Alicia Nordstrom, Ph.D., professor of psychology and department chairperson at Misericordia University, co-authored the book, "Innovative Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Programs Across the World," in conjunction with Wind Goodfriend, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Buena Vista University, Iowa. The book was published by Routledge Press and is available for purchase on Amazon.
The 304-page book, released in October, offers practical stigma and discrimination reduction programs in a range of domains including mental health, disability, ethnicity, and sexuality. This book is the answer to "what can we do?" to improve interpersonal relationships by reducing societal stigma towards social groups that are prime targets of prejudice.
The book was inspired by a conference symposium that Goodfriend and Nordstrom presented at the International Convention of Psychological Science in Paris, France in March 2019. "Our panel was called "Innovative Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Interventions for Gender, Race, and Mental Health" and we were approached by a publishing consultant from Routledge Press. Wind and I decided to broaden the scope of the book to include a variety of stigma categories beyond the ones from our panel including poverty, weight, and age. We also sought out stigma interventionists from other countries to have a global representation and were thrilled to include researchers conducting programs in Australia, Canada, South America, and Africa," explained Nordstrom.
A series of critical world events happened while the pair worked on this book including the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in the United States, bushfires in Australia and, of course, the Covid 19 pandemic.
"As I was quarantined in my house for a year, I saw the making of this book as an outlet for positive change in the world. During a time when I felt helpless and powerless, my writing was one thing that I could do to make a difference and influence the uniting of humanity instead of division. As an anti-stigma researcher, I spend a great deal of time thinking about the "key" to social unification in terms of how we can come together to support each other and value each other's differences. We spend tremendous efforts trying to change each other's perspectives which only makes people dig deeper into their belief trenches," she said.
The authors see this book as an important tool that can be used in a variety of settings. "Wind and I want this book to be used and not just sit on a bookshelf. We made sure that the book was written to be accessible to a general audience including educators, interventionists, therapists, researchers, advocacy groups, social service providers and business personnel," Nordstrom stated. "Each chapter provides a description of the stigma reduction program along with a user-friendly description of the psychology theory and research studies that support it."
Nordstrom's passion for reducing stigma is expanding even further into the classroom and local community with her latest project, The Voices Project: Immigration. Participants from the project will share immigration stories in an upcoming show entitled "80 Minutes Around the World," hosted by renowned storyteller Nestor Gomez. The show, which focuses on reducing stigma towards immigrants, will be touring at Misericordia University, the F.M. Kirby Center and Scranton Cultural Center from April 28-30, 2022.
Nordstrom is a child clinical psychologist who joined the Misericordia University faculty in 2004. She resides near Hazleton, PA with her husband and son. She has also co-authored several book chapters in the field of psychology. She obtained her master’s degree from Purdue University and her Ph.D. in psychology from The Pennsylvania State University. She is a member of the Association for Psychological Science, as well as the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, all divisions of the American Psychological Association.