Skip to main content

Virtual Child Mental Health Forum - Addressing Ethnoracial Disparities in Mental Health Risk, Assessment, and Service Access and Delivery


Addressing Ethnoracial Disparities in Mental Health Risk, Assessment, and Service Access and Delivery

Presented by Roberto Lewis-Fernández, MD

Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University; Director, Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence, NYS Psychiatric Institute; Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard University


Location: Virtually via Zoom

Summary: In his talk, Dr. Lewis-Fernández will review key areas in need of research on cultural and ethnoracial disparities in mental health conditions and services. The first priority area is risk, focusing on the role of intersecting community and person-level factors, societal structure, and subjective appraisal in the development and persistence of mental health disparities. Second, he will discuss the need for research on assessment, such as the importance of person centered clinical evaluation in disparities reduction – including the need to assess both socio-structural and cultural determinants of health – and the need to implement novel strategies for addressing the implicit provider biases that lead to lower-quality care. Third, he will discuss research on service delivery, emphasizing five strategies with promising empirical evidence for reducing disparities in mental health service access and delivery: engaging with communities, tailoring interventions to specific patient subgroups, leveraging technology-based approaches, improving patient-provider communication, and intervening directly on social inequities. Throughout the presentation, Dr. Lewis-Fernández will suggest future directions for disparities-focused mental health research, including examples from current approaches being conducted at the NYSPI Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence and other disparities-focused research groups.

Target Audience: Physicians (psychiatrists, pediatricians, child neurologists), psychologists, social workers, other mental health clinicians and researchers, and students and trainees.

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe three key contributors to the elevated risk of mental health disparities facing underserved US ethnoracial groups
  2. Identify best practices for person-centered mental health assessment that encompass socio-structural and cultural determinants of health
  3. Discuss 5 strategies to enhance access to and delivery of mental health services focused on disparity reduction.

January 19, 2022 from 10AM to 11:15AM EST

This presentation will take place virtually on Zoom. 

Continuing Education (CE/CEU) Information

Physicians: The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  The Harvard Medical School designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Psychologists: This program is co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Psychological Association, Wellesley, MA for a maximum of 1 Credit. The Massachusetts Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. The Massachusetts Psychological Association maintains responsibility for the program and its content. 
Social Workers: The National Association of Social Workers has approved this series for continuing education credits for social workers.