Session at annual meeting discussed the importance cultivating diversity.
The Spotlight series highlights presenters at the 2023 American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting.
From Roots to Stem: A Hands-on Approach to Cultivating Diversity
Isabella Caldwell, MD
Key Points You Want Readers To Know
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) published the “Position Statement on College and University Mental Health” in 2016 to acknowledge the importance of addressing challenges unique to treating college students. It is well known that the incidence of mental health challenges among undergraduate students is higher for minority students and those attending community colleges. Untreated, these challenges can lead to negative outcomes affecting their academic performance, physical health, and mental health.
Over the past 6 years, the University of Florida has offered 2 NIH-funded training programs with the goal of increasing underrepresented and minoritized undergraduate student access to careers in STEM—the SF2UF Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program and the UF MARC Program. Several SF2UF and MARC trainees experienced serious mental health challenges that interfered with their successful participation and completion of the program. In collaboration with the department of psychiatry, they started the process of understanding the mental health challenges of SF2UF and MARC trainees. This led to the creation of a biweekly wellbeing process group for trainees, which was facilitated by psychiatry residents. The intervention allowed students to engage in therapeutic group processes that subsequently led to increased inclusion, decreased stigma regarding mental health, and improved resilience, all of which could help prevent future mood or anxiety disorders. The psychiatry residents participated in the project as part of a research elective with a focus on diverse populations. Residents in the elective learn to integrate cultural humility, advocacy, and research into their training, which may promote lasting changes in their clinical and research practices.
About the Presenter
Growing up as a daughter of an Italian immigrant in a homogenous Midwestern town contributed to my desire to understand what made my family different, but more importantly, the universality of being human. This curiosity combined naturally with my love of music and the sciences. Unsurprisingly, psychiatry was the field that best combined these seemingly disparate interests. I attended the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences for medical school and the University of Florida for adult psychiatry residency training. I will be starting a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship in July at Cambridge Health Alliance in Boston.
Presenter’s Professional Interests
College mental health, therapy modalities, advocacy, women’s mental health
I love listening to crime podcasts while driving, doing chores, or exercising. My current favorite is “Morbid: A True Crime Podcast.”
See more in this series here.
Ms Khan, the interviewer in this series, is a fourth year medical student based in Chicago. She has always had a keen interest in behavioral health and mind-body wellness. Over the years, she has served as a radio show host and producer to promote mental health and well-being.