The council has the responsibility for the representation of and advocacy for both minority and underserved populations and psychiatrists from minority and underrepresented groups. The council seeks to reduce mental health disparities in clinical services and research, which disproportionately affect women and minority populations. The council aims to increase awareness and understanding of cultural diversity* and to foster the development of attitudes, knowledge, and skills in the areas of cultural competence through consultation, education, and advocacy within both the APA and the field of psychiatry** and public policy. The council aims to promote the recruitment into the profession and into the APA and retention/leadership development of psychiatrists from minority and underrepresented groups both within the profession and in the APA. The council has the responsibility for selection of persons for the following awards subject to the APA approval process: Kun-Po Soo, Solomon Fuller Carter, Fryer, Simon Bolivar, Alexandra Symonds, and Tarjan. The Council will constitute workgroups of members to implement its charge.
From the 1999 APA Position Statement on Diversity:
- Cultural diversity includes issues of race, sex, language, age, country of origin, sexual orientation, religious/spiritual beliefs, social class, and physical disability.
- Defined as "including in undergraduate and graduate medical education, in faculty development, in research, in psychiatric administration, and in clinical practice."
The composition of the council includes, but is not limited to, the chairperson (who will be appointed from amongst the twelve members of the Council), the immediate past or a former Chair (in keeping with existing tenure rules), the Chair of the MUR Assembly representatives, an ECP representative, an Assembly representative, and at least one psychiatrist with knowledge/expertise for each of the following underserved patient populations/psychiatrist MUR groups: American Indian, Alaska Native & Native Hawaiians; Asian Americans; Blacks/African-Americans; Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals; Hispanics/Latinos; Women; and International Medical Graduates. In addition, one member position would include a psychiatrist with knowledge/expertise in the area of religion/spirituality and psychiatry. These psychiatrists must be representative of these APA-recognized MUR groups and whenever possible be actively engaged with allied groups related to the MUR group to foster collaboration.
Re-established May 2009, the Council on Minority Mental Health and Health Disparities subsumed the charges of the former components listed below after they were sunset in May 2009. Sunset Components: Committee of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Psychiatrists, Committee of Asian American Psychiatrists, Committee of Black Psychiatrists, Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues, Committee of Hispanic Psychiatrists, Committee on International Medical Graduates, Committee on Women, Corresponding Committee on Religion, Spirituality, and Psychiatry; Retained Components: Caucus of Rural Psychiatrists; Added Components: Caucus on Spirituality, Religion and Psychiatry (7/11).