Symposium to Examine Black Mental Health Disparities

Data from statewide report will be presented at Feb. 25 event

photos of symposium presenters

Presenters at the symposium on disparities in mental health care for African Americans are (l-r) Nicelma King, V. Diane Woods, Carolyn Murray and Sharron Lewis.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Mental health in the African-American community will be discussed in a Feb. 25 symposium, “We Ain’t Crazy! Just Coping with a Crazy System,” a population report from the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP) of the State Department of Public Health.

The symposium will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the University of California, Riverside in Highlander Union Building (HUB) Room 355. Parking is free in Lot 1, with permits available from the kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus. Light refreshments will be served.

Editors of the report will present data from the statewide assessment of disparities in mental health services for African Americans in California. The report is part of a multi-year effort of the California Department of Public Health to identify community-defined solutions and practices to eliminate disparities for major populations (African Americans, Asian-Pacific Islanders, Latinos  and Native Americans) and groups (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning).

“The African American Health Institute of San Bernardino County took on the enormous task of implementing the CRDP for African Americans,” said Carolyn Murray, professor of psychology at UCR and one of the editors of the report.

“They gathered information, identified issues, and took the time to understand and report community-defined practices from the perspective of the Black population,” Murray said. “They also identified disparities in mental health access, availability, quality and outcomes of care regarding mental health issues.”

Symposium presenters are:

  • Nicelma King, project lead for the second phase of the African American CRDP and a cooperative extension specialist in the Department of Human and Community Development at UC Davis. King holds a Ph.D. in urban planning from UCLA and has worked as an administrator, researcher and teacher at institutions such as the African American Health Institute, UC Davis, the University of Southern California, Los Angeles Unified School District, Rand Corp. and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • V. Diane Woods, principal investigator and director of the African American CRDP Phase 1, and founding president and CEO of the African American Health Institute of San Bernardino County. She holds a doctor of public health from Loma Linda University and in 2005 was designated a Health Disparities Scholar by the National Institutes of Health National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
  • Carolyn Murray, professor of psychology at UCR and a consultant on the Statewide African American California Reducing Disparities Project. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and has published numerous journal articles and book chapters. She was awarded a four-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to conduct a longitudinal study of the socialization processes occurring in African American families.

The program will include a performance of “The Elephant in the Room,” a one-act dramatic musical about mental health issues written by Sharron Lewis.

Symposium sponsors are the African American California Reducing Disparities Project, Phrase II; African American Health Institute; UCR African Student Programs; UCR African American Students United in Science; National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); African-American Family Wellness Advisory Group; Vines Medical Foundation; and the UCR departments of Psychology and Ethnic Studies.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-7847
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Carolyn Murray
Tel: (951) 827-5293

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