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Study of race and culture bring together scholars at Stanford conference

July 19, 2016
By Brooke Donald
Professor Teresa LaFromboise was among the speakers at the APA Division 45 Conference at Stanford. (Photo: Marc Franklin)
Professor Teresa LaFromboise was among the speakers at the APA Division 45 Conference at Stanford. (Photo: Marc Franklin)
Many of society's most pressing concerns are related to race and culture, creating a vital need for scholarship addressing these areas.

Hundreds of scholars gathered at Stanford to hear the latest psychological research addressing social and mental health concerns of ethnic minorities including their LGBT members, as well as to network and build relationships within the field.

The 4th Biennial American Psychological Association (APA) Division 45 Research Conference took place July 7-9, and was hosted by Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) and Palo Alto University. The Stanford Psychology Department was among the sponsors. APA Division 45 is the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race.

The conference brought together emerging scholars as well as leading psychological researchers. For the first time, it also included a pre-conference devoted to the scholarship of Native American psychological and educational issues.

"The study of psychology, to a large extent, focuses on individualism. However, this conference focuses on the impact of socio-cultural contexts that influence differences in behavior," said Teresa LaFromboise, Stanford professor of education and co-chair of the conference. "In addition, the conference provides professional development sessions that help graduate students and early career psychologists navigate the demands of academia and find mentoring support necessary for career success."

LaFromboise and co-chair Joyce Chu of Palo Alto University said many of todays most pressing issues center on culture, ethnicity and race that impact everything from community relations to presidential politics. The APA established Division 45 some 30 years ago to promote the study of race, ethnicity and culture in psychology and to enhance the study and research of non-dominant ethnic/racial groups.

The dozens of presentations and discussions included such topics as language and identity; recruitment of underrepresented faculty; race-related stress; community-research partnerships; positive parenting; and teaching. Young scholars also had the opportunity to present their work in paper and poster sessions

Daniel Schwartz, dean of the Stanford GSE, welcomed the conference-goers saying cultural psychology is an extremely important area of scholarship. "Your time has come," he said, remarking at the job and research opportunities in technology, business and academia for researchers examining issues of race, identity, diversity and belonging.