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.
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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:
- Providing education and resources on APA's and psychiatry's history regarding structural racism;
- Explaining the current impact of structural racism on the mental health of our patients and colleagues;
- Developing achievable and actionable recommendations for change to eliminate structural racism in the APA and psychiatry now and in the future;
- Providing reports with specific recommendations for achievable actions to the APA Board of Trustees at each of its meetings through May 2021; and
- 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]
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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
- Final Report of the Presidential Task Force on Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry, May 11, 2021 (.pdf)
- Report of the Presidential Task Force on Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry to the APA Board of Trustees, Mar. 12, 2021 (.pdf)
- Report of the Presidential Task Force on Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry to the APA Board of Trustees, Dec. 12, 2020 (.pdf). At its December 2020 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved Actions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 requested by the Task Force. It voted to consider and revisit Action 5 at its March 2021 meeting.
- Take the Well-Being Self Assessment 2.0. APA is seeking to learn more about well-being and burnout among psychiatrists in general and among minority and underrepresented psychiatrists, specifically.
- November 2020 Update: During the November 2020 Town Hall, Dr. Michele Reid, member of the APA Board of Trustees and Structural Racism Task Force member, presented an update on the work of the Task Force. Read the report here (.pdf) and watch her update at this timestamped video.
- Report of the Presidential Task Force on Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry to the APA Board of Trustees, Sept. 13, 2020)(.pdf)
- At its October 2020 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved Actions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 requested by the Task Force. APA members can review the Board of Trustees meeting minutes on the Governance Meeting Archives page.
- A Psych News Q&A with Task Force Leadership: APA Task Force Charged With Examining Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry, July 30, 2020
- APA Presidential Task Force to Address Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry Begins Its Work, July 2, 2020
- New APA task force seeks to address structural racism through psychiatry, Mental Health Weekly, July 10, 2020
District Branch and Assembly Actions
- Summary of Component Actions - December 12, 2020 (.pdf)
- APA Assembly Area 4 Council Virtual Event, January 16, 2021 – Honoring Rev. Dr. King: Examining Bias in Ourselves. RSVP Required. Download the event flyer here (.pdf).
- APA Assembly Area 4 Council Virtual Event, October 31, 2020 – The Pervasive Reach of Racism - Part 1 Trauma. Space is limited. Download the event flyer with registration information (.pdf).
- New York County Psychiatric Society Webinar Series – NYCPS is hosting a monthly series entitled Dismantling Racism: Building Anti-Racist Psychiatrists. Past recordings and dates for future events are available at NYCPS's website. Learn more here.
- Report from the APA Assembly Area 1 Council: Recommended Changes at Council Meetings to Address Racism (.pdf)
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)
- APA Presidential Task Force on Structural Racism Glossary of Terms
- Anti-Racism and Race Literacy: A Primer and Toolkit for Medical Educators
- Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health Care: Evidence and Policy Implications
- Racial/ethnic discrimination and prosecution: A meta-analysis
- Mental health of immigrants and refugees seeking legal services on the US-Mexico border
- That Which is Essential has been Made Invisible: The Need to Bring a Structural Risk Perspective to Reduce Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare
- Stopping Discrimination Before It Starts: The Impact of Civil Rights Laws on Healthcare Disparities - A Medical School Curriculum
- Racism as a Determinant of Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- The Essence of Innocence: Consequences of Dehumanizing Black Children
- Mental Health Disparities, Treatment Engagement, and Attrition Among Racial/Ethnic Minorities with Severe Mental Illness: A Review
- Social vulnerabilities for substance use: Stressors, socially toxic environments, and discrimination and racism
- A current re-examination of racial/ethnic disparities in the use of substance abuse treatment: Do disparities persist?
- Disparities in the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders: Does Where You Live Matter?
- Examining the Impact of Structural Racism on Food Insecurity: Implications for Addressing Racial/Ethnic Disparities
- Triple jeopardy: the joint impact of racial segregation and neighborhood poverty on the mental health of black Americans
- Unconscious Bias and the Diagnosis of Disruptive Behavior Disorders and ADHD in African American and Hispanic Youth
Racism in Psychiatry
- Beyond misdiagnosis, misunderstanding and mistrust: relevance of the historical perspective in the medical and mental health treatment of people of color
- Invoking History and Structural Competency to Minimize Racial Bias
- Structural Racism And Health Inequities: Old Issues, New Directions
- Healthcare Disparities
- Medical Ethics and Health Equity: The Henrietta Lacks Story
- Ending Discrimination Against People with Mental and Substance Use Disorders: The Evidence for Stigma Change
- Using the Implicit Associations Test to Promote Reflection About Personal Bias
Skills for Residents to Address Racism in Clinical Settings.
- How Psychiatrists Can Talk with Patients and Their Families About Race and Racism (.pdf)
- Structural competency: theorizing a new medical engagement with stigma and inequality
- Responding to Racism from Patients, Families, and Guests Towards Residents and Practicing Physicians
- When Race Matters on the Wards: Talking About Racial Health Disparities and Racism in the Clinical Setting
- (Report) Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity: A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General
- (Article) COVID-19, Structural Racism, and Mental Health Inequities: Policy Implications for an Emerging Syndemic
- (Course) Structural Competency: Curriculum for Medical Students, Residents, and Interprofessional Teams on the Structural Factors That Produce Health Disparities
- (Book) Structural Competency in Mental Health and Medicine:A Case-Based Approach to Treating the Social Determinants of Health
- (Book) Racism and Psychiatry: Contemporary Issues and Interventions
- (Book) The Social Determinants of Mental Health
- (Book) Social (In)Justice and Mental Health
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
- APA Presidential Task Force to Address Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry Begins Its Work 2 July 2020)
- American Psychiatric Association and National Medical Association Jointly Condemn Systemic Racism in America (16 June 2020)
- APA Condemns Racism in All Forms, Calls for End to Racial Inequalities in U.S. (1 June 2020)
- COVID-19 and Anti-Asian Racism (1 June 2020)
- APA Condemns Police Brutality, Calls for Dialogue to Ease Civil Unrest (29 May 2020)
- APA Urges HHS to Collect Data on COVID-19's Impact on Vulnerable Populations (.pdf) 21 April 2020)
- APA Joins Multi-society Letter Against Stigmatization of Asian American Culture During COVID-19 (.pdf) (20 April 2020)
- APA Statement on COVID-19 and Health Disparities (11 April 2020)
- Recognizing and Addressing Bias in the Workplace (28 February 2020)
- Addressing Mental Health Stigma in African American and Other Communities of Color (4 February 2020)
- Microaggressions: Subtle, Pervasive, Harmful (13 December 2019)
- What APA is Doing for You: Diversity and Health Equity Resources (16 July 2019)
Psychiatric News Articles
- Rep. Grace Meng Addresses APA Caucus of Asian American Psychiatrists (November 2020)
- Mental Wear and Tear of Black Genu Protests (November 2020)
- APA/APAF Minority Fellows Outline Action Plan to End Racial Inequalities in Medical Education (August 2020)
- Black Identity Politics and Psychiatry (July 2020)
- A Race for a Bigger Brain (July 2020)
- America's First Asylum for African Americans Marks 150th Anniversary (July 2020)
- We Need to Talk Nondefensively About Race and Admit Shortcomings (July 2020)
- Physicians Advocate for Black Patients, Colleagues (July 2020)
- Antidote for Inhumanity (July 2020)
- Should I Ask Patients About Racism In Appointments? (July 2020)
- Structural Racism in American Psychiatry and APA: Part 2 (July 2020)
- Structural Racism in American Psychiatry and APA: Part 1 (June 2020)
- Psychiatrists Demand Action on Racism (June 2020)
- Black Psychiatrists Call on White Colleagues To Dismantle Racism in Profession, APA (June 2020)
- Racism and Inequities in Health Care for Black Americans (June 2020)
- Minority, Underrepresented Members Connect Through Caucuses (February 2020)
- 50 Years After the Civil Rights Era, Racism in Psychiatric Training Remains (May 2019)
- 'Black Men in Psychiatry Early Pipeline Program' Highlights Mentoring, Relationship Building (May 2019)
- When Diversity Is Not Enough (August 2019)
- Stewart to Focus on APA's Being a Leader On Issues of Diversity and Inclusion (May 2018)
- Why Talking About Diversity Matters (November 2017)
- Pernicious Effects of Racism Discussed in Session Honoring Chester Pierce, M.D. (July 2017)
- Diversity 3.0: From Fairness to Excellence (February 2016)
- Racism Lingers in Mental Health System (November 2013)
Glossary of Terms
A glossary of terms to know for providing culturally competent care, created by the Task Force.
American Journal of Psychiatry Articles
- Psychiatry Diversity Leadership in Academic Medicine: Guidelines for Success
- Dimensions of Institutional Racism in Psychiatry
- Benjamin Rush and the Negro
- Problems of Black Psychiatric Residents in White Training Institutes
- Beware of Whites Bearing Gifts
- The Social Psychiatry of Frantz Fanon
- Reflections on Racism
- Research and Careers for Blacks
- The Social Determinants of Mental Health
Compton, M. & Shim, R. (2015).
- Black Mental Health: Patients, Providers, and Systems
- "International Medical Graduates IMG", March 2, 2021
Finding Our Voice Podcast, APPI
- "The Black Minority in America", February 9, 2021
Finding Our Voice Podcast, APPI
- "Hispanic Heritage", December 23, 2020
Finding Our Voice Podcast, APPI
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.
The following are recommendations from members of the Task Force.
JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
- Eradicating Racial Injustice in Medicine—If Not Now, When?
- Association of Racial Bias With Burnout Among Resident Physicians.
Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association
American Journal of Psychotherapy
New England Journal of Medicine
- Race and Medicine
A selection of articles on race and medicine, with implications for improving patient care, professional training, research, and public health.
- Diagnosing and Treating Systemic Racism
- Why I Stay – The Other Side of Underrepresentation in Academia
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion That Matter
- Stolen Breaths
- Majority Taxes — Toward Antiracist Allyship in Medicine
- Creating Real Change at Academic Medical Centers — How Social Movements Can Be Timely Catalysts
Annals of Family Medicine
News and Media
- Coming Together: Standing up to Racism Town Hall Part 1, Sesame Street in Communities via YouTube, October 2020
- For Doctors of Color, Microaggressions Are All Too Familiar, New York Times, August 2020
- To Be Young, A Doctor And Black: Overcoming Racial Barriers In Medical Training, NPR, July 2020
- 'Bear Our Pain': The Plea For More Black Mental Health Workers, NPR, June 2020
- How To Protest Safely During The Coronavirus Pandemic, Huffington Post, June 2020
- Structural Racism Is Why I'm Leaving Organized Psychiatry, STAT, June 2020
- UCSF School of Medicine suspends affiliation with Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Society, UCFS News, June 2020
- White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America, What is Black Podcast, June 2020
- Whiteness on the Couch, Longreads, August 2019
- The 1619 Project, Wikipedia, 2019
Websites and Documents
- Addressing and Eliminating Racism at the AAMC and Beyond (American Association of Medical Colleges)
- Structural Racism, (Resources from The Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit think-tank.)
- Structural Racism (A paper By Keith Lawrence, Aspen Institute on Community Change and Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center at UC Berkeley, For the Race and Public Policy Conference, 2004.)
- Being Antiracist(A resource from the National Museum of African American History & Culture's Talking About Race site.)
- 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.