Brief History


The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives voted to establish the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (Division 45) in August 1986. This represented the culmination of decades of efforts to integrate ethnic minority psychology into the American Psychological Association.

The Society has been instrumental in the development and support of several ongoing programs that had seeds in the initiatives of Former Society Presidents. Vera Paster founded the mentoring program, “Links and Shoulders.” Many of the Society’s rituals and traditions used during Executive Committee meetings and awards ceremonies were introduced by Executive Committee Members such as Patricia Arredondo who initiated a spiritual Mestizo ceremony and Joseph Trimble who introduced the Native American Indian Talking Stick ceremony.

During the second decade of the Society, we have doubled the number of our Council Representatives from one to two. Starting in 1999, and continuing in alternate years, Division 45 has been a major sponsor and organizer of the National Multicultural Conference and Summit. The Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues continues to grow and now has more than 1,600 members. Many of our founding members are still active in the governance of the division, providing the collective memory that allows us to mentor newer members and continue our progress.

One of the initial goals of the Society was to “Promote the study of ethnicity and culture in psychology”. Initially, this goal was achieved through scholarly presentations at the APA annual convention. The goal of development of an official divisional journal was realized in 1998 with the establishment of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Many of the first dreams of the Division have become realities. We know we still have far to go. The growth of the Society reflects the strength of our membership and the continued potential to achieve as we pause to celebrate, remember, honor, and consider how far we have come since the Division’s founding in 1986.

Past Presidents

Helen H. Hsu

Kevin Cokley

 Evie Garcia

Art Blume

Alvin Alvarez

Helen Neville

Enedina Vazquez

Jackie Gray

  The primary focus of my presidential term was on raising the awareness of the contributions of ethnic minorities to the field of psychology.  There were presentations on indigenous contributions to Maslow’s, Jung’s, Erickson’s, and Sherif and Sherif’s work that had never been acknowledged. We were also able to increase the number of Native American fellows in APA by 50%.

One of the most long lasting contributions was the establishment of the TIAA investment fund so we were able to earn more on the funds we were not using and become more financially stable than when I came into office.

We also established the Division 45 Biennial Conference as a part of Division 45.

Stanley Sue

Examine what works in research, theory, and practice; how far we have advanced in truly integrating culture, ethnicity and race into psychology and society; and the impact of research and practice on social justice, racism, and privilege. Present findings at the Division 45 APA Convention Program, Cultural Competency: What works in research, theory, and practice? Enact policies and procedures to increase the Division’s efficiency, transparency, and financial sustainability.

William E. Cross, Jr.

Expanded the EC to incorporate two new voting members: A person of color representing LGBTQ Community and a person representing Arab-Americans.  Saw the revamping of the D45 Webpage.

Luis A. Vazquez

Development of a Division 45 online repository of diversity literature in psychology. Promoting the contributions of psychology and diversity to the STEM fields. Sustaining the division’s commitment to the pipeline of psychologists at all levels.

Justin (Doug) McDonald

“Putting Diversity into Leadership Action.” Established a Governance Committee to promote diversity in APA governance. Revived previous efforts to re-name the division because of U.S. demographic changes, and oversaw process till completion.

Jean Lau Chin

Diversity and Leadership Initiative to promote division 45 leadership. Celebration of Division 45’s 25th Anniversary and logo pin for induction of past-presidents.

Robert M. Sellers

Initiated Inaugural Division 45 Conference.

J. Manuel Casas

Advocated for greater attention to immigration and children.

Beth Boyd

Established Council of Past Presidents.

Frederick Leong

Launched Division 45 Book Series, Established Task Force for Scientific Affairs, Presidential Citations for leading psychological scientists from Division 45.

Toy Caldwell-Colbert

Organized a national conference on immigration, in collaboration with Division 35. Celebration of Division 45’s 20th anniversary.

Eduardo Morales

Developed proposal for a conference on evidence-based interventions and developed five-year (2005-10) strategic plan for Division 45.

Steven James

Brought attention to people of mixed races and their families, and to historical abuse of people of color.

Jeffery Mio

Built bridges with allies, using a broader definition of diversity.

A.J. Franklin

Attended United Nations World Conference and advocated on behalf of Division 45 against racism in Durham, South Africa at the United Nations World Conference.

Patricia Arrendondo

Collaborated with several APA divisions on multicultural and diversity initiatives, introduced spiritual Mestizo ceremony during division business meetings.

Joseph Trimble

Introduced Talking Stick ceremony, student involvement in division governance, division recognition of outstanding student poster presentations, Division 45 website, initiated a royalty procedure where book authors and editors contribute a percent of their royalties to the division.

Derald Wing Sue

Initiatives on multicultural competencies and dissemination of ethnic minority scholarship, Inaugural National Multicultural Conference & Summit.

Lisa Porche-Burke

Sponsored scholarly discussion on Ebonics.

Guillermo Bernal

Oversaw launching of official division journal, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Charles Pine

Instituted culturally-based Division 45 traditions and rituals.

Gordon Nagayama Hall

Developed a strategic plan to increase membership, add an APA COR seat, elect an ethnic minority president of APA, and establish an official division journal.

Vera Paster

Founded Links & Shoulders, a mentorship program.

Amado Padilla

Established a Publications Committee to plan for an official division journal.

Teresa LaFromboise

Appointed a Task Force on Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Concerns and a Task Force on Women.

Dalmas Taylor

Initiated membership drive to increase division membership.

Chalso Loo and John Moritsugu

Established divisional infrastructure and regularities.

Esteban Olmedo

Defined and developed organizational characteristics, structure and functions of the new division.

Initial Steering Committee

Esteban Olmedo

Lillian Comas-Díaz

John Moritsugu

Melba Vasquez
Council Representative

First Elected Executive Committee

Chalsa M. Loo

John Moritsugu

Dalmas A. Taylor

Esteban Olmedo
Past Founding President

Lillian Comas-Díaz

Melba Vasquez
Council Representative

Lisa Porché-Burke
Member at Large

Teresa LaFromboise
Member at Large

Charles Pine
Member at Large

Hortensia Amaro
Member at Large

Joseph Trimble
Fellows Committee Chair

Eduardo Morales
Convention Program Chair

William D. Parham
Membership Chair

James Jones
Newsletter Editor

Additional Founding Members

Amado Padilla
Founding Member

Maxine Rawlins
Founding Member

Clive Kennedy
Founding Member

Halford Fairchild
Founding Member

Arthur W. Blue
Founding Member

Susan Berger
Founding Member

Robert A. Ramos
Founding Member

Anthony J. Marsella
Founding Member