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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee Statement

On behalf of the Society of Addiction Psychology (Division 50) and with the full support of its Executive Committee, we, the members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, affirm the following.

We stand with the Black and African American community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality. We condemn the oppression of Black communities. We fully support structural and policy changes that will decrease and eliminate the incidence of police brutality and state-sanctioned violence against communities of color.

We recognize that all lives do not matter until Black lives matter.

As substance use researchers and treatment professionals, we acknowledge the institutional and structural racism that is inherent in the US drug policy and the disproportionate harm inflicted onto the Black and other minoritized and marginalized communities. Through our roles and work within interlocking institutions of oppression (e.g., academic, research and treatment systems), we acknowledge that we can be complicit in systemic oppression. We are committed to using our platforms to pursue justice and equity in substance use research and treatment.

We also acknowledge that while some of us, as individuals, have sought to be allies for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQIA communities, we have not done enough as a Division and thus must continue to fight for equity. We must confront White supremacy, anti-Blackness, and systemic racism in ourselves and our institutions to more fully align and ally with communities of color. As members of Division 50, we commit to examining our own relationship to anti-Blackness and systemic racism and to continually work toward being an anti-racist organization.  

Over the past year, the DEI Committee has identified three priority areas and have been working toward fostering a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment in Division 50:

  1. Embed DEI focused policies into all aspects of Division 50;
  2. Increase the Division’s profile of research on diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice causes and honor the contributions of scientists from underrepresented minority backgrounds, through diversity-themed research programming and awards; and
  3. Work closely with the Division 50 Membership Committee on recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority groups.

The DEI Committee priority areas received support from the Division 50 Executive Committee. In the past year, we engaged in actions to support these goals:

  • Challenge the existing APA programming review criteria and ensure DEI-focused criteria are built into the convention programming review process;
  • Secure DEI committee representation at Executive Council meetings;
  • Establish diversity-themed awards to ensure members from underrepresented minority groups are honored for their work;
  • Make changes to existing grants for students to ensure dedicated line of grant funding for research on issues of diversity, health equity, and disparities in addiction;
  • Create a mentorship program for BIPOC students and early career professionals; and,
  • Increase outreach to BIPOC students and members through social media, cross-division collaboration and podcasts that are inclusive and representative.

In addition to these efforts, a Conference Diversity Committee at the Collaborative Perspectives on Addiction (CPA) was established in 2019 to ensure that the conference fosters an inclusive and supportive environment for attendees from underrepresented minority groups, and welcomes representations from diverse backgrounds. The CPA 2019 Program Committee established new diversity travel awards for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. The Division 50 DEI Committee will continue to coordinate with the CPA Program Committee in the future.

We have made solid strides toward these priority areas over the past year, and we vow to continue building on the current momentum toward pursuing justice and equity, promoting representation of underrepresented minority groups, and amplifying BIPOC voices in addiction psychology.


The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

With the full support of the Division 50 Executive Committee

Members of the DEI committee (and co-authors of this statement):
Seema  L. Clifasefi, Chair
Susan E. Collins
Noah N. Emery
Silvi Goldstein
Thomas Le
Christina Lee
P. Priscilla Lui
Dennis C. Wendt
Byron L. Zamboanga
Members of the Executive Committee:
Linda Carter Sobell, Current President (2019-2020)
James H. Bray
Jen Buckman, Past President (2018-2019)
Julie V. Cristello
Noah N. Emery
Joel Grube, Incoming President (2020-2021)
Raymond F. Hanbury, Past President (1994-1995)
Bruce S. Liese, Past President (2017-2018)
Linda (Skalski) Rinehart
Ty S. Schepis
Melissa Schick
Mark Sobell, President Elect (2021-2022)
Committee Chairs:
Michael Amlung
Elizabeth Aston
Clara M. Bradizza
Susan E. Collins
David Eddie
Lauren A. Hoffman
Megan Kirouac
Christina Lee
Dana Litt
Sherry McKee, Past President (2015-2016)
Ellen L. Vaughan
Katie Witkiewitz, Past President (2016-2017)

Please reach out to Seema Clifasefi ( if you have any questions or wish to learn more about the APA Division 50 DEI committee.



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