Psychiatrist, Media Consultant & Author
One of the country’s top authorities on subjects ranging from multiculturalism to family dynamics, renowned psychiatrist Dr. Alvin Poussaint has advised the State Department, the Department of Health and the FBI on racial issues. Due to his passionate advocacy for more positive black images in American culture, Poussaint was chosen as the script consultant for various NBC series. Read More >
Many studies show that a significant number of children who are exposed to violence either by witnessing constant community violence, being victims of violence perpetrated by parents or others, or being exposed to domestic violence may develop stress disorders including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and conduct disorders. Such children are likely to perform less well in school and to be at a higher risk of committing violence against others. However, for a high percentage of children exposed to violence, these disturbances do not occur and many show the resilience to successfully cope with a degree of psychological and physical abuse. These are children who, by dint of temperament, strong love, and nurturing in their early years, develop a strong sense of self and an ability to feel a sense of control over their environment that enables them to bounce back from adversity. Children's resilience is always enhanced when there is a strong, loving, and caring adult in the environment.
The continuing healthcare disparities among African Americans and other ethnic minorities in relation to white Americans are part of the legacy of a segregated healthcare system (which some called medical apartheid) existing in the United States until the mid-1960s. Segregated health facilities in the South were responsible for a "separate but equal" system that meant blacks received inferior care or no care at all. They were also abused and exploited for research without regard to protecting their lives and wellbeing. There are numerous examples from the past, including the infamous Tuskegee study, which illustrate the egregious and toxic nature of racism in American medicine. Blacks often put their lives at risk when they entered a segregated facility or were denied care altogether even in emergency situations. Because of these horrid experiences, a deep distrust developed in African Americans and other minorities that made them reluctant to seek healthcare, particularly when equal access was denied. Read More >
It is welcome that the government has come to recognize these disparities and the need to close the healthcare gap between African Americans and whites. Both in the burdens of death and illness, African Americans experience disparities which lessen their quality of life and life expectancy. There are disparities in infant mortality, life expectancy, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, stroke, homicide, and mental health. Addressing these disparities must include improving healthcare access, introducing innovative health education programs, and addressing the social ills associated with poverty. The federal government has now taken on the disparity issue and is trying to empower people to adopt healthier lifestyles and improve public health initiatives. Many medical schools and hospitals around the country have put healthcare disparities high on their agendas in an effort to find effective solutions that will ultimately benefit large and neglected segments of our population. Read Less ^
Research demonstrates that media violence, particularly on television and in movies, influences the values, attitudes, and behavior of children. Children directly imitate behaviors seen on television; for instance, if they see a great deal of aggression, they imitate it in their own play and interactions. In television and the movies, conflict is too often resolved through the use of violence rather than through peaceful means such as discussion, negotiation, and mediation. Dr. Poussaint discusses this disturbing trend and offers solutions to counter it.
Suicide among African Americans, particularly young black men, has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. This increase in suicide is a symptom of the broader problem of mental health in the black community. The persistent presence of racism—despite the significant legal, social and political progress made during the last half of the 20th century—has created physiological and psychological risks for black people that drastically differ from white Americans. The negative impact of the past on African Americans produces multiple stresses that can best be described as a collective “Posttraumatic Slavery Syndrome,” which is often manifested by a general mistrust of healthcare providers. Dr. Poussaint explains that we need to improve the mental health of African Americans by eliminating healthcare disparities, providing increased access to quality care, and emphasizing targeted outreach. Together, we must break through the barriers of fear and stigma to heal our communities.
"On behalf of the Austin Travis County Integral Care Board of Trustees and the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference Planning Committee, thank you for your much anticipated presentation at our 11th annual event. You captivated the audience with your story and message. Many people were moved to have shared an afternoon with someone they felt they could relate to. Your expertise in the field as well as your unique professional and personal anecdotes resonated with so many people because they felt a connection to your words. Many people shared they were grateful to you for shedding light on such a misunderstood topic. With more than 700 attendees, this has been our largest and most successful conference to date and you helped make this happen. Your willingness to share your experience and spend time with our community had a powerful and positive impact. We wish you much health and the best in all your endeavors.
The conference was great! We had record attendance and positive feedback all around so we were very excited. Thank you for all your help!"
"The day was simply perfect. We had beyond standing room only in the auditorium, and had to turn people away due to fire safety reasons. He was wonderful, and he was very, very interactive with the students during the luncheon. The entire program went superbly."
"Everything was WONDERFUL. Dr. Poussaint was well-received. He was very kind, warm and accommodating. The library hosted a wonderful reception for him. We had about 300 folks, which is near capacity for this space. Thanks for all your help."
"I would like to extend a personal thank you for making Dr. Poussaint available to speak during the MLK Benefit Dinner at the University of Toledo.
He gave a magnificent presentation and it was beautiful tribute to Dr. King's legacy with an on-time message. All of our guests thoroughly enjoyed what he had to say."
"Everything went great! Dr. Poussaint is a gifted speaker, very relaxed and natural, and the group appreciated his real-life stories. The only problem was that we didn't have him long enough. He is a wonderful man."
"EVERYONE loved Dr. Poussaint! We are so glad that he was able to participate."
"It was excellent! He was a pleasure to have here, and the students and faculty were thrilled to be in attendance."