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Community Psychology program

Program recognized with Excellence in Education Award, Society for Community Research and Action, 2013

The Community Psychology Training Program at UNC Charlotte was recently recognized as the Outstanding Program in 2013 by the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA - Division 27 - Community Psychology - of the American Psychological Association). The "Excellence in Education Programs Award" recognizes "an exemplary undergraduate and/or graduate program that has innovative structures, strategies, and curricula that promote development of the field of community psychology and community research and action."  We are honored to receive this award.  See the award and the students and faculty present in Miami to receive it at:

The Community Psychology Training Program is comprised of 3 separate but related components, which support education in community psychology for students at different levels.  Each component is very applied in nature, helping students develop community based research and practice skills, which enable them to make a difference in their communities.  The 3 components are:

What is Community Psychology?

Social justice.    Action-oriented research.
  Global in nature.     Influencing public policy.
Working for empowerment.       Multidisciplinary in focus.
  Celebrating culture.               Preventing harm.
Behavior in context.               Social action.
  Supporting community strengths.   Reducing oppression.
Promoting well-being.           Scientific inquiry.
  Honoring human rights.           Respecting diversity.


For more information about Community Psychology see also:

Graduate Degree Overview: Community Psychology” at the Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center at

Or see:

Community Psychology: Using the ‘Big Picture’ Perspective to Help People” by Pia Stanard

Under the umbrella of the Health Psychology Ph. D. Program, the Community Psychology program offers graduate training which examines social and community factors that contribute to healthy outcomes in individuals, and develops community interventions to create stronger, healthier communities. Students develop applied research and intervention skills that enable them to effect change in settings and communities. With an emphasis on social justice and community partnerships, students work to improve the health and well-being of disenfranchised individuals and families.

Graduates choosing this emphasis are prepared to assume positions in universities, research institutes, government, nonprofits or other settings that require skills in applied research (e.g., program evaluation) and/or community intervention.

From the beginning of the program, students in the Community Psychology program become involved in applied community psychology research and intervention projects.

For more information, contact Community Psychology program Faculty:

Jim Cook
  My area of research is community psychology, which focuses on changing systems and settings to better meet the needs of individuals and families. With a strong emphasis on community-based participatory research (CBPR), my faculty and student colleagues and I work with community groups as partners. Together, we develop research questions, collect data, and use the knowledge gained to improve the community. Examples of current partnerships (with Ryan Kilmer) include: evaluation of family support programs within school, public housing, and child protective services (CPS); evaluating initiatives to increase school readiness and skills among young children. Through working with these programs to evaluate their impact, we help them improve their ability to help children and families.
Ryan Kilmer

I am a child clinical-community psychologist and work with faculty and students on a host of applied research efforts in community psychology.  My interests include: (a) factors influencing the development of children at-risk for emotional, behavioral, and/or academic difficulties, particularly risk and resilience and youngsters’ adjustment to trauma; and (b) the use of research to guide service delivery, evaluate service and program effectiveness, and inform system change, program refinement, and policy.  I collaborate regularly with Jim Cook on work with a range of community partners reflecting different disciplines (e.g., mental health, education, health, child welfare). I have directed or co-directed NIH-funded projects involving children exposed to adversity and at-risk youth (i.e., Awards 1R03MH065596-01A2,1R03MH078197-01,1R21MH083088-01A1). , and co-direct a large-scale evaluation of the implementation and impact of a child mental health service delivery model, as well as evaluations of family support programs in mental health and child welfare contexts, and two community initiatives to increase school readiness. We have used project data from work with various populations with mental health needs to detail needs for services and supports (and the impact of unmet needs), frame recommendations for service system change, and discuss warranted policy modifications and their implications.

Mason Haber

 My research focuses on promoting healthier transitions to adulthood among youth at risk for poor outcomes, including youth receiving services in mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice settings. Currently, I work with several organizations, including a local mental health provider, a family advocacy organization, and the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s office, on funded evaluation projects or secondary data analyses that are designed to help these organizations better understand their programs, and contribute to the knowledge base on effective services and supports for transitioning youth. I also am leading two projects analyzing factors predicting better education, employment, and independent living outcomes among youth with disabilities exiting from secondary school, including a meta-analysis, and a secondary analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Transition study. I also regularly collaborate with Jim Cook and Ryan Kilmer on projects related to the local System of Care evaluation.


See Training in Community Psychology  for more information about the types of experiences available and the accomplishments of the Community Psychology faculty and students. 

Also find more information at



Additional Information about the Health Psychology Ph.D. Program: 



The Health Psychology Program is located on the 4th floor of Colvard