UCA is partnering with Dr. Rashmi Jaipal and co-creator Dr. Akbar through the generous gift of Helen Brackett, to create the Center for Psychology and Culture (CfPC). CfCP that draws from cross-cultural, clinical and multicultural psychology research, for the exploration of psychological approaches to sustainable development for local, national and global application. The Center will serve as UCA’s partner in furthering our mission to empower communities of color through innovative and sustainable race-based research and interventions.
The Center’s vision is based on three interlinked pillars that are necessary underpinnings of a paradigm for a new world – Culture, Psychology and Sustainable Development.
The Center’s mission is to conduct in-depth research, advance new ideas, and curate practical solutions by convening world experts to unify cultural worldviews that are vital to humanity.
Center projects will be devoted to researching, problem-solving, addressing and providing guidance based on the 3 pillars that help build peaceful, inclusive and sustainable societies.
Initially these projects will be in two specific areas, building on projects that have already been started or are ongoing.
Global Mental Health Project
Capacity building and developing mental health infrastructure in low resource settings, located in India, but eventually with applicability globally in low resource settings.
National Diversity Project
Addressing the psychological dimensions of Racism and Discrimination, Inter-Ethnic Tensions and Intergroup Relations, through Clinical Cross-Cultural and Multicultural interventions. The project will be headquartered in New Haven CT USA, but eventually for national application.
Global Mental Health Project in India
Background: A Fulbright project for Capacity Building for Suicide Prevention was carried out in 2016 and 2017 to try to tackle a growing suicide crisis in Sikkim, India. There was an urgent need for capacity building as there was a lack of mental health resources in Sikkim to deal with the crisis. There were very few psychiatrists and qualified clinical psychologists in the whole state with a population of about 600,000 people.
The capacity building project was just the beginning in tackling the problem. People usually prefer their local healing traditions to western counseling. An integration of both Western and traditional would be the optimal solution for the current lack in psychological support. The WHO (2013) mental health action plan recommends greater collaboration with “informal” mental health care providers, including families, as well as religious leaders, faith healers and traditional healers. In addition it recommends community based service delivery for mental health needs. These recommendations are in line with what came out of the Fulbright project, and highlight the need for more research on how to integrate traditional healers with treatment administered by Western trained mental health care professionals.
National Diversity Project in the US
Urban Trauma Project – This project is focused on psychologically addressing the legacy of racism and discrimination that has been a historical part of American history as well as that of other cultures. Additional projects will include diversity think tanks to better understand the role of racism, bias in communities of color and strengthen interethnic relations in communities. The Center will fund initiatives, projects, and programs vital to addressing racial trauma.
In order to effectuate systemic change to promote healing and resiliency, those aforementioned community stakeholders above will need cultivation, organization, and training at multiple levels. This will be a strategic process of convening large and small groups ranging from experts to direct service providers. These efforts will ensure the grass roots work is being done in alignment with the Urban Trauma philosophy. Training of the theory and principles along with the practical training of how the work is done with individuals is the foundation of the program’s efforts and all levels of practice need to be fluent in order for model fidelity and project sustainability.
This model based on the urban trauma approach can eventually be scaled up globally and applied to other cultural settings in culturally relevant ways.