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Structural Racism Task Force

The APA Presidential Task Force to Address Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry was formed by APA President Dr. Jeffrey Geller in June 2020. Read the announcement of the task force here.

The APA Board of Trustees Structural Racism Accountability Committee (SRAC) was formed in 2021 to ensure the recommendations of the 2020-2021 APA Presidential Task Force to Address Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry (TFSR) are carried out. Learn more at the link below.

Learn more about SRAC here.

How To Share Links to these resources: right click on link, and click "Copy Link" or "Copy Link Address" (depending on your browser). The link can then be pasted into an email or social media.

Charge of the Task Force

Focusing on organized psychiatry, psychiatrists, psychiatric trainees, psychiatric patients, and others who work to serve psychiatric patients, the Task Force is initially charged with:

  1. Providing education and resources on APA's and psychiatry's history regarding structural racism;
  2. Explaining the current impact of structural racism on the mental health of our patients and colleagues;
  3. Developing achievable and actionable recommendations for change to eliminate structural racism in the APA and psychiatry now and in the future;
  4. Providing reports with specific recommendations for achievable actions to the APA Board of Trustees at each of its meetings through May 2021; and
  5. Monitoring the implementation of tasks 1-4.

The Task Force will initially focus on anti-Black racism.

Task Force Membership

  • Cheryl Wills, M.D., DFAPA - Chair
  • Renée Binder, M.D.
  • Frank Clark, M.D., F.P.A.
  • Charles Dike, FRCPsych, MBChB, M.P.H.
  • Mary Jo Fitz-Gerald, M.D., M.B.A., DLFAPA
  • Danielle Hairston, M.D.
  • Hunter L. McQuistion, M.D., DLFAPA
  • Michele Reid, M.D., DLFAPA, FACPsych
  • Steven Starks, M.D., FAPA
  • Richard F. Summers, M.D.
  • Sanya Virani, M.D., M.P.H.

Task Force Survey Results

The Task Force has fielded three short, informal surveys to ensure its work is informed by the field of psychiatry at large. More surveys are anticipated and will be shared here.

Members can provide direct feedback to the Task Force by emailing [email protected]

  1. Survey #1, fielded between June 30 and July 10, 2020, asked: "What are the top three areas the Task Force should focus on to address the impact of structural racism on our patients?" The top themes of the answers from about 485 respondents were: "Access to care," "Professional diversity," and "Experiences of racism." View a summary of results from the first survey here (.pdf)
  2. Survey #2, fielded between July 23 to August 6, 2020, asked: "What are the top three ways that institutional racism is reflected in APA as an organization?" The top themes of the answers from 731 respondents were: "Diversity in leadership," "None exists at APA," and "Other." View a summary of results from the second survey here (.pdf)
  3. Survey #3, fielded between October 5 to 23, 2020 covered eight questions focused on racism in psychiatric practice. View a summary of results from the third survey here (.pdf)
  4. Survey #4, fielded between March 29 - April 14, 2021 focused on how psychiatrists can support racial equity. View a summary of results from the third survey here (.pdf)

Task Force News and Reports

District Branch and Assembly Actions

Online Resources on Structural Racism in Psychiatry for Medical Students & Trainees in Psychiatry

The list is a compilation of online resources as an introduction to understanding structural racism in psychiatry by Dr. Badr Ratnakaran, (APA/APAF Leadership Fellow), Dr. Dhruv Gupta, (APA/APAF Diversity Leadership Fellow), Dr. Weei LoAllen, (APA/APAF Public Psychiatry Fellow), and Dr. Charles Dike (Member, APA Task Force on Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry).

A Primer of Online Resources on Structural Racism in Psychiatry for Medical Students & Trainees in Psychiatry (.pdf)

Structural Racism

Racism in Psychiatry

Skills for Residents to Address Racism in Clinical Settings.

Recommended Reading


Future and past town Halls planned by the Task Force and other organizations.

Town Hall - APA Addresses Structural Racism, Part 5: Annual Update

  • May 1, 2021
  • Part of the 2021 Annual Meeting
  • Cheryl Wills, M.D.; Michele Reid, M.D.; Renée Binder, M.D.; Charles Dike, M.D.

Join Task Force members in a discussion about their charge and other processes that have informed their work. Task Force members will share the recommendations for reform made by it in reports to the APA Board of Trustees and review particular Task Force activities.

Town Hall - APA Addresses Structural Racism, Part 4: Structural Racism and Psychiatric Residency Training: Recruitment, Retention, and Development

  • February 8, 2021
  • Sheritta Strong, M.D.; Crystal Clark, M.D.; Nhi-Ha Trinh, M.D.; Michael Mensah, M.D.; Michele Reid, M.D.

APA leadership and an esteemed panel host a virtual Town Hall to discuss how structural racism affects diversity in the psychiatry workforce. Topics will include the disproportionate number of minority psychiatrists, their experiences in different practice settings, and why having diversity in the psychiatric workforce psychiatry is important for everyone.

Town Hall - APA Addresses Structural Racism, Part 3: The Trauma of Structural Racism and its Transmission Across Generations

  • November 16, 2020
  • Ebony Dix, M.D.; Chuan-Mei Lee, M.D.; Peter Ureste, M.D.; Michele Reid, M.D..

APA leadership and an esteemed panel host a virtual Town Hall to discuss how in clinical settings structural racism manifests itself in relation to communities of color, particularly in children, adolescents, adults, older adults, and other populations ( i.e., LGBTQIA+).

Town Hall – APA Addresses Structural Racism, Part Two: The March Continues

  • August 24, 2020
  • Jeffrey Geller M.D., M.P.H.; Altha J. Stewart, M.D.; Aletha Maybank, M.D., M.P.H.; Kevin Simon, M.D.

APA Past President Dr. Altha Stewart, AMA Chief Health Equity Officer and Group Vice President Dr. Aletha Maybank, and 2020-21 REACH scholar Dr. Kevin Simon join APA President Dr. Jeffrey Geller to discuss how structural racism plays a role in inequalities and propose solutions to improve Black Americans' mental health outcomes. The town hall examines the following:

Structural Racism and Discrimination: Taking the First Steps Forward

  • Massachusetts Psychiatric Society
  • July 8, 2020
  • Jeffrey Geller M.D., M.P.H.; Sally Reyering, M.D., DFAPA; Kathy Sanders M.D.; Micaela Owusu, M.D., M.Sc.; Alex Keuroghlian, M.D., M.P.H.; Marshall Forstein, M.D.; Astrid Desrosiers, M.D., M.P.H.; and Destiny Pegram, M.D.

Leaders within organizational and academic psychiatry convened for the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society: Taking the First Steps Forward Town Hall in order to discuss issues related to structural racism and discrimination. The goal of this town hall was to highlight ongoing national and local efforts to ameliorate racism within our field. In addition to discussing their ongoing action plans, the distinguished panelists, including APA president Dr. Geller engaged in an extremely productive Q&A segment with the audience participants.

Member Town Hall – APA Addresses Structural Racism, Part One

  • June 5, 2020
  • Danielle Hairston, M.D.; Thea L. James, M.D.; Ayana Jordan, M.D., Ph.D.; Walter E. Wilson, Jr., M.D., M.H.A.; Jeffrey Geller, M.D., M.P.H.

These distinguished speakers discuss the ways in which APA can address structural racism, including the role of associations and allies in supporting this work. Panelists, including APA President Dr. Jeffrey Geller, shared their perspectives and participated in a Q&A session with APA members in a dialogue about the way forward for our organization.

APA Position Statements

Visit the APA Policy Finder to search for and view the following Position Statements, and more:

  • Position Statement on Resolution Against Racism and Racial Discrimination and Their Adverse Impacts on Mental Health
  • Position Statement on Diversity and Inclusion in the Physician Workforce
  • Position Statement on Police Brutality and Black Males
  • Position Statement on Police Interactions with Persons with Mental Illness
  • Position Statement on Xenophobia, Immigration, and Mental Health
  • Resource Document on How Psychiatrists Can Talk to Patients and Families About Race and Racism

APA Press Releases, Blogs & Letters

Psychiatric News Articles

Glossary of Terms

A glossary of terms to know for providing culturally competent care, created by the Task Force.

View the Glossary

American Journal of Psychiatry Articles

APA Books

APA Podcasts


Racism and Black Mental Health

This learning module prepares contemporary psychiatrists to practice with an anti-racism framework in the care of all patients, and especially African Americans. Competency in this area is provided through exploration of historical facts underscoring the linkage of "race" and material disadvantage in America, as well as the spread of scientific racism during nascent periods of psychiatry. Contemporary issues affecting African-American patients at the point of mental health care are emphasized, along with discussion of effective interventions for addressing the institutional, interpersonal, and internal manifestations of racism.

Responding to Racism from Patients, Families, and Guests Towards Residents and Practicing Physicians

Psychiatrists, and particularly psychiatry residents, are ill-equipped in recognizing and responding to racial discrimination from patients, families, and guests. The treatment settings within which they practice often fail to respond adequately and risk legal ramifications of failing to protect their employees against Title 7 violations. The module will address these gaps by providing guidelines, recommendations and case studies to address such discrimination.

Impact of Microagression on Mental Health Outcomes

This activity focuses on microaggressions and their relationship to mental health and physical illness. Using a pulsed learning format via email, you are provided with a series of 10 multiple-choice questions to be completed over time. Questions are emailed to users at pre-set intervals and quantities. By tackling only a few questions at a time, the pulsed learning format eliminates brain strain and re-focuses attention on the subject matter to improve knowledge retention.

Recommended Reading

The following are recommendations from members of the Task Force.

Medical Journals

JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association

American Journal of Psychotherapy

New England Journal of Medicine

Annals of Family Medicine

News and Media

Websites and Documents


  • Alexander, M. (2010). The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York: New Press.
  • Allen, T. (2012). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control. London New York: Verso.
  • Allen, T. (2012). The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo America. London New York: Verso.
  • Anderson, C. & Gibson, P. (2016). White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
  • Delgado, R. & Stefancic, J. (2012). Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. New York: New York University Press.
  • DiAngelo, R. (2018). White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.
  • Hooks, B. (1995). Killing Rage: Ending Racism. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
  • Kendi, I. (2019). How to be an antiracist. New York: One World.
  • Oluo, I. (2018). So You Want to Talk About Race. New York, NY: Seal Press Hachette Book Group.
  • Takaki, R. (2008). A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. New York: Back Bay Books/Little, Brown, and Co.
  • West, C. (2017). Race Matters. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Wilkerson, I. (2020). Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. New York: Random House.
  • Zinn, H. (2003). A People's History of the United States: 1492-2001. New York, New York: HarperCollins.

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