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April 21, 2021

Healing Ethno-Racial Trauma in Black Communities: Cultural Humility as a Driver of Innovation

Author Affiliations
  • 1David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles
  • 2Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • 4Brainstorm, Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation, Stanford School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California
JAMA Psychiatry. 2021;78(7):703-704. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.0537

To have elderly Black parents working in health care services with comorbidities that have made Black communities susceptible to and overrepresented in COVID-19 death is to have an unspoken heaviness in your mind and heart daily. You pray fervently for their protection. You hug a little tighter. You make sure they know they are loved the second they step out the door.

In the past year, the convergence of violent police encounters and the burden of COVID-19 deaths has been especially salient for Black communities. The widespread publicization of these recent events, often referred to as viral Black death, serves as fuel for psychological trauma in a community that is already 16% more likely to report mental health problems than the general population.1,2

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