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Therapeutic Figures

Step into a captivating journey on our webpage, where we uncover the profound contributions of historical black figures in therapy. Prepare to be inspired as we delve into the lives of influential black therapists, counselors, and mental health advocates who have shaped the therapeutic community. From groundbreaking trailblazers like Inez Beverly Prosser and Kenneth B. Clark to contemporary visionaries such as Joy DeGruy as we honor the legacy of black excellence in mental health and counseling. Join us as we explore their compelling stories, groundbreaking ideas, and remarkable achievements, and witness how they continue to inspire and empower today's mental health professionals. Get ready to discover a world of inspiration and transformation!


Albert Sidney Beckham, PhD is regarded as the first African American to hold the title school for Juvenile Research and Chicago Bureau of Child Study. He brought together ministers whose parishes included families of students he was working with, allowing for the first time a church-neighborhood-school relationship in the community that benefited African American youth.


Bebe Moore Campbell, an American writer, journalist, educator, and mental health advocate, devoted her life to bringing attention to the problems of the Black community and other underserved communities in the area of mental health. In an area with a high concentration of Black residents, she established NAMI-Inglewood to provide a forum where Black people could discuss mental health issues in safety. During her career as an advocate, Campbell traveled to Washington, D.C. Congress has declared June 2008 to be Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in order to raise awareness of the particular challenges that underrepresented groups in the US confront in relation to mental illness.


The Mamie Phipps Clark Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, Carl L. Hart is an American psychologist and neuroscientist. Hart is renowned for his studies on drug usage and addiction, support for decriminalizing recreational drug use, and use of narcotics like heroin for fun. At Columbia University, Hart is one of the first tenured African American science professors.


The Association for Women in Psychology was founded in 1969 with assistance from E. Kitch Childs. She was also a founder of the Gay Liberation Front in Chicago. She was not only an advocate for women in psychology and the LGBTQ+ community, but she also ran her own practice where she treated LGBTQ+ persons, people with HIV/AIDS, and other underserved members of her community. She worked as a feminist therapist and focused her studies on the realities of Black women and feminist philosophy.


Dr. Gail Wyatt is renowned for her important contributions as a psychologist and researcher in the area of sexual health, with a focus on women's sexuality and the interaction of culture, gender, and mental health. Her work has challenged preconceived notions about the sexuality of African-American women and addressed sexual health inequities, particularly in underserved populations. The work of Dr. Wyatt has sparked the creation of novel interventions and initiatives aimed at enhancing sexual health and lowering risky behavior. Her knowledge has improved awareness of sexual health and stressed the significance of taking mental health into account in sexual health interventions, leaving a lasting impression on the profession.


A well-known Black clinical and social psychologist is Herman George Canady. He is recognized as the first psychologist to investigate the role of rapport between an IQ test subject and the test proctor, focusing on how race of the test proctor can lead to bias in IQ testing. He also contributed to the understanding of testing settings that were beneficial to the success of Black students.


At the Child Study Center at the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, Dr. Comer holds the position of Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry. For founding the Comer School Development Program at Yale University's School of Medicine in 1968, he is well-known both domestically and abroad. The improvement of school restructuring has been the focus of Dr. Comer's career. He has been quoted extensively in newspaper, magazine, and television reports and has had several articles published in scholarly journals. He served as the Black Psychiatrists of America's previous president and co-founder. Dr. Comer has received innumerable awards and has received more than 48 honorary degrees. In 2014, Dr. Comer was honored by President Barrack Obama's nomination to the President's Commission on Educational


Dr. Joseph White, known as "the father of Black psychology," was a renowned psychologist, educator, and activist. He made significant contributions to the field, emphasizing cultural competence and advocating for diversity. Dr. White's research focused on the experiences and mental health of African-Americans, highlighting racial identity development and the impact of racism. He co-founded the Association of Black Psychologists and actively participated in civil rights movements. Dr. Joseph White's legacy as a pioneer in Black psychology and his commitment to promoting cultural understanding and social change remain influential in the field.


Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy is a highly regarded family therapist, educator, and author who has made significant contributions to the field of mental health, with a particular emphasis on multicultural counseling and therapy. His work has focused on the intersection of race, culture, and social justice within therapeutic contexts, highlighting the importance of cultural competency and inclusivity in mental health care. Dr. Hardy's research and writings have provided valuable insights into the complex dynamics of power, privilege, and cultural identity in therapy, guiding mental health professionals in delivering culturally sensitive and effective treatment. Through his training sessions, workshops, and publications, he has fostered a greater understanding of the impact of cultural factors on mental well-being, and has advocated for practices that promote cultural humility and social justice within the field. Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy's contributions have had a profound influence on the promotion of mental health equity and culturally responsive care.


Dr. Lenora Fulani is a renowned psychologist and political activist who has made significant contributions to the field of mental health. With a focus on empowering marginalized communities, she has advocated for community-based mental health services and emphasized the importance of addressing social and economic factors that contribute to mental health disparities. Dr. Fulani's work has been instrumental in promoting mental wellness and advocating for equitable access to care, particularly for underserved populations. Through her activism and dedication to inclusive democracy, she has raised awareness about the intersection of mental health and social justice, inspiring change and fostering a more compassionate and equitable society.


The psychotherapy approach known as rational behavioral therapy was developed by Dr. Maultsby. Dr. Maultsby examined behavioral and emotional self-management through his research and therapeutic approach. Making emotional self-help a respectable area of study and clinical application is one of Dr. Maultsby's distinctive accomplishments. Through rational behavior therapy, he developed an extensive system of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and counseling that included the most recent neuropsychological findings on how the brain functions in relation to emotional and behavioral self-control in a clinically practical way. The cognitive-behavioral therapy and counseling methodology developed by Dr. Maultsby is the first complete, short-term, non-drug, and culture-based psychotherapy method that results in long-term therapeutic outcomes. Dr. Maultsby has produced four groundbreaking books that outline his approach to emotional self-help, known as rational self-counseling, in addition to writing books for health professionals such as therapists and counselors.


Dr. Nancy Boyd-Franklin is a highly accomplished psychologist and author with a focus on mental health, particularly within ethnic and family therapy contexts. Her extensive body of work encompasses various areas such as home-based family therapy, couples therapy, and issues affecting women of color. She has made notable contributions through the development of therapeutic support groups for African-American families living with AIDS and addressing the unique challenges faced by African-American children and adolescents. Dr. Boyd-Franklin's books, including "Black Families in Therapy: A Multisystem Approach" and "Children, Families, and HIV/AIDS: Psychosocial and Therapeutic Issues," have become influential resources in the field. As a clinician, mentor, and advocate, she has received numerous awards for her dedication and innovative clinical interventions. Her contributions have been recognized by prestigious organizations such as the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, Association of Black Psychologists, and American Family Therapy Academy. Dr. Boyd-Franklin's lifelong commitment to mentoring culturally competent psychologists and advancing the field of mental health has left a lasting impact on both professionals and the communities they serve.


Professor of African-American Studies and Psychology at Yale University, Phillip Atiba Goff is also the co-founder and chief executive officer of the Center for Policing Equity. He earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a doctorate in psychology from Stanford. By developing groundbreaking scientific tests that revealed how our minds come to unconsciously equate Blackness and crime with crime, often with lethal repercussions, he soon rose to become a national authority in the science of racial bias. American psychologist Phillip Atiba Goff is well renowned for his studies on how race and policing interact in the country. In 2016, he was named to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice's first endowed appointment, the Franklin A. Thomas Professor in Policing Equity. He joined Yale University's faculty in 2020 as a professor of psychology and African-American studies.


Robert V. Guthrie, PhD, made significant contributions to the field of psychology, particularly in shedding light on the overlooked contributions of African-American scholars. Born in 1932 in Chicago, Guthrie experienced a childhood in the segregated South, which influenced his perspective and work. After serving in the Korean War, Guthrie pursued his education, obtaining a bachelor's degree and a master's degree. He became a teacher and later earned his doctorate in psychology in 1970. Guthrie became a founding member of the Association of Black Psychologists and authored the influential book "Even the Rat Was White: A Historical View of Psychology" in 1976, which challenged racial stereotypes and highlighted the achievements of black psychologists. His career included various academic appointments and leadership roles, culminating in his position as chairman of Black American Studies at Southern Illinois University until 1997. Guthrie's contributions to psychology continue to inspire and promote inclusivity in the field.


Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, a renowned African American sociologist, historian, and civil rights activist, made significant contributions to the field of mental health through his scholarly and advocacy work. Du Bois recognized the profound impact of racism and systemic oppression on the mental well-being of individuals and communities. In his groundbreaking book, "The Souls of Black Folk," Du Bois explored the psychological effects of racism, discrimination, and the experience of double consciousness—the sense of having multiple identities and conflicting perspectives. He shed light on the psychological toll of racial inequality and the importance of recognizing and addressing the emotional and mental health needs of marginalized communities. Du Bois's insights and research were instrumental in shaping the field of cultural psychology and advancing our understanding of the intersection between race, identity, and mental health. His work continues to inspire scholars and activists to advocate for social justice and mental health equity for all.


Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble is important for her passionate advocacy for mental health, particularly within underserved communities. Through her research, she addresses mental health disparities and sheds light on the unique challenges faced by marginalized populations. As the founder of the AAKOMA Project, she provides culturally relevant resources and support to young people of color. Dr. Alfiee's expertise and thought leadership contribute to advancing the understanding of mental health disparities and influencing policies and programs. Her impact extends to the mental health landscape by destigmatizing seeking help and promoting equitable access to culturally competent care.


Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum is known for her expertise in the psychology of racism and racial identity development. As the former president of Spelman College, she emphasized racial and gender equity in education. Her influential book "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" explores racial dynamics and promotes constructive conversations about race. Dr. Tatum's work extends to facilitating racial dialogue and providing diversity training. Her commitment to fostering understanding and promoting social justice has made her a respected speaker and consultant.


Dr. Carlton Goodlett (1914-1997) is known for his influential work as a physician, newspaper publisher, civil rights activist, and community leader. He provided medical care to underserved communities, fought against racial discrimination in healthcare, and established the San Francisco Sun-Reporter, a significant African-American newspaper. Dr. Goodlett played a crucial role in civil rights activism, organizing protests, and advocating for equal rights. He served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and used his position to advance social reforms and promote equality. His contributions made a lasting impact on healthcare, journalism, and the fight for civil rights in the African-American community.


African-American psychiatrist and novelist Dr. Frances Cress Welsing  was well-known for her breakthrough studies on the psychology of racism and white supremacy. "The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors," one of her well-known books, examined the psychological effects of racism and the significance of race in modern society. The theories of Dr. Welsing looked at racism's historical and social roots as well as how it affects how African-Americans view themselves. She significantly influenced conversations about race, identity, and social justice by contesting the idea that white people are superior and by promoting empowerment and mental liberty.


Dr. Gwendolyn Puryear Keita is known for her significant contributions as a psychologist and advocate in the fields of mental health, diversity, and organizational psychology. She has played a vital role in promoting cultural competence in psychology and ensuring that diverse populations receive appropriate mental health care. Dr. Keita's work extends to issues of workplace diversity and organizational effectiveness, where she has provided research and consultation. Her leadership positions and advocacy efforts have made a lasting impact on promoting inclusivity in mental health and applying psychological knowledge to address social issues.


Dr. Hope Landrine was an authority on both public health and health psychology. She addressed her research on the existence of societal injustices in the diagnosis and classification of psychiatric diseases in "The Politics of Madness," which was released in 1992. These were some of the first empirical studies to demonstrate how prejudices towards women, the poor, and racial and ethnic minorities may have an impact on psychiatric diagnoses and contribute to the societal disparities that already exist. Dr. Landrine commonly viewed psychology and psychiatry through the lens of public health and contended that the discipline's emphasis on decontextualized individuals is insufficient for comprehending overall health.


Distinguished psychology professor Jennifer Eberhardt teaches at Stanford University. She is an authority on the negative effects of the psychological link between racial identity and crime and has conducted in-depth research on the areas of implicit bias, criminal justice, and education. As a result of her work, law enforcement officials now have the information they need to complete implicit bias training. The renowned MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship was awarded to Dr. Eberhardt in 2014 for her work.


Dr. Joy DeGruy is a respected educator, speaker, and author who has made significant contributions to the field of mental health, particularly in relation to trauma and racial equity. With her expertise in social work and research, she has dedicated her career to studying the profound impact of historical trauma and systemic oppression on individuals and communities, specifically focusing on African Americans. Dr. DeGruy coined the term "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome" to describe the enduring psychological, emotional, and social consequences of slavery and its aftermath. Her work sheds light on the intergenerational trauma experienced by African Americans and the resulting challenges in mental health, including internalized oppression and self-destructive behaviors. Through her influential book and dynamic speaking engagements, Dr. DeGruy advocates for healing, resilience, and racial equity, emphasizing the importance of addressing historical trauma as a crucial step towards promoting mental well-being and creating a more just and inclusive society.


Keturah Elisabeth Whitehurst, a trailblazing figure in the field of psychology, dedicated her life to mental health and education. Born in 1912, she excelled academically and graduated from Howard University at a young age, going on to earn her master's and doctoral degrees in psychology. Throughout her career, Whitehurst held teaching positions at various institutions, conducted groundbreaking research on cultural influences on child development, and made significant contributions to counseling services and program development. Her leadership and dedication to her field inspired countless students and colleagues. Even after retirement, Whitehurst continued to actively engage in community work, advocating for important social issues. Her legacy as a scholar, teacher, and advocate for mental health remains an enduring source of inspiration.


Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark, a pioneering psychologist and educator, made groundbreaking contributions to the field of psychology, particularly in understanding the impact of racial identity on child development and mental health. Alongside her husband, Dr. Kenneth Clark, she conducted influential "doll studies" that exposed the damaging effects of segregation on the self-esteem and perception of African American children. Their research played a crucial role in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, leading to the end of school segregation. Dr. Clark's work highlighted the importance of positive racial identity and the harmful consequences of racial discrimination, shaping our understanding of the psychological impact of racism. She co-founded the Northside Center for Child Development, providing mental health services for children and families. Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark's profound contributions continue to inspire progress in psychology, education, and the pursuit of racial equality, leaving a lasting impact on mental health and social justice.


Dr. Monica Webb Hooper, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, is a renowned clinical health psychologist and translational behavioral scientist. With a focus on minority health and reducing disparities, her research addresses chronic illness prevention and health behavior change, employing community-engaged approaches. Dr. Webb Hooper's work aims to understand the underlying factors influencing risk behaviors and develop culturally responsive interventions. She has made significant contributions to the field and has held prestigious positions at Case Western Reserve University. Through her leadership and dedication, Dr. Webb Hooper has advanced mental health equity and improved the well-being of marginalized communities.


Olivia Hooker was a remarkable individual who made significant contributions to various fields throughout her life. Born in 1915, she became the first African-American woman to serve in the United States Coast Guard during World War II. After the war, she pursued a career in psychology, earning a doctorate degree and becoming a prominent advocate for civil rights and the well-being of marginalized communities. Dr. Hooker's work focused on issues such as child development, resilience, and the effects of trauma. She also played a crucial role in advancing educational opportunities for African-American students. Her legacy as a trailblazer, scholar, and advocate continues to inspire and uplift others.


Dr. Reginald Jones, a prominent figure in psychology, made significant contributions to the field throughout his nearly 50-year career. Born in 1931, he earned his MA in clinical psychology from Wayne State University before serving as a clinical psychologist in the U.S. Army. After completing his PhD at Ohio State University in 1959, Jones held academic positions at various institutions, including Miami University, Fisk University, Indiana University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1969, he joined Ohio State University as a professor and vice chair of the psychology department. He later became a professor and chair of the department of education at the University of California, Riverside. Jones played a pivotal role in the development of black psychology as an academic discipline and was a prolific author and editor, producing numerous books, papers, and instructional materials. His work focused on exceptional children, race, and psychology. Jones received numerous honors and awards, including recognition from the American Psychological Association for his distinguished career contributions to education and training in psychology, as well as his lifetime achievement in the psychological study of ethnic minority issues. His legacy as a scholar and mentor continues to impact the field of psychology.


Ruth Winifred Howard, the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in psychology, made significant contributions to social work, nursing education, and developmental and clinical psychology. Growing up with an appreciation for cultural diversity and a desire to serve others, Howard's career focused on meeting the needs of diverse communities. She worked in various social work and child welfare agencies, advocating for marginalized groups and challenging preconceived ideas about African Americans. Howard obtained her doctorate from the University of Minnesota, conducting extensive research on the developmental history of triplets. In Chicago, she pursued clinical work, established a private practice, and engaged in postdoctoral studies to expand her therapeutic skills. Howard was an active member of numerous professional and community organizations, dedicated to promoting peace, women's rights, and mental health. Her legacy as a pioneering psychologist and advocate for women's empowerment deserves recognition and appreciation.


Dr. William Parham is a prominent psychologist who has made significant contributions to the field of mental health, particularly in the areas of multicultural counseling and sports psychology. As a pioneer in multicultural counseling, Dr. Parham has emphasized the importance of cultural competency and understanding in providing effective therapy for diverse populations. He has advocated for incorporating cultural factors into the therapeutic process to address the unique experiences and challenges faced by individuals from different backgrounds. Dr. Parham's work has been influential in promoting inclusivity and diversity within the field of psychology and has contributed to the development of culturally sensitive and responsive approaches to mental health care. In addition, his expertise in sports psychology has allowed him to support athletes in their mental and emotional well-being, helping them navigate the pressures and demands of high-performance sports. Dr. William Parham's contributions have significantly advanced the understanding and practice of mental health, ensuring that diverse individuals receive culturally appropriate and effective support.


Dr. Amos Wilson is notable for his outstanding intellectual achievements in the areas of social theory, education, and African-American psychology. His work emphasized cultural identification, self-empowerment, and critical consciousness with the goal of uplifting black people and communities. He argued for educational reform while criticizing the current structures that support inequality. Discussions about racism, social justice, and liberation are still influenced by and inspired by Dr. Wilson's theories. His work to advance self-definition, confront oppressive narratives, and enable African Americans to recover their agency and cultural heritage will live on in his legacy.


Dr. Beverly Greene is known for her significant contributions as a psychologist, scholar, and advocate in the field of multicultural psychology and LGBTQ+ mental health. Her research has focused on understanding the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals of diverse backgrounds, including topics such as identity formation, discrimination, and mental well-being. Dr. Greene has been an advocate for increasing cultural competency within the mental health profession and promoting inclusivity in clinical practice and training programs. Her expertise and dedication have made her a respected figure in the field, with a lasting impact on improving mental health outcomes and creating a more inclusive and affirming environment for LGBTQ+ individuals from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.


Carolyn R. Payton was an accomplished educator and public servant. She made history by becoming the first African American woman to hold the position of director of the United States Peace Corps from 1977 to 1978. Payton was known for her commitment to promoting international understanding and cultural exchange. During her tenure, she focused on expanding opportunities for women and minority volunteers in the Peace Corps. Payton also had a distinguished career in education, serving as a professor and administrator at various universities. She was a strong advocate for equal access to education and worked to improve educational opportunities for underprivileged communities. Carolyn R. Payton left a lasting legacy as a trailblazer and champion for social justice.


Francis Cecil Sumner, Ph.D., was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in psychology and is considered the father of African American psychology. His groundbreaking research focused on the psychological impact of racism, challenging prevailing racist theories and advocating for inclusivity. Sumner established the psychology department at Howard University and mentored influential psychologists such as Kenneth Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark. His work laid the foundation for multicultural psychology and advanced the recognition of the unique psychological experiences of marginalized communities, leaving a lasting impact on the field of psychology.


Together with her husband, researcher John Lewis McAdoo, Harriette Pipes McAdoo worked on the Family Life Project, a study of Black families in the Washington, DC, area that put more of an emphasis on middle-class families than on working-class or low-income families. Her research was among the earliest to question the unfavorable racial stereotypes about Black families that were pervasively believed and propagated. Because of her work on the Family Life Project, President Jimmy Carter appointed Harriette McAdoo to the White House Conference on Families.


The first African-American woman to receive a doctorate in psychology was pioneering psychologist and educator Dr. Inez Beverly Prosser (1895–1934). Her seminal work examined how racial segregation affected the academic and psychological growth of African-American youth. The writings of Prosser fought against racial prejudice and promoted equal access to education. Despite obstacles, she started a psychology program at Tillotson College and devoted her professional life to expanding access to high-quality education for underrepresented populations. Despite the tragic early end to her life, the science of psychology is still influenced and improved by what she contributed.


At the Howard University College of Medicine, Dr. John D. Robinson served as a psychologist and Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Surgery. Robinson entered the American military as the first African-American psychologist in the U.S. Air Force in 1973, and the American Navy in 1975. He was also the University of Texas at Austin's first African-American administration.


Dr. Kenneth Clark, a renowned African American psychologist and civil rights activist, made significant contributions to the field of mental health by shedding light on the psychological impact of racial segregation and discrimination. Through his groundbreaking "doll studies," conducted alongside his wife Mamie Phipps Clark, he demonstrated the detrimental effects of segregation on the self-esteem and racial identity of African American children. This research played a crucial role in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, challenging the notion of "separate but equal." Dr. Clark's work underscored the urgent need for equality and social justice, highlighting the psychological toll that racism takes on individuals and communities. By emphasizing the importance of addressing the mental health consequences of racial discrimination, Dr. Kenneth Clark's legacy continues to inspire efforts to promote healing, resilience, and equality in the pursuit of improved mental well-being for all.


Kobi Kambon, also known as Joseph A. Baldwin, held the presidency of the Association of Black Psychologists from 1982 to 1983. His research focused on examining the psychological impacts of racial and cultural oppression experienced by African Americans in American society, as well as the mental health of African Americans. Notably, he developed several concepts and philosophies centered around Africa, exploring the consequences faced by African Americans when their worldviews differ from those rooted in African traditions. Through his writings, Kambon delves into the complexities of identity and cultural alignment for African Americans in the United States.


 When Dr. Elders was appointed by the then-Governor Clinton to lead the Arkansas Department of Health, she concentrated her efforts on enhancing minority health. As a result, she established an internal Office of Minority Health within the Arkansas Department of Health. Dr. Elders also made extensive efforts to address minority health issues. Dr. Elders is currently an honorary professor of medical sciences at the University of Arkansas.  The Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, was sworn in as the nation's second woman and first African American. Dr. Elders promoted sex education in schools, comprehensive health education, and universal health coverage throughout her time as Surgeon General. Unfortunately, Dr. Elders was only Surgeon General for 15 months before she was requested to step down. Nevertheless, this does not lessen her achievements, such as the fact that Dr. Elders was the first person in the state of Arkansas to receive board certification as a pediatric endocrinologist and that she carried out a significant amount of research on teen pregnancy, congenital abnormalities, growth, and diabetes in children.


Dr. Na'im Akbar is a highly respected psychologist, scholar, and author who has dedicated his career to the field of mental health, specifically focusing on the psychological well-being of the African American community. His work delves into the impact of historical and social factors on African American mental health, exploring topics such as self-esteem, identity, and cultural consciousness. Dr. Akbar has written influential books, including "Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery" and "Visions for Black Men," which have become seminal texts in the field. Through his writings, lectures, and academic contributions, Dr. Na'im Akbar has made a significant impact in promoting mental health and empowering the African American community.


Dr. Paul B. Cornely, a distinguished figure in the medical and public health fields, achieved numerous groundbreaking milestones in his career. As the first African American medical student elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society and the first African American to hold several prominent positions within medical organizations, Cornely fearlessly advocated for his beliefs and made significant contributions. Throughout his life, he actively pursued teaching, research, and civil rights efforts, particularly focusing on desegregating health facilities and supporting the civil rights movement. Cornely's dedication to advancing equitable healthcare and his influential leadership were recognized through various honors and awards, including his presidency of the American Public Health Association. His legacy lives on through the Cornely Postdoctoral Program, which aims to address racial and ethnic health disparities.


Dr. Robert Lee Williams II (1930-2020) overcame significant obstacles to become a pioneering psychologist, leaving an indelible impact on the field. Despite facing adversity during the Jim Crow era, Williams pursued education and became the first African American psychologist to work at a state mental health facility in Arkansas. He went on to earn his doctorate from Washington University and excelled as a practitioner, serving as the chief psychologist of the Jefferson Barracks Veteran Affairs Hospital and contributing to the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Williams played a pivotal role in founding the National Association of Black Psychologists and crafted a transformative 10-Point Plan to foster the growth of Black psychologists. As a professor and Chair of Black Studies at Washington University, he pioneered an innovative curriculum and conducted research that challenged biases in American culture. His creation of the Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity shed light on the biased language and assumptions embedded in IQ testing. Additionally, Dr. Williams advocated for the recognition of African American Vernacular English as a legitimate dialect, challenging the notion of it being a substandard form of English. Through his work, he inspired and mentored countless Black students, leaving a lasting legacy in the field of psychology.  He also coined the term, “Ebonics


Solomon Carter Fuller, M.D., was a pioneering African American psychiatrist who made significant contributions to the field of mental health, particularly in the area of neurodegenerative diseases. Despite facing racial discrimination, Fuller dedicated his career to understanding and addressing mental illnesses, with a special focus on Alzheimer's disease. Through his extensive research, which involved studying brain tissue samples and analyzing clinical data, Fuller advanced our understanding of the biological aspects of Alzheimer's disease. His work not only contributed to the field of neurology but also challenged prevailing stereotypes and paved the way for future generations of African American psychiatrists and neuroscientists. Additionally, Fuller advocated for equal opportunities in medical education and healthcare, recognizing the importance of addressing racial disparities in mental health. His legacy serves as a reminder of the significance of diversity, inclusivity, and equitable access to quality mental healthcare.

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