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5 Social Justice-Themed Sessions We Loved at APA Convention

Hawaiian beach at sunset

By Efua Andoh (PI Communications Staff)

The 2013 APA Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii wrapped up over the weekend. Our colleagues at the APA Convention blog were furiously documenting a wide swath of sessions and events on topics ranging from assisting the wrongfully incarcerated to why Americans are reluctant to discuss race.

Here is a rundown of 5 intriguing social justice-themed sessions we read about on the blog.

Barry C. Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project and keynote speaker at the Convention’s opening session, emphasized the need for psychological expertise in freeing those wrongfully imprisoned. In particular, psychological research on issues like the validity of eyewitness identification, the effects of jury instructions and police lineup techniques have been particularly critical.

Nancy Crawford, PhD, discussed her work to stop sex trafficking in Nepal and detailed the ways in which psychologists can contribute to research, intervention, and public education that can help to rescue and rehabilitate trafficked women and girls.

Despite the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, LGBT service members still face considerable stigma and prejudice and many remain reluctant to reveal their sexual orientation, according to Brad Johnson, PhD. Psychologists can help by maintaining strict client confidentiality and working to counteract stigma.

Nearly 27 million women in the U.S. are living with a disability and contrary to popular belief, they are sexual beings. According to Linda Mona, PhD, “sex and disability is usually not a sexy topic”, but psychologists can help to address the many psychological, social and physiological factors that affect women with disabilities’ sexual experiences.

Derald Wing Sue, PhD (winner of the Senior Career award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest) spoke at length about his recent research on why race is so challenging for people to discuss. The good news… the thorniness of discussing unacknowledged racism and white privilege can be overcome. Dr. Sue outlined successful strategies for constructive dialogues about race.

In addition to, check out the press releases for a rundown of other groundbreaking research findings presented in Honolulu.

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