Association News
Psychiatrists, Advocates Partner To End MH Care Disparities
Psychiatric News
Volume 40 Number 17 page 35-35

More than 100 psychiatrists, other health care providers, and community leaders joined forces in late July to advance a collaborative effort to eliminate ethnic and racial disparities in mental health care.

The event was hosted by the Black Psychiatrists of Greater New York and Associates and the United Social Services Inc. of the New York Society for Ethical Culture; it was sponsored by the American Psychiatric Foundation, APA's Department of Minority and National Affairs, and the National Medical Association's Psychiatry Section.

CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller Morial served as the moderator of the event, which explored the strategies of the partnering organizations in addressing ethnic and racial disparities.

“While psychiatry can and should take a leadership role in addressing minority mental health issues, we believe it is imperative that a broader group organize around this effort,” said Altha Stewart, M.D., president of the American Psychiatric Foundation. “This event is an example of the type of intellect, energy, and commitment necessary to address the complex issue of disparities.”

“Today was about demonstrating how these collaborations can work to help serve our patients and community,” said Phyllis Harrison-Ross, M.D., an APA distinguished life fellow. Harrison-Ross played an integral role in organizing the event.

Following the panel discussion, guests were treated to a performance of the Dance Theatre of Harlem's Dancing Through Barriers Ensemble. Executive Director Naidu Laveen described how the Dance Theatre of Harlem has been“ dancing through barriers” since its inception in 1969. It acts as a “traveling university,” working to educate young people about the art of dance.

“This event was a true celebration of our efforts to eliminate disparities. The name Dancing Through Barriers speaks to bridging gaps and moving from oppression and depression to expression,” said Annelle Primm, M.D., director of APA's Department of Minority and National Affairs.“ The beautiful performance before an audience of people from diverse backgrounds helped us publicize our efforts to break down barriers to mental health and quality of life for all Americans.”

This event was supported through an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer. ▪

Mary Claire Leftwich is the development assistant and Michele Werner is the development officer at the American Psychiatric Foundation.

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