Migrant Liberation Psychology: Coalition for the Study of Health, Power and Diversity

The Coalition for the Study of Health, Power, and Diversity (CESPYD) located at the University of Seville, Spain Department of Psychology has as its primary mission to develop a psychology of liberation of the process of migration. To carry out its mission, the coalition sponsors several community-based research projects designed to increase the power, health and wellbeing of low-income immigrants, which are among the most disenfranchised groups in Europe. European social policies call for the development of explanatory models, methodological tools and practices to address the needs and challenges face by immigrants. We particularly work with Moroccans in Andalusia, one of the most oppressed ethnic groups in Southern Europe.

Since 2008, CESPYD has included a group of investigators from the Universidad de Sevilla and it belongs to the European network HOME (COST, IS0603) [Health and Social Care for Migrants and Ethnic Minorities in Europe]. This network includes more than twenty universities around all Europe financed by the European Union, representing one of the most solid forms of support and cooperation between a multidisciplinary group of European scientists involved in this field. The mission of the network is to increase the quality and coherence of European scholarship on migration, especially related to health, well-being and the need to adapt community services to the new multicultural social fabric. Our activities are funded by the Commission of the European Communities, the National Plan of Investigation of the Ministry of Science,  the  Spanish National Fund of Sanitarian Investigation, managed by the National Ministry of Health, the General Board of Migration Politics and the Regional Health Ministry of Andalusia.

CESPYD maintains a close cooperation with other groups and centers on a national and international level. Outstanding is the relation with the Universidad y Compromiso Social [University & Social Commitment] (UyCS), an initiative which encourages the creation and the harness of academic knowledge to impel a better society, linking communities and social movements with university settings. It also maintains a fluid collaboration with research institutes on an international level, such as the High Institute of Applied Psychology (ISPA) at Lisbon, the University Federico II at  Naples, the European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations (ERCOMER) at the  Utrecht University, the European Centre for the Study of Migration & Social Care (MASC) at the University of Kent and the Center for Capacity Building for Minorities with Disabilities Research (CCBMDR) at University of Illinois at Chicago.

CESPYD is coordinated by community and experimental psychologists from the Universidad de Sevilla and Almería who worked with a group of multidisciplinary partners including nurses, social anthropologists, psychologists and community activists. CESPYD functions as a center which internal operation is based on collaboration, synergies between disciplines, fostering effective communication and utilization of resources. Our work style promotes the development of innovative programmatic capacity by establishing useful and realistic goals driven by community needs and culturally competent interventions. Our format of collaboration allows us to fill gaps related to research on intercultural contacts and challenging community experiences of immigrants (e.g., discrimination, poverty and social fragmentation). At CESPYD we seek to involve community members in different phases of the research collaboration. For instance, one member is AMAL, a grassroots organization created by and composed of Andalusian Moroccan women, whose main goal is to empower and facilitate the integration of immigrant women. CESPYD researchers and community partners employ a collaborative and reflective methodology linking research and action and facilitating the empowerment process of participants and different stakeholders. The professionals and investigators are utmost sensitive to the multicultural transformation of the social fabric their training, research and service activities are destined for. The vulnerable populations with work with have brought about changes and critical awareness within  us as we incorporate values based on the diversity and multicultural background of the participants.