CESPYD: the Coalition for the Study of Health, Power and Diversity
Since 2008, CESPYD, the Center of Community Research and Action at University of Sevilla, has as its primary mision to develop a liberation psychology process through community research-action projects aimed at increasing the power, health and well-being of vulnerable groups and ethnic minorities such as low income migrants, refugees or Roma population.
The current European social policies call for the development of explanatory models, methodological tools and innovative practices to address the needs and challenges faced by these groups. Following these recommendations, CESPYD is composed of a multidisciplinary group of researchers and activists from the University of Sevilla among which there are community and experimental psychologists and nurses. 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. This format of collaboration allows us to fill gaps related to research on intercultural contacts and challenging community experiences of the most vulnerable groups (e.g., discrimination, poverty and social fragmentation). In this sense, in CESPYD we seek to involve community members in different phases of the research collaboration. For that, we employ a collaborative and reflective methodology linking research and action and facilitating the empowerment process of participants and different stakeholders. In this way, both researchers and key stakeholders from the community are utmost sensitive to the multicultural transformation of the social fabric, their training, research and the activities developed in their contexts. Likewise, this allows bringing changes and arising awareness in both sides and within vulnerable populations as we incorporate values based on the diversity and multicultural background of the participants as well as the challenging sociopolitical context in which we are immersed.
Since its foundations, CESPYD’s activities have been funded by important organizations and institutions at national, Europe and and international levels, among them, COST network, the International Organization for Migrations, the Open Society Foundations, European Commission’s DG SANTE, or the Spanish Ministry of Economics and Competitiviness. In CESPYD we maintain a close cooperation with other national and international research groups and centers, for example, with the Instituto Interuniversitario de Desarrollo Social y Paz de la Universidad de Alicante, the Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto, the Dipartimento di Psicologia de la Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano, the Center for Capacity Building on Minorities with Disabilities Research at University of Illinois at Chicago, or the Norwegian Centre for Migration and Minority Health.