Structural Racism and Psychiatric Practice: A Call for Sustained Change

Rachel Talley, M.D.

Friday, February 10, 2:30 to 4 pm 

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Structural racism has received renewed focus, fueled by the convergence of major political and social events. Psychiatry as a field has been forced to confront a legacy of systemic inequities. Dr. Talley will use examples from her clinical and supervisory work to highlight the urgent need to integrate techniques addressing racial identity and racism into psychiatric practice and teaching. This urgency is underlined by extensive evidence of psychiatry's long-standing systemic inequities. She will argue that our field suffers not from a lack of available techniques but rather a lack of sustained commitment to understand and integrate those techniques into our work; indeed, there are multiple published examples of strategies to address racism and racial identity in psychiatric clinical practice. She will provide recommendations geared toward more firmly institutionalizing a focus on racism and racial identity in psychiatry and suggest applications of existing techniques to our initial clinical examples.


Rachel Talley, M.D. is Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. She directs the University of Pennsylvania’s Fellowship in Community Psychiatry, a post-residency training program that teaches administrative and leadership skills to grow the next generation of public sector psychiatric leadership. She has several years of frontline clinical experience in community-based settings, and is currently staff attending at Horizon House, Inc where she sees patients in outpatient, integrated care, intensive case management, and homeless services settings; and is also involved administratively in quality improvement activities. Dr. Talley received her B.A. from Harvard University and her M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine. She completed both her residency training in adult psychiatry and a post-residency fellowship in public psychiatry at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute. She has several peer-reviewed publications examining issues relevant to the care of individuals with serious mental illness. She currently serves on the Board of the American Association for Community Psychiatry as Early Career Psychiatrist representative.