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Commitment to Social Justice

Multiculturalism and Social Justice are core values of our program, which we live out throughout the program in a variety of ways. Here are some examples:

Coursework and Training Experiences

Multicultural competence, cultural humility, and the ability to work skillfully and compassionately with diverse clients is core to being a psychologist. Therefore, topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, advocacy, social justice, and multiculturalism are woven throughout the PsyD curriculum and covered in every course and training experience. These topics are viewed as central to working with all clients and to understanding human psychological functioning, not separate issues to be covered exclusively in a single multiculturalism course.

In addition to the integrated coverage of these issues in all courses and experiences, the program also requires two courses specifically in working with diverse populations as a psychologist.

PRP702: Introduction to Diverse Populations

3 Semester Credits

This course is designed to expose students to the current and historical experiences of diverse groups of people in the United States. Topics include race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, immigrant status, disability, socio-economic status, and age. Emphasis will be placed on awareness of the impact of one’s own race, ethnicity and culture(s) on cross cultural interactions, including assessment and therapy relationships. The course will include both didactic and experiential components, and students will be expected to consider our cultural, economic, and sociopolitical systems from multiple perspectives.

Core Curriculum Component: None

Prerequisite(s): None

PRP812: Assessment and Treatment of Diverse Populations

3 Semester Credits

This course is designed to teach students culturally sensitive and competent assessment and psychotherapeutic skills necessary to provide effective, evidence based treatment to diverse populations. In addition, the course is designed to sensitize students to the presence of systematic oppression, bias, and stereotyping that interfere with optimal understanding and treatment of diverse populations. Theory and research are reviewed so as to understand cultural differences and the interplay among concepts of pathology, treatment, and cultural stereotyping. In this course, diverse populations are defined broadly to include issues related to race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability, body type, aging, and religion, and we will consider these as integrated aspects of individual and group experience and identity.

Core Curriculum Component: None

Prerequisite(s): PRP702(Introduction to Diverse Populations), PRP800(Basic Intervention Skills)

Student Supports and Resources

Our Preparing Future Faculty Fellowship for Historically Under-Represented Advanced PsyD Students provides training, mentorship, and experience in teaching and faculty roles and responsibility, as well as up to a $6,000 fellowship award, to promising PsyD students who belong to groups that have been historically under-represented in the field. The program is open to advanced PsyD students; information for students who wish to apply is here. Information for Students Who Wish to Apply.

Community Mentor Series: The PsyD program’s Community Mentor Speaking Series was made possible by the Institutional Innovation Grant from Augsburg University. The purpose and format of the series was collaboratively generated by Dr. Hughes-Scalise and BIPOC-identifying PsyD students. The broad goal of the series is to increase connections between Augsburg students and BIPOC professionals in health service fields. The speaker series meets monthly and includes panel-style forums on topics like surviving graduate school, managing imposter syndrome, navigating early career choices, and balancing work and life commitments. The forums feature BIPOC community mentors serving health-service positions and are moderated by Dr. Hughes-Scalise and Dr. Hopkins. The series also includes discussion groups run by Dr. Hughes-Scalise and Dr. Hopkins. These discussion groups allow graduate students to discuss forum topics and increase connection with each other.

LGBTQIA+ support group: The LGBTQA+ interest group is a student group that has been active for over 10+ years (both at MSPP and now at Augsburg).  The group of LGBTQA+ identified-students with support faculty decide the structure and goals for each school year.  In the past, there have been conversations and sharing about our own personal stories.  In addition,  there have been discussions related to clinical and professional issues such as the impact of identifying as LGBTQA+ within our clinical experiences.   The LGBTQA+ group has also sponsored advocacy, educational and community events with the broader academic community and more specifically with LGBTQA+ allies.

Student Parent supports group: The PsyD program offers a support group for graduate students who are also holding caregiver roles for children and adolescents. This group meets every 2-4 weeks, and is facilitated by Dr. Hughes-Scalise. The groups serve as an informal, drop-in space for caregivers to connect with each other about specific challenges and opportunities that arise from balancing graduate school and caregiving responsibilities.

The Student-Faculty Diversity Committee is a shared governance committee, with both a student and faculty co-chair, where students and faculty can plan initiatives, conduct research, and advise the program on ways to support the needs of diverse students, clients, and the community. Recent activities have included research projects on the multicultural climate of the program, social events to support students, and advocacy initiatives, such as community Get Out the Vote events.

Augsburg also has a variety of supports for your diverse identities: Student Resources.

A Faculty Commitment to Multiculturalism and Social Justice

All faculty are dedicated to complete and continue the Augsburg University Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program


Here is a list of publications and faculty activities that center multiculturalism and social justice:

Berman, M. I., & Hegel, M. T. (2017). Weight bias education for medical school faculty: Workshop and assessment. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior49(7), 605-606.

Dollar, E., Berman, M.I., & Adachi-Mejia, A. M. (2017). Do no harm: Moving beyond weight loss to emphasize physical activity at every size. Preventing Chronic Disease14. DOI:  10.5888/pcd14.170006 Presentations

Berman, M.I. (2021, April). Spotting weight-biased research. Continuing education symposium presented by Weight-Neutral Diabetes Care Symposium for Diabetes Professionals, online.

Berman, M.I. (2020, May). Acceptance-based approaches for weight stigma and client weight concerns. Half-day continuing education workshop presented at the Minnesota Psychological Association First Friday Forum Encore Series, online.

Berman, M.I., Paquin, J.D., Alie, L.M., Goodman, M., Schechinger, H., Hegel, M.T., & Fassinger, R. (2018, August). Psychotherapy for social justice: Empowering marginalized groups, engendering social change. Symposium chaired at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco.

Berman, M.I., Kivlighan, Jr., D.M., Fassinger, R. (2016, August). Group therapy in a diverse, global society: A tool for meaningful change. Interdivisional collaborative symposium chaired at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Denver, CO.

Berman, M.I., Helms, J.E., Lantz, M., Crowell, C., Owen, J., Lee, N., Sim, W., Chapman, N. (2017, August). Social justice in psychotherapy science: From individual to social change. Roundtable discussion presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Washington DC.

Sim, W., Berman, M.I., Duan, C., Fuertes, J., Tao, K., Budge, S., Paquin, J., Owen, J., Sloane, N., & Pace, B. (2016, August). Promotion of multicultural psychotherapy science: What do we have to learn? What do we have to offer? Roundtable presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Denver, CO.