“Stigma associated with mental illness is an issue for most Americans. African American communities struggle not with the acceptance of mental illness… the issue I believe is related to stigma around treatment. We fully endorse praying about mental health issues, but we are less inclined to encourage one another to seek formal treatment. After all, ‘we survived slavery’ so we are expected to weather all kinds of modern, quotidian stressors like supermen and superwomen.”
Wizdom Powell Brown is Director of the Health Disparities Institute and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UConn Health. In 2011-2012, she was appointed by President Obama to serve as a White House Fellow to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. In this role she provided subject matter expertise on Military Mental Health (e.g., PTSD, Suicide, and Military Sexual Trauma). Her community-based research focuses on of the role of modern racism and gender norms on African American male health outcomes and healthcare inequities. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters including ones in the American Journal of Public Health, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Behavioral Medicine, and Child Development. In addition to being a White House Fellow, she is an American Psychological Association (APA) Minority, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Burch, Institute of African American Research, and Ford Foundation Fellow who received a Ph.D. and M.S. in Clinical Psychology and M.P.H. from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She serves as chair of the APA’s workgroup on Health Disparities in Boys and Men and co-chair of the Health Committee for President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative in Durham County. Most recently, she was selected as a Health Innovator Fellow by the Aspen Institute.