MnABPsi president Willie Garrett spoke recently on the shortage of Black mental health professionals when invited by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar who hosted a delegation of the Congressional Black Caucus in a series of community conversations on issues of importance to the Black Community. Dr. Garrett is flanked by Dr. Rachel Hardeman, a researcher on health disparities at the U of M, and Cynthia Fashaw, Director of multicultural Outreach at NAMI-Mn.
Four members of our local chapter participated at the recent National Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) conference in Orlando Florida, July 24-28. President Dr. Willie Garrett was in attendance, as was first-time attendee, Sue Govern. Drs. Harvey Linder and Pearl Barner took part in a presentation by the ABPsi Ethics Committee on Applying Maatian Principles to Organization Development in African Descent Organizations. Dr. Linder and Dr. Barner are both members of the Ethics Committee and have spent the past four years working on a re-write of the ABPsi Ethical guidelines using the principles of Ma’at as a framework. Dr. Barner Co-Chairs ABPsi’s Ethics Committee. Dr. Linder has recently signed on to Co-Chair the Chapter Development Committee.
Dr. Linder is seen in this image alongside Dr. Rosie P. Bingham, current president of the American Psychological Association (APA), as they congratulate incoming national officers of the ABPsi Student Circle.
A second photo shows (from left to right) Dr. Huberta Jackson-Lowman, Outgoing President of The Association of Black Psychologists, Dr. Rosie P. Bingham, President of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Theopia Jackson, Incoming President of ABPsi, and Dr. Constance Williams, another member of the ABPsi Ethics Committee.
Mn ABPsi President, Dr. Willie Garrett, announced last month that he has been elected to the post of President of the Minnesota Psychological Association. Garrett will serve as President-Elect during the remainder of 2019, and then begin his year as President in January of 2020. Dr. Garrett becomes the second MnABPsi President to also serve in the role of MPA President, following in the footsteps of Dr. Bravada Garrett-Akinsanya (no relation) who was a trailblazer in that respect. Her presidency set the stage for two other MnABPsi members, Dr. Harriett Copher Haynes, and Dr. Tabitha Grier Ried to also hold that post.
Dr. Garrett’s ascension will necessitate the selection of a new President for our Chapter. So, if any of you are interested in taking on a leadership post or might like to suggest or urge a colleague to do so, start thinking about it now.
Our Minnesota Chapter of ABPsi owes a great debt to Dr. Garrett. He has almost singlehandedly kept the chapter alive and afloat through several years when the commitment of others was often drawn away by competing duties. Throughout, Dr. Garrett continued to step up and hold the mantle because he saw the ongoing need for Black Psychologists to have a visible organized presence in Minnesota due to the influx of new students and professionals wishing to connect, and the requests from media and agencies reaching out for a voice from the Black psychological community on the pressing issues of the day.
Thad Wilderson, MEd, LP was honored Feb 1 as this years recipient of the John M. Taborn Award for Outstanding Contributions to Psychology by a Person of African Descent. The award was established more than a dozen years ago as a joint endeavor by the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) and the Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists (MnABPsi) and renamed in honor of Dr. John Taborn after his recent passing. Dr. Taborn was a trailbazer in terms of the delivery of mental health services to people of African descent in Minnesota. And Thad Wilderson was an early contemporary. Both Taborn and Wilderson launched clinics to serve the Black community of the Twin Cities in the early 1970’s, Taborn’s in Minneapolis and Wilderson’s in St. Paul. Wilderson remarked that even though his clinic had moved offices a number of times, it remained always on the same block of University Avenue where it was originally founded.
Wilderson described that he did not set out to become a psychologist. But rather, his goal was to be a teacher. However, he found that being one of the only Black male teachers in his school meant that he was often called down to the Principle’s office to intervene whenever young Black males got into trouble. He later went on to seek out some of the skills that would help him in those interventions.
Wilderson, a native of New Orleans, completed his BA and MA at Southern University, then had additional course work in a doctoral program at the University of Minnesota. After working as a staff psychologist at Macalester College in St. Paul, he eventually became Director of Psychological Services there, and subsequently an Associate Dean.
He founded his psychology clinic as a side venture, in part because his mother never let him forget that he had an obligation to try to do something for his own people. It eventually became not only his primary focus, but also a launching pad for literally dozens of Minnesota’s Black mental health providers who got their start at Thad Wilderson Associates. Through Thad’s mentorship, they acquired grounding they needed to go on to licensure and/or certification and fill essential roles in Minnesota’s healthcare delivery system.
Last year, Rudy Rousseau, LP, MEq, a long time Twin Cities mental health provider, was honored as the 2018 recipient of the John M. Taborn Award for Outstanding Contributions to Psychology by a Person of African Descent. Rousseau had worked for many years as a counselor in the clinic of J. Taborn Associates. The award, launched as a joint endeavor of the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) and the Minnesota Chapter of The Association of Black Psychologists (MnABPsi) is presented each year in partial observance of Black History Month. As is customary, the recipient each year is then asked to give or to arrange a presentation for the following year.
In keeping with that tradition, and also in keeping with his longtime style of nudging others to show their talents, and them letting them have the spotlight, Rousseau used the occasion to showcase his colleagues at Project Kofi, a program he is credited with founding more than two decades ago.
Project Kofi is now Kofi Services, the Amherst Wilder Foundation’s School Mental Health Services. Originally targeted at African American boys, Kofi now serves both boys and girls. A companion program, Hlub Zoo, operated under the same banner, serves primarily Hmong students and their families.
This years presentation was entitled “Trauma Informed Must be Race Informed: Culturally Informing Mental Health Practices to Partner with Clients, Families, and Communities”. Rousseau’s colleagues not only described how they use a trauma informed approach to connecting with their students and families, but also gave participants the opportunity to explore how our own perceptions might change if we used such an approach, and gave us guidelines for how we might integrate this approach into our own practices.
Rousseau was joined by Cristina Combs, M.A., LICSW a Clincal Supervisor for Kofi Services, as well as Mary Her, M.A., LICSW, a Clinical Therapist who started and works primarily with Hlub Zoo, Evette Farley, M.A., LPCC also a Mental Health Professional, and Chanee Rudolph,Ph.D., a Mental Health Practitioner.
A big shout out to Dr. Willie Winston III for his co-authored article in the May 2017 issue of the Journal of Black Psychology!
Note that Dr. Winston lists his affiliation as Minnesota Association of Black Psychologists. Congrats, Willie!
Pearl Barner II
Currently, we are in the process of starting a local Student Circle Chapter with the help of Ms. Rashida Fisher and several students at the Adler Graduate School. If you, too, are interested, please contact:
Rashida Fisher, MS, LPCC, LADC
Faculty/ Internship Placement Coordinator
1550 East 78th Street
Richfield, MN 55423
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) held its annual meeting this week in Minneapolis. On the agenda was a collaboration between NABJ and the National Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) to address the health effects of repeated exposure to traumatic event news among journalists. The workshop was coordinated by Muriel Evans-Buck of NABJ and moderated by Carolyn Drees of Reuters. The panel consisted of two national members of ABPsi who operate clinical practices in the Twin Cities, Dr. Pearl Barner II and Dr. Willie Garrettt. Barner recently retired from heading the mental health clinic at the University of Minnesota’s Boynton health services. Dr. Garrett, also in private practice, is the president of the local chapter of ABPsi. They were joined by Dr. Dierdre Golden, Behavioral Health Director at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Centre and Resmaa Menakem, a clinical social worker and internationally known expert on trauma therapy, and author of Rock the Boat: How to use Conflict to Heal and Deepen Your Relationships.
The panelist talked about how journalists, because of their work, can be exposed repeatedly to primary stressors while at the same time
feeling forced to ignore the physiological indicators of stress on their bodies. Black journalists, in particular, may be even more susceptible due to the impact of what the psychologists referred to as “historical trauma” a form of intergenerational stress thought to be suffered by African Americans. In addition, many Black journalists find themselves in situations where they lack a ready support system.
The panelists also alerted the audience to how secondary stressors may be affecting people in the trade who are not on the front lines, but who never-the-less suffer repeated exposure to stressful events because they are forced to follow Twitter feeds or spend time in the editing room viewing disturbing content that the rest of the public never sees. Moreover, their children and families may be subjected to secondary stress through their associations with the journalist.
Audience members shared very personal stories of how many of them have been traumatized by the work that they do and how they found themselves without any guidance on where to turn for help. The panelists pointed out that some journalism schools are beginning to include courses on how to cope with the impact of trauma on the job, that Black journalists may need to look into forming their own support group of “trusted” colleagues, but perhaps away from the newsroom at first. They also suggested using organisational ties like those within NABJ as a source of support. As well, they reminded the audience that most employers do have some type of employee assistance program that could be a good place to start.
For the most part, however, these mental health professionals were suggesting that all of us need to learn ways to inoculate ourselves against stress, and that we need to include in our daily routines ways to disconnect from the continuous onslaught of
media input that we experience every day. We need to eat the right foods, get regular exercise, and develop a sleep hygiene that ensures that we are able to decompress before bedtime, and allow sufficient time to sleep, giving our nervous system a chance to reset itself.
Most in the room agreed that it might be a good idea for organizations like NABJ and the Association of Black Psychologists to look into how both can collaborate going forward.
MnABPsi Officers Dr. Willie Garrett, and Dr. Willie Winston both attended the National ABPsi convention recently in Las Vegas Nevada. Also in attendance were Dr. Pearl Barner, our MnABPsi National Liaison and Co-Chair of the ABPsi Ethics Committee, and Dr. Harvey Linder, who also recently joined the Ethics Committee. A prospective new member, Mr. Kenneth King, also attended.
One of the foci of this convention was a training for all Chapter leaders on moving toward establishing each chapter as a 501c(3) organization, a process that the Mn Chapter has already been pursuing. There was also a training on how to conduct Emotional Emancipation Circles, a collaborative venture between ABPsi and the Community Healing Network aimed at creating a cadre of facilitators who can lead community dialogues that lead to a much needed re-building of personal, family and community relational ties to effect a stronger and healthier community. The long term aim is to have Emotional Emancipation Circles in every state and community across the country, beginning with each ABPsi chapter. If you think you might have an interest in receiving this training, finding out more, or becoming a facilitator contact Harvey Linder or the ABPsi National Office for more detail.
Attending an ABPsi National Convention is a special experience and, if you
haven’t done so, I would strongly recommend that you plans to make it a part of your future agenda. Particularly moving is the Enstoolment Ceremony when new officers are installed and the torch is passed to a new generation. Its not like any swearing in ceremony you have ever attending.
This year, the passing on of responsibility was doubly important and even more appropriately symbolic in that both the National Board and the Student Circle leadership were installed in one ceremony.
You can read more about past national conventions (and this year’s eventually) in the ABPsi newsletter, Psych Discourse, now available online (psychdiscourse.com)
This years Minnesota Psychological Association conference included a number of both familiar and new African American faces. Since her stint as both MnABPsi and MPA President, Dr. Bravada Garrett-Akinsanya has continued to urge not only greater involvement from women psychologists and psychologists of color, but also increased attention to diversity on the part of the state organization. She continues to serve on the MPA Governing Council. Dr. B, as we like to call her, was eventually followed in the MPA presidency by two of her distinguished fellows, Dr. Harriet Haynes and later Dr. Tabitha Grier-Reid. Dr. Haynes now chairs the Convention Committee.
Current MnABPsi president, Dr. Willie Garrett heads up the Rural & Greater Minnesota Division, and did a fascinating presentation this year on his work with the Hmong community. Dr. Pearl Barner serves as the MPA Treasurer and liaison to the Board of Psychology. Dr. Bibi Neumann co-chairs the New Psychologist Network. Dr. Beryl Wingate is active in the Women’s Division as well as the Multicultural Division.
Dr. Rose Stark-Rose did a poster presentation on her cross cultural study of how eating disorder symptoms are perceived among Somali and Hmong women. Several students were on hand as well to present their work at poster sessions. Donala Jordan, a 3rd year doctoral student at the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University was on hand to discuss his continuing work on finding predictors of Type II Diabetes in African American Adolescents.
Ms Hana Jama, a Senior at Metro State presented an interesting impact analysis of how organizations such as MPA might use tele-presence to expand the availability of continuing education offerings.
The student presence was a reminder of why MnAbPsi needs to do more to bring together its efforts to identify and support the students in our local midst. Several of you are already doing this in isolation. Perhaps we should give more thought to at least co-ordinating some of those efforts.
At least three other African American student faces were seen at this years MPA conference. The Itasca Community College apparently has a “Psychology Club”, and brought a group of students to the
conference, including freshmen Malik Baker and Albert McGlocton. Another Metro State student, Dante Williams, helped out at the registration table.
The future looks promising.