Session II: Opportunities for Antiracism Advocacy in Mental Health Policy & Practice 

Monday, June 14, 2021 – 7:45 pm - 9:30 pm ET
Dr. Jessica Isom

Mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) services of the 21st century must be reimagined to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse patient population deserving of high-quality services. Data trends reflect persistent gaps in access to diagnosis, treatment and wrap-around services for racial-ethnic

minorities. The access to care continuum includes coverage, accessibility of services, the quality of care delivered and a capacity for meeting treatment goals. Barriers to this successful continuum include lack of attention being paid to how racism subverts efforts to ensure access to high quality care for all and missed opportunities to incorporate culturally-relevant and responsive services. This conference will introduce an analysis of where we are in MH/SUD services and where we need to be headed with a focus on antiracism and cultural adaptations of our services.

Learning Objectives

  1. Realize and understand that racial oppression and inequities are essential to understand and respond to within MH/SUD services
  2. Understand how history intersects with culture to impact communication, working relationships, and the community experience of MH/SUD services
  3. Identify and apply at least three competencies in anti-racism most relevant to clinical practice and professional development 

Speaker

Jessica Elizabeth Isom, MD MPH is an experienced community psychiatrist, public speaker, medical educator and consultant for diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism projects. Driven by a passion for collaborative leadership, she takes pride in providing the conceptual frameworks and psychological safety necessary to expand the growing edges of her clients and peers. With over 10 years of demonstrated success in building relationships with patients and colleagues from all walks of life, Dr. Isom draws on her psychiatric training and humble background to connect across differences in power, education, and perspective to foster a collaborative approach to achieving racial justice and equity in medicine and beyond.

As a resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, she was selected as the Chief Resident of Medical Education and as the Chief Resident of Diversity and Inclusion. In the Yale Department of Psychiatry, her professionalism, diversity and inclusion expertise and educational skillset were honored through awards and department-wide recognition. Her strong training background and leadership experiences inform her current role in Boston, MA as an attending psychiatrist at Codman Square Health Center. At Codman, she is providing expertise on antiracist transformation of staff and programming with a specific focus on the opioid use disorder services. She received her MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also received her MPH with a focus on public health leadership which inspired her passion for population health approaches to health equity.

She currently serves as a leader within the American Psychiatric Association Assembly representing Early Career Psychiatrists, where her contributions center on illuminating the need for health equity in organized psychiatry. She has also been elected to the Councillor Position for the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society where her focus on social justice and health equity provides an opportunity to improve the care provided to marginalized populations in the state. Her organized psychiatry involvement has earned national recognition as she was awarded the Resident Fellow Member Mentor award in 2019. She has continued to work with the Yale Department of Psychiatry residency program as a faculty track consultant leader for the Social Justice and Health Equity Curriculum. Currently, she is devoting considerable time to growing her consulting company, Vision for Equity LLC, which she intends to grow into a nationally sought out team of antiracism coaches and organizational trainers.


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