Faculty Profiles

Sally Schwer Canning Headshot

Sally Schwer Canning, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology

On Faculty since 1994
BGH M241


A community/clinical child psychologist, Dr. Canning is committed to learning from and serving urban low-income children and families of color, linking the resources of faith-based community and campus organizations for the benefit of under-resourced communities, and training psychologists for competent practice with underserved populations. Dr. Canning's work in the community supports the healthcare and educational objectives of faith-based community organizations serving poor urban neighborhoods.

Her current projects include a program of research on pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders in low-income Latino and African American populations and an integrative examination of the idea of "self-care" for helping professionals. Articles published by Dr. Canning may be found in the Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, The Community Psychologist, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Health and Development, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Journal of Psychology and Theology, and the Journal of Psychology and Christianity. Dr. Canning, her husband, and her daughter are grateful to belong to a church on the West side of Chicago that is committed to faith-based community development and racial reconciliation.

University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D., Professional-Scientific Psychology (APA Approved), 1994

Institute for Juvenile Research, UIC, Chicago, IL
Post-doctoral training, 1994

Hahnemann University Hospital (APA Approved), Philadelphia, PA
Internship, 1992

University of Pennsylvania
M.S. Ed., Psychological Services, 1988

Gettysburg College
B.A., Music Performance, 1982

Illinois Department of Professional Regulation
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, 1997

  • Pregnancy
  • Community Psychology
  • Child Psychology
  • Postpartum Mood Disorders
  • American Psychological Association: member
  • Society for Community Research & Action: member
  • Christian Community Health Fellowship: member
  • Christian Association for Psychological Studies: member

Beyond the Institutional Review Board: Doing justice in community-based research
Transformation of the Person in Christ, sponsored by the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Philadelphia, PA, March 2007

  • Psyc 837 Developmental Psychopathology
  • Psyc 845 Child and Adolescent Interventions
  • Psyc 797 Practica-Seminar III-IV
  • Psyc 739 Community and Preventive Psychology
  • Psyc 714 Professional Development and Ethics I

Community and preventive psychology, Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal
Canning, S. S. & Jones, S., 2011

Psychological resources in faith-based community settings: Applications, adaptations, and innovations, Psychology and the church
Canning, S. S., 2005

Invitation to the table conversation: A few diverse perspectives on integration, Journal of Psychology and Christianity
Canning, S. S., Yangarber-Hicks, N., Behensky, C., Flanagan, K.S., Gibson, N. J. S., Hicks, M. W., Kimball, C. N., Pak, J. H., Plante, T., & Porter, S. L., 2006

Is cognitive bibliotherapy effective in treating depression?, Clinician’s Research Digest
Canning, S. S., Gregory, R. J., Lee, T. W. & Wise, J. C., 2004

Mental health: The hole in holistic Christian, community-based healthcare?, Health and Development
Canning, S. S., Neal, M., Fine, M. & Meese, K. J., 2002


Dr. Canning directs the Urban Community Health Lab.  The aim of this lab is to foster the health and flourishing of children, adults, and families living in poor, urban communities as well as the professionals and volunteers who serve there.

Currently, there are two active streams of research, affectionately known as Sisters’ Keepers and Going the Distance.

The first seeks to understand and support the health of patients at the Lawndale Christian Health Center in Chicago. Current projects target depression and domestic violence in women and low birth-weight in their babies. Another examines language and perceptions of Spanish-speaking online discussion group participants describing pregnancy and postpartum and mood experiences. Future projects could involve other patient groups and concerns within behavioral health.

The second line of research is aimed at understanding and encouraging healthy practices, wellbeing and faithfulness in individuals and faith-based community organizations serving in high-stress, economically poor contexts.