Diversity

Diversity & Inclusion

The Clinical Psychology Program at University of Maine is committed to providing a supportive and open learning environment for all individuals of any age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, culture, national origin, religion, ability, or socioeconomic status (consistent with the Office for Diversity & Inclusion and American Psychological Association). Our program also is committed to a training process that ensures that graduate students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work effectively with members of the public who embody intersecting demographics, attitudes, beliefs, and values. Respect for the differing opinions and attitudes of all individuals, as well as the continued acceptance of these differences, are important to the development of this environment. We value interacting with individuals different from ourselves and find this to be vital to our education mission.

 

Specific actions and ongoing initiatives related to enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within our doctoral training program, community, and larger field are detailed below.

 

Diversity-Related Research

Clinical faculty are committed to advancing the science of diversity and equity, training students from diverse backgrounds, and offering training opportunities in diversity-related research. Below, please find selected examples of faculty research programs (click each name for detailed information).  

  • Dr. Blossom’s research aims to improve service delivery, efficiency, access, and engagement for underserved and marginalized youth.
  • Dr. Goodhines’ substance use and health psychology research includes a focus on clarifying sociodemographic disparities affecting marginalized communities to promote health equity.
  • Dr. Hecker’s research on access to care for individuals with serious mental illness residing in underserved rural communities.
  • Dr. MacAulay’s research focuses on better understanding the role of socioeconomic diversity on brain health and how this knowledge may be applied to improve intervention models and assessment techniques for older adults.
  • Dr. Schwartz-Mette’s developmental psychopathology research includes a focus on elucidating processes of risk and resilience for youth with marginalized identities to inform prevention efforts.

Graduate Curriculum

Given the program’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion, related training is infused throughout the core curriculum. Selected relevant courses are detailed below (see course catalog for complete listing).

  • PSY 507 Multicultural Issues in Psychotherapy enhances multicultural competencies by increasing awareness of individual values/ biases and diverse lived experiences.
  • PSY 603 Ethics and Professional Issues is deeply rooted in psychologists’ ethical responsibilities to develop knowledge, awareness, and skills around issues of individual and cultural diversity.
  • PSY 625 Assessment I course readings and discussions emphasize understanding of multicultural competence and are designed to enhance knowledge of diversity-related issues in clinical assessment.
  • PSY 631 Advanced Psychopathology draws on a diverse empirical authorship and a multicultural lens to highlight mental health disparities and empower trainees to challenge colonial practices.
  • PSY 655 Child Psychotherapy integrates readings and resources from diverse perspectives, employs a multicultural framework, and facilitates students’ self-reflective practice consistent with a stance of cultural humility. 

Clinical Training & Practice 

  • In our doctoral student training clinic, we honor, value, and appreciate diversity. We work to create an environment which promotes awareness and acceptance of unique individual differences, including cultural, racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, gender, sexual orientation, ability, age and other valued components of diversity. Our values of cultural humility and multiculturalism guide the provision of appropriate services tailored to each client’s lived experiences and needs. To increase accessibility of our services, we are pleased to offer both telehealth and in-person services based on client preference. 
  • Advanced practicum opportunities throughout the region offer experiential clinical training with diverse populations, most notably including rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. Examples include the Penobscot Job Corps Center where our students work with young adults from across New England including urban areas and the Penobscot County Community Health Center, an FQHC that serves primarily low income clients including homeless individuals.

Diversity-Related Programs

  • The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program is proud to receive the competitive 2022 APAGS Student Diversity Initiative Award ($2,500), which supports the recruitment, leadership skills, and retention of psychology doctoral students from diverse backgrounds. Specific aims of this project include: (1) targeted regional recruitment and application mentorship for applicants of diverse identities; (2) funded leadership positions for graduate students mentoring diverse applicants; and (3) Diversity Committee programming to support student retention by prioritizing cultural humility and ongoing diversity-related learning.
  • US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grants for Behavioral Healthcare Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) seek to advance health equity in rural communities.
    1. Rural Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care (RIBPHC; M01HP41998): Co-directed by Drs. Jeffrey Hecker and Sandy Butler (School of Social Work), the program helps address Maine’s health care workforce need by (a) increasing the number of graduates with knowledge, professional skills, and experiential training in rural behavioral healthcare and (b) creating a network of training site partners committed to ongoing professional development.
    2. Rural Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care – Substance Use (RIBPHC-SU; D40HP45687): The project aims to enhance trainee, faculty, and supervisor competencies for treating substance use disorders in integrated behavioral healthcare settings  through experiential training and community partnerships. The project is led by Drs. Jeffrey Hecker (Director), Jennifer Blossom (Coordinator), and Patricia Goodhines (Curriculum Coordinator) in collaboration with Dr. April O’Grady (Psychological Services).
  • Graduate students and faculty attend a weekly Clinical Research & Practice Forum providing exposure to advanced topics in clinical research methodology and practice, often integrating issues related to identity, diversity, and health disparities. 
  • The program maintains active membership in the BRIDGE Psychology Network (Building Roads to Inclusion and Diversity in Graduate Education), aiming to collaboratively strengthen DEI initiatives in graduate training programs. 

Diversity-Related Graduate Student Committees

  • The Diversity Committee is comprised of clinical graduate students, sponsored by a faculty advisor, who collaborate to advance the program’s mission to train culturally informed and responsive psychologists. Central to this mission is a commitment to cultural inclusivity and to fostering a community that enables all trainees to thrive in their professional endeavors. Mindful of this goal, the Diversity Committee seeks to enhance diversity sensitivity, knowledge, and related skills across all training domains, including curriculum design, professional development, research, and clinical experiences, as well as in graduate school recruitment and retention. Primary among the committee’s strategies for achieving these goals is coordinating multicultural competency training experiences ranging from brown bag professional development seminars to half- and full-day workshops. These include the annual Stanley Sue Distinguished Diversity Lecture Series and Diversity Film Night, as well as research- and clinical practice-specific training opportunities.
  • The Self-Care Committee (SCC) was established to promote and educate clinical psychology students on the importance and function of self-care. Additionally, SCC was established to increase feelings of inclusivity among a diverse graduate student community and promote greater graduate student retention. SCC initiatives primarily focus on two important aspects of self-care – professional development and community engagement. Initiatives may include hosting lectures for the department, advertising professional webinars, and disseminating resources tailored to an individual’s unique experiences to help identify and prevent burnout. As SCC develops, our initiatives will have a university- and community-wide impact. These initiatives are further in line with the Graduate Student Government’s mission to promote all aspects of the university graduate student experience.

 

Selected Position & Support Statements 

In collaboration with the larger department, the program is committed to clarifying our position in support of marginalized individuals in our community, research, and clinical practice. While these regular discussions span broad diversity-related issues according to our changing social landscape, two selected statements are provided below. Guided by ongoing  learning, self reflection, and cultural humility, these statements will be updated to integrate new information as needed. 

We affirm unequivocally that we stand against anti-trans discrimination, including any attempts to codify it.

In the past year, legislators in 31 states, including Maine, have introduced legislation targeting transgender youth. The focus of these coordinated attacks varies and is not limited to attempts to prohibit trans youth from access to healthcare, prohibit trans youth participation in public K-12 and college athletics, restrict access to identification documents, and religious exemptions affecting LGBTQ people in healthcare access, adoption rights, and school organizations. Similar to the previous “bathroom bills,” which claimed that trans access to gender appropriate bathroom facilities would create an unsafe or unfair condition for cisgender girls, the basis for these proposed pieces of legislation reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of reality, promote a deeply problematic narrative about trans identity (e.g., the notion that boys might claim to be girls to gain access to a bathroom or locker room, or to win a schools sports competition or vice versa), ignores the expert advice of organizations such as the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and is rooted in the worst kind of fear mongering and divisive politics. Recently, Arkansas became the first state to pass into law a bill directly interfering with the ability of physicians to provide gender-affirming care to transgender youth. Lawmakers have introduced similar bills in states across the country this year. Leading experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Endocrine Society overwhelmingly support access to gender-affirming hormone treatments and the research clearly indicates that such treatment is essential to reducing the significant mental health disparities associated with sexual minority status. Beyond ignoring expert advice, this brazen attempt to interfere in medical decision making between a doctor and patient violates any notions of self-determination and privacy. In the strongest terms, we condemn these coordinated attacks against transgender individuals. (4/23/21)

We unequivocally condemn anti-Asian racism and violence.

In the past year, there has been a disturbing documented increase in acts of racism and violence directed at Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in the United States. According to the nonprofit organization Stop AAPI Hate, there have been more than 4,000 reported hate incidents across the country since 2020, representing a significant increase. These attacks include both sensational front page news events (e.g., the recent mass shooting in Atlanta, the beating of a woman on a public street in New York City), and the day-to-day prejudice experienced by too many in the AAPI community. We quote from, and reaffirm, the statement released by University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy, “These events bring into sharp focus the anti-Asian bias that has grown in this country, particularly during the pandemic. Such intolerance and hatred have no place in our communities, on our campuses and in our society. No one should live in fear because of who they are. Collectively, we must raise our voices and demonstrate by our thoughts and actions that we as members of university communities, and as a state and as a nation, are united against bigotry and racism.” In the strongest terms, we condemn the violence and racism directed against the AAPI community. We stand in solidarity with Asian communities under attack right now, and hold space for the grief in this moment. We commit to understanding how our actions and inactions impact diversity, equity, and inclusion in solidarity with our AAPI community. (4/23/21)

Useful Links regarding Diversity & Inclusion & UMaine