4th Annual Harold Jordan Lecture celebrating Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice 2/25 | Robert Sellers, PhD

Friday February 25, 2022

12:00 noon CDT | via Zoom Webinar

"Racism from the Perspectives of an African American Man, Race Scholar, and Chief Diversity Officer"

Robert M. Sellers, Ph.D.
Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Education
Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
University of Michigan

Learning Objectives:

  1. Provide a description of the role that race has played in the personal experiences of one African American man.
  2. Introduce the Multidimensional Model of Racial Identity as a conceptual framework for African American racial identity.
  3. Review research literature linking experiences with racial discrimination to deleterious psychological, academic, and physical health outcomes.
  4. Discuss the history and background of the diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan at the University of Michigan as an example of an institutional effort to address structural discrimination and inequity.


  • Sellers, R. M., Smith, M. A., Shelton, J. N., Rowley, S. A. J. & Chavous, T. M. (1998). Multidimensional Model of Racial Identity: A reconceptualization of African American racial identity.  Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2 (1), 18-39.
  • LaVeist, T. A., Sellers, R. M., & Neighbors, H. W. (2001). Perceived racism and self and system blame attribution: Consequences for longevity.  Ethnicity and Disease, Vol. 11, (4), 711-721.
  • Chae, D. H., Powell, W. A., Nuru-Jeter, A. M., Smith-Bynum, M. A., Seaton, E. K., Forman, T. A., Turpin, R., & Sellers, R. M. (2017). The role of racial identity and implicit racial bias in self-reported racial discrimination: Implications for depression among African American men. Journal of Black Psychology, 43(8), 789-812.
  • Hoggard, L.S., Hill, L. K., Gray, D. L., & Sellers, R. M. (2015).  Capturing the cardiac effects of racial discrimination: Do the effects “keep going”? International Journal of Psychophysiology, 97(2), 163-170. 
  • Hoggard, L., Byrd, C.M., & Sellers, R. M. (2015).  The lagged effects of racial discrimination on depressive symptomology and interactions with racial identity.  Journal of Counseling Psychology, 62(2), 216-225.
  •  Williams, D. A. (2013). Strategic Diversity Leadership: Activating Change and Transformation in Higher Education. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
  • Chun, E. B., & Feagin, J. R. (2019). Rethinking diversity frameworks in high education (New critical viewpoints on society). New York: Routledge.


About The Harold Jordan Lecture Celebrating Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice:

In 1964, Harold Jordan, M.D., became the first African American resident at VUMC, where he maintained a clinical appointment until 2016. He went on to serve as the Chair of Psychiatry and Dean of the School of Medicine at Meharry Medical College. He also served as the Assistant Commissioner for Psychiatric Services and the Commissioner of Mental Health and Mental Retardation in Tennessee. In fact, one of the buildings on the campus for the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDDs) is named after him based on his contributions. 

In 2019, the Harold Jordan Diversity and Inclusion Lecture was established by the VUMC Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department to honor his contributions to the field of psychiatry, mental health services in the state of Tennessee, and to our department and neighboring Meharry Medical College. In 2019, the inaugural lecture was given by Lloyda Williamson, M.D., the current chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Meharry Medical College. She was a student during Dr. Jordan’s appointment as chair, and her lecture focused on the importance of increasing the number of Black psychiatrists, and encouraging recruitment, advocacy, and inclusion to combat disparities in professional representation. In 2020, Francis Lu, M.D., presented on tools for culturally competent care in the DSM-5, including the outline for cultural formulation and the cultural formulation interview. 

In 2020, the leadership of the Department felt an increased obligation as providers of mental health care to address additional issues around social justices, implicit and explicit bias, and structural racism that remain pervasive within foundational policies and institutions of our country including STEM education, healthcare delivery and access, and specifically mental health care, to name a few. The impact of these destructive deep-rooted institutional policies as they relate to mental health care have also been highlighted in many venues in recent months including by the APA and AACP, and AACAP. Indeed, long-standing issues of racism, segregation, poverty, exposure to violence including police violence, food and housing insecurity, and criminalization of mental health, are deeply linked to increased risk for, and morbidity and mortality from, mental illness and therefore affect us profoundly as mental health care providers. 

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences condemns behaviors, practices, and policies that perpetuate racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other issues that target members of our community.
Such discrimination and bigotry unjustly contribute to medical and psychological morbidity, economic inequality, and mortality.  The Department is committed to ending these behaviors, practices and policies by  providing an inclusive and supportive environment for our faculty, staff, and trainees, and also advocating for change in our community to facilitate better care and outcomes for our patients.


CME/CE credit for Psychiatry Grand Rounds is only available during the live feed time and for a brief time immediately following. The code for this week's session is displayed at the opening and closing of the meeting and also in the Chair's Office Zoom Account Name during the meeting.


For CME/CE information about this session, please visit:


Related Articles:

Psychiatry lecture focuses on mental health disparities
(VUMC Reporter February 18, 2021)

Inaugural lecture honors Jordan’s contributions
(VUMC Reporter February 14, 2019)

Hidden Figure
(VUMC Voice September 5, 2017)


This talk was sponsored by the

Orr Lecture Fund

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
This educational activity received no commercial support.