Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Committee celebrates leaders in psychiatry

The Department of Psychiatry DEI Committee will be marking this month by highlighting different people and statistics relevant to people of color in mental health.

Mamie Phipps Clark, PhD (1917 -1983) 

Mamie Phipps Clark was the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate degree in psychology from Columbia University. She previously earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Howard University. Her experience in college and specifically graduate level courses helped Clark realize the shortage of psychological services available to the African American community and other minorities.  Her groundbreaking research on the impact of race on child development helped end segregation and was influential in desegregation efforts including the Brown vs. Board of Education in 19554. Her dedication and passion for adequate mental health services for all prompted Dr. Clark to open her own agency to provide comprehensive psychological services to the poor, blacks, and other minority children and families.  In February 1946, Dr. Clark and her husband opened the doors of “The Northside Center for Child Development” for those in the Harlem area.  She worked in the center counseling and providing other psychological services from 1946 until 1979, when she retired.  Although retired, Clark served on different advisory boards and was still very active within her community.  Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark died on August 11, 1983. 

James P. Comer, M.D., M.P.H . 

Dr. Comer is the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine’s Child Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut. He is known nationally and internationally for his creation of the Comer School Development Program in 1968 within Yale University’s School of Medicine. Dr. Comer’s has focused his career on improving school restructuring and has been featured in numerous newspaper, magazine and television reports, while also having several articles published in academic journals. He is a co-founder and past president of the Black Psychiatrists of America.  Dr. Comer is the recipient of countless recognitions and holds over forty eight honorary degrees. In 2014, Dr. Comer received a prestigious nomination by President Barrack Obama to serve on the President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. 

Jacki McKinney, M.S.W. 

Ms. McKinney is a survivor of trauma, addiction, homelessness and the psychiatric and criminal justice systems. She is a family advocate specializing in issues affecting African-American women and their children and is a founding member of the National People of Color Consumer/Survivor Network. Ms. McKinney has been a consultant and advisor to the Center for Mental Health Services and is well known for her moving presentations to national audiences on issues such as seclusion/restraint, intergenerational family support and minority issues in public mental health. Additionally, Ms. McKinney is a proud recipient of Mental Health America’s highest honor, the Clifford W. Beers award, presented to a consumer of mental health and/or substance abuse services who best reflects the example set by Beers in his efforts to improve conditions for, and attitudes toward, people with mental illnesses. She is also the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration’s Voice Awards program which was presented to her for her distinguished leadership and advocacy on behalf of trauma survivors.

Maxie Clarence Maultsby, Jr, M.D. (1932-2016) 

Dr.  Maultsby was the founder of the psychotherapeutic method, rational behavioral therapy. Through his work and therapeutic method, Dr. Maultsby explored emotional and behavioral self-management. Dr. Maultsby’s unique contributions include making emotional self-help a legitimate focus of scientific research and clinical use. Through rational behavior therapy he formulated a comprehensive system of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and counseling that incorporated, in a clinically useful way, the most recent neuropsychological facts about how the brain works in relation to emotional and behavioral self-control. The technique of cognitive-behavioral therapy and counseling that Dr. Maultsby created is the first comprehensive, yet short-term, culture and drug-free technique of psychotherapy that produces long-term therapeutic results. In addition to authoring books for health professional therapists and counselors, Dr. Maultsby has written four pioneering books that describe his method of emotional self-help, called rational self-counseling. 

Freda C. Lewis-Hall, M.D., DFAPA 

Freda C. Lewis Hall earned her B.S. degree from Johns Hopkins University and her medical doctorate from Howard University in Washington, DC. Dr. Lewis-Hall is currently Pfizer’s Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer. Trained as a psychiatrist, Dr. Lewis-Hall has held an array of leadership roles across the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as in academia, medical research, and direct service provision. In 2010, Dr. Lewis-Hall was appointed by the Obama Administration to the inaugural Board of Governors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), and in 2012 she was appointed chair of the Cures Acceleration Network Review Board and a member of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Health. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative and on numerous other boards, including those of Harvard Medical School, The Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation, and Save the Children. Dr. Lewis-Hall has received several recognitions including being named as one of Savoy’s Top Influential Women in Corporate America in 2012, named “Woman of the Year” by Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s in 2011, as well as being recognized in 2010 as one of the nation’s 75 Most Powerful Women in Business by Black Enterprise Magazine and among the 25 Most Influential African-Americans in health care by Black Health Magazine. 

Linda James Myers, PhD 

Dr. Myers Linda specializes in psychology and culture; moral and spiritual identity development; healing practices and psychotherapeutic processes; and intersections of race, gender and class.  Internationally known for her work in the development of a theory of Optimal Psychology; Dr. Myers has conducted trainings England, South Africa, Ghana and Jamaica. She is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and five books, including: Understanding an Afrocentric World View: Introduction to a Optimal Psychology; and, most recently, co-editor of Re-centering Culture and Knowledge in Conflict Resolution Practice. Dr. James Myers’ Oneness model of human functioning offers a trans-disciplinary focus that builds on insights from the wisdom tradition of African deep thought, and converges with modern physics and Eastern philosophies. Her current research interests comprise the application of that model to a broad range of issues from health and education to business ethics. Dr. James Myers has received numerous honors and awards for excellence in research and scholarship, including being named Distinguished Psychologist by the Association of Black Psychologists; the Bethune/Woodson Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Development of Promotion of Black Studies from the National Council of Black Studies; Oni Award by the International Black Women’s Congress; and, the Building to Eternity Award from the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilization, among others. Professor James Myers is a recipient of the O.S.U. College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, a member of the national honor societies of Phi Kappa Phi and Psi Chi, a past president of the Association of Black Psychologists, and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities. 

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