Professors calls for discussions of 'structural racism' in... psychiatry?

Two professors are arguing that discussions on "structural racism" need to be happen within the field of psychiatry.

They argue that supervisors need to play a larger role to "dismantle" racism in the field.

Two professors at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Missouri-Columbia are calling for “discussions on structural racism” to be had in the psychiatric fields. 

Their academic article in the Psychiatric Times contends that such discussions should be had because structural racism, they say, affects health, as well as trainees in the field and their patients. Specifically, trainees must “[take] into account historical and cultural perspectives in which certain populations have experienced privilege while others, often populations of color, experienced a hardship."

The article is co-authored by Dr. Rameshwari Tumuluru, an associate professor of psychiatry, and Dr. Balkozar Adam, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Tumuluru and Adam point at trends such as minority patients being misdiagnosed and “dropping out of mental health care” more on average and the “disproportionate reporting of abuse and involvement with the welfare and justice systems” as examples of structural racism within the field, opting not to look for other explanations.

[Related: U Pitt's mandatory anti-racism class is filled with critical race theory, BLM talking points]

The article notes that it should be the supervisor’s responsibility to foster an anti-racist environment and that such duties include “an exploration of the trainee’s vulnerabilities and the impact of experienced structural racism, whether personally experienced or as witnessed in the patients and families they encounter, without crossing the boundary to provide therapy."

It also suggests that supervisors should hold a “‘cafe style’ roundtable discussion” to discuss “issues related to racism or bias” and to “examine their own biases that arise during the course of supervision and address them."

[RELATED: Ibram Kendi launches ANOTHER anti-racism center at BU]

The professors end by advocating for supervisors to play a larger role in order to to “dismantle'' structural racism in the field.

Campus Reform reached out to Tumuluru and Adam but did not receive a response. 

Follow the author of this article: Caitlin Mallen