In the past few years, we have focused on issues of race, socioeconomic status, health disparities, sexual orientation, and disabilities as they relate to the training of clinical scientists and the research, treatment, and assessment of psychological disorders. Discussions of relevant articles and movies on diversity topics, invited lectures by multicultural researchers, and workshops on cultural sensitivity are used to address these topics.
Some example activities over the last several years include:
- Presentation about key diversity and social justice-related terminology and core principles, the role of psychology in social justice, costs of privilege for privileged group members, and leveraging privilege in social justice. In depth discussion about how clinical science and social justice can coexist, and relevance of social justice for clients, therapists, and researchers.
- A group reading of four clinical vignettes followed by discussions on the ways in which race, gender, class, sexual orientation, etc. were relevant to the clinical vignettes and how these socially constructed categories might be relevant in our own clinical work. Examples include shadism/colorism in ethnic minority communities, “hair politics,” relevance of bilingual language acquisition, racial authenticity testing, cultural homelessness, psychological risks and increased risk of victimization associated with exotification of multiracial men and women, non-visible minority status and racial ambiguity, and experiences of Whites with close affiliations with ethnic minority groups.
- A "Privilege Walk" activity to identify both obstacles and benefits one might experience and recognize how power and privilege can affect our lives even when we are not aware that they are happening.
- Group discussions among research labs to identify ways of conducting multicultural research with existing data sets or resources within each lab.
- Viewing and discussion of racial and social tensions in the 2004 film, Crash.
- A health disparities lecture by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Norman Anderson.
- A journal club review and critique of existing measures of socioeconomic status in the field.
- Dialogue and group exercises on how attitudes and beliefs about social class can create barriers to effective therapy.
- A speaker panel on barriers faced by children and adults with autism.
- Organization and hosting of a depression screening event at a predominantly Black church.
- A research colloquium presentation by Dr. Terri Conley (University of Michigan) exploring the nature of stereotypes about heterosexuals held by lesbian, gay, and queer-identifying individuals.
- A workshop facilitated by Dr. Frederick Leong (MSU) on developing and using cultural formulations in clinical practice.
- A workshop facilitated by Dr. John Lee (MSU Counseling Center) on multicultural competence in clinical work.
- Student case presentations of their work with clients from diverse racial and economic backgrounds.
- Guided discussions about ways to have effective and open dialogue with clients about diversity issues.