Annual Meeting
Race, Politics, and Psychiatry
Psychiatric News
Volume 45 Number 7 page 22-22

Do the politics of race play a role in American psychiatry today?

That's the question that Donna Norris, M.D., will tackle at APA's 2010 annual meeting when she presents the Solomon Carter Fuller Lecture on Monday, May 24, at 3:30 p.m. in rooms R02-R05 in the Morial Convention Center.

The lecture is named in honor of the man recognized as the first African-American psychiatrist in the United States. Fuller, the grandson of an American slave who was born and raised in Liberia, moved to this country in 1889. He went on to achieve a distinguished career in medicine and medical research.

Norris is a child, adolescent, and forensic psychiatrist in private practice in Massachusetts and a member of the Program in Psychiatry and the Law at Beth Israel/Deaconess Hospital, Harvard Medical School. She has long been active in APA at both the district branch and national levels, including serving as speaker of APA's Assembly and APA's secretary-treasurer. Norris is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Women of Courage and Conviction Award of the National Council of Negro Women, Massachusetts Outstanding Psychiatrist Award for the Advancement of the Profession, and APA presidential commendations in 2002 and 2008.

Norris will offer insights into Fuller's views of racial politics in medicine in his day and compare them with the views of African-American psychiatrists from the late 20th and early 21st centuries, some of whom have served in elected offices at APA and allied health organizations. Taking their perspectives into account, she will discuss the influence of race and politics in organized psychiatry in America today and its impact on health care for African-American and other underrepresented minority patient groups.

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