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The Road to Psychology-Community Partnerships: Collaborating on Social Issues for Social Change



The Road to Psychology-Community Partnerships: Collaborating on Social Issues for Social Change is a documentary on the challenges and benefits of community-based research (CBR). It documents a pre-conference site visit to two communities in Toronto organized in 2009 as part of SPSSI’s APA program.

When The annual APA convention was held in Toronto, Canada. Susan Opotow, then SPSSI President, and Michaela Hynie, SPSSI’s 2009 program chair, decided to take advantage of the well-developed community-university partnerships in Toronto to promote partnership as the theme for SPSSI’s convention program. The conference program was designed to highlight the theory and practice of partnerships between psychologists and diverse and economically challenged communities.

In keeping with our partnership theme, we partnered with 10 APA divisions and local community groups to hold a half-day pre-conference site visit to two local centers that promote community-academic partnerships to showcase community perspectives on partnership. The centers for our site visits, the York University TD Community Engagement Centre and the Wellesley Institute, are located in two different culturally diverse and economically challenged Toronto neighborhoods. The centers serve different functions in their neighborhoods, but both focus on supporting and building meaningful university-academic relationships to address social issues the community deems important. The site visits showcased presentations by a number of community groups, psychologists, and other academic researchers presenting work that they have done in collaboration in the community.

SPSSI hired a professional film crew to document this pre-conference initiative to capture the insights and observations of presenters and pre-conference participants, and use their expertise as a tool for education around community-psychology partnerships. (For the newsletter article describing participants’ descriptions of pre-conference, please click here). The Road to Psychology-Community Partnerships: Collaborating on Social Issues for Social Change is a 20 minute documentary that highlights key learnings from community and academic partners on a range of different projects. It serves as an introduction to the rewards and challenges of partnership.

Thank you to all our presenters and to the two centers, who made us feel welcome, shared their insights, and challenged us to learn!


There is an extensive list of syllabi and teaching resources available at the Community Campus Partnerships in Health (CCPH) website. Although CCPH targets health research, the materials are general to community based research and partnerships, and are usually aimed at multidisciplinary teams as well as community groups, making them accessible and usable for all. They also include a list of publications, toolkits and other materials to help you build your own community based research partnership.

If you would like to be kept informed about developments in community based research, consider joining the cpbr listserv, which is operated by the CCPH to connect colleagues with interest in community based research.

Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice.
                                                                                                                    - Kurt Lewin