The American Psychological Association's (APA) Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs (OEMA) was created to increase the scientific understanding of how culture pertains to psychology, and how ethnicity influences behavior. Among the most salient tasks of OEMA are efforts to increase and enhance the delivery of appropriate psychological services to ethnic minority communities and to encourage all psychologists to develop some minimal level of multicultural competence. It also seeks to promote both greater inclusion of ethnic minorities in organized psychology and the development of public policies that support the concerns of ethnic minority psychologists and their communities. The OEMA also promotes recruitment, retention, and training opportunities for members of ethnic minorities in psychology. Some of the specific programs administered by OEMA are the Diversity Project 2000 and Beyond; Committee on Ethnic Minority Recruitment and Retention (CEMRRAT) Implementation Grant Fund for the APA 5-Year Plan for Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention and Training, and the Psychology in Ethnic Minority Serving Institutions (PEMSI) initiative. The OEMA is actively involved in publications, special projects, and grants in an effort to reach its goals.
OEMA also administers federally funded projects related to school violence prevention, health disparities, and the integration of mental health into public primary healthcare settings. In addition, OEMA operates a Psychology and Racism project and a job bank service. Finally, the office provides administrative support for the APA's Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA); Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training in Psychology Task Force (CEMRRAT2 TF); Textbook Initiative Work Group (TIWG); and the Council of National Psychological Associations for the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Interests (CNPAAEMI).
The APA Committee of Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) was established by the Executive Committee of the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology (SIOP) and is administered by OEMA. It began with general concerns related to industrial and organizational aspects of concern to ethnic minorities (Native American/Alaskan Native, Asian/Pacific American, African/Caribbean American, and Latino/Hispanic American). Among the goals of CEMA is to increase the scientific understanding of those aspects of I-O psychology that pertain to culture and ethnicity; increasing educational, training, job, and career opportunities for ethnic minority persons in I-O psychology; and promoting the development of culturally sensitive models for the delivery of services in I-O psychology. CEMA has evolved into a more inclusive agency, and now its vision is to enhance ethnically diverse and multicultural environments in such a way that all APA members will see themselves as more competent and empowered to achieve their own and collective goals. CEMA is also committed to disseminate its mission throughout APA to such an extent that its values and goals will reach the larger community. CEMA has promoted the integration of a multicultural psychology and is a contributor, together with other divisions and committees, to the APA Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists approved in 2002 as APA policy by the Council of Representatives. These fundamental guidelines were implemented to promote and ensure cultural sensitivity and competence throughout activities included in the profession of psychology.