level interaction.”
  • [Diversity Challenge is] “small enough that you get a chance to meet others and have a voice in the breakout sessions.
  • “Especially enjoyed the guest speakers and felt that they had a tremendous wealth of information to share about the promotion and study of race and culture.”
  • “The presenters were dynamic and engaging.”
  • “Speakers were excellent. Topics were excellent. I enjoyed that there was a lot of clinical/applied sessions.”
  • [I enjoyed] the opportunity to learn from leaders in the field of psychology about timely and vital issues for future generations.”
  • “This was an extremely well done and thought provoking conference.”

A special addition to this year’s conference was a tribute to honor Dr. Janet E. Helms and a celebration in recognition of the 25th anniversary of Racial Identity Theory. The evening capped off with words of gratitude and appreciation from many of Dr. Helms’ students and colleagues followed by lively dance and music performances from The New Fisk Jubilee Singers and F.I.S.T.S. dance troupe and displays featuring the art of Caleb Weinreb and Uma Chandrika Millner. We thank all of you who helped us share in this very special occasion.

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We hope that you join us next year at Diversity Challenge 2010 as we focus on Race and Culture in Teaching, Training, and Supervision.