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APA SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Program Highlight: Dr. Atasha Jordan

  • January 16, 2023
  • Diversity News and Updates

By Alexis Victor, M.S.

“When I’m not in my office or in the hospital, you can find me collaborating with churches around Philadelphia. As an American Psychiatric Association (APA) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Fellow, my community engagement and research both focus on increasing mental health literacy among Black church leaders and Black congregations as a whole. This community work and research project was underway for the academic year 2021-2022.”

Meet Dr. Atasha Jordan, an APA SAMHSA Minority Fellow. The SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) aims to reduce health disparities and improve behavioral health care outcomes for racial and ethnic populations. These future psychiatry leaders have an opportunity to participate in APA councils and committees, attend monthly educational webinars, and develop a project around mental health inequities and workforce diversity.

Dr. Jordan will be presenting a talk during APA’s 2023 Annual Meeting, “Christian Mental Health Initiative: Mental Health First Aid Pilot with Black Churches in Philadelphia.” Studies suggest that most Black Christians seek help from church leaders in times of psychological distress, rather than from mental health clinicians. However, church leaders’ training focuses on spiritual health, not mental health. There is a need to increase mental health literacy within Black Christian communities to increase access to mental health services and reduce mental health disparities.

In addition to Dr. Jordan’s presentation, additional fellows of APA SAMHSA MFP will be presenting sessions on other topics including: “Patterns and Predictors of the Use of Chemical Sedation and Physical Restraints in Agitation Management” presented by Dr. Stephanie Eng, and “A Closer Look at Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Access Among Individuals Experiencing Homelessness” presented by Dr. Michael Hsu. Participants in these sessions will have the opportunity to engage with meeting attendees and panelists in individualized talks focusing on how early-career professionals can continue to advance psychiatry through the implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

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