Cesareo Fernandez Gomez, Ph.D.
- Fellow, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre
Background and Professional Interests
I am Director of CIDECOT Community Development S.L. I have a graduate degree in Organizational Psychology and Clinical Psychology. I earned a Master degree in Public Health (Addictions) at the University of Deusto (Spain), and a PhD in Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). From 2006 to 2011, I have been a post-doctoral researcher and a visiting scholar with the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas. I am also studying Political Science, Philosophy, Clinical Psychology and Theology. I specialize in clinical and community psychology, with a special emphasis on community health and development in rural areas of Latin America, Spain, and other European countries.
I am especially interested in evaluative research on public health, mental health, substance abuse, vulnerable populations such as children and elderly, as well as in community-based participatory research on how community action and changes can promote integral and sustainable development and health in rural communities.
Why I chose to be engaged in this work/How I came to be engaged in this work
After approximately 20 years of managing research and training programs on public health and clinical and community psychology at a national (Spain) and European level, my colleagues and I understood that community risk, protective factors, and determinants for community health and development were becoming increasingly relevant for explaining public health and development issues, and they were receiving less attention than needed in public policies concerning them. Most public health and development policies and practices have been planned and implemented at a program level, but they were not attaining the expected impact and outcomes. Furthermore, European Commission and national governments from European Countries were demanding more active and responsible participation from civil society in those efforts, while civil society demanded an increased ability to actively participate in designing and planning those public policies, practices and programs. These processes have been consolidating in Europe, and actually there is a clear need to make sure that democracy becomes really participative and focused on community needs and resources. These are the main reasons why from 2006 until today I engaged in translating the Community Tool Box into Spanish, adapting it to Spanish-speaking populations, and enhancing its evidence base in these contexts.
Description of the work I am engaged in
After my return from this KU Center on 2011, I have begun managing community health and development programs in rural settings in my homeland in the Cantabric Area, northwest Spain, and I am also engaged in similar efforts in other European countries, building a collaborative research team focused on these issues. Furthermore, I am also collaborating with the KU Center in similar initiatives in Latin American countries such as Columbia and Venezuela. I look forward to expanding the collaborative research network in Latin America. My community approach entails engaging a broad participation from civil society actors such as individuals, families, neighborhood associations, other NGOs, universities, business, public institutions, and churches in order to deal with community development and health issues.