Research Programs 

Our Department is committed to advancing equity through scholarship and professional service. We have innovative leaders, a multidisciplinary orientation, and scholarship and research initiatives that support this aim.

Annual Dewitt C. Alfred, Jr., MD Behavioral Health Symposium

The DeWitt Symposium, named for the founding chair of our department, Dr. DeWitt C. Alfred, Jr., is an annual event at Morehouse School of Medicine that has traditionally been an internal event, including only our residents and fellow trainees and faculty. This year, we plan to bring in sixteen residents from other institutions for a scientific exchange and workshops regarding career progression and personal sustainability as a psychiatric physician. The program will be held in Atlanta, GA at the Kimpton Overland Hotel the evening of May 11th through the morning of May 13th, and include a number of activities to promote professional development, career planning, and mentorship both from peers and faculty. For more information, please click here.

Professional Leadership

Our faculty members hold national and regional leadership positions in the fields of counseling, social work, psychology and psychiatry. As one example, during the 22-23 academic year, faculty members Drs. Shaakira Ford, Yolanda Fountain-Hardy and Sarah Y. Vinson are the Presidents of the Georgia Society of Clinical Work, the Board of Directors for the Georgia Association for Play Therapy (GAPT) and the Georgia Psychiatric Physician’s Association, respectively. Two of our faculty members, Dr. Glenda Wrenn and Dr. Sarah Vinson, have presidential appointments from the American Psychiatric Association. And one, Dr. Nicole Cotton is on the PRITE Editorial Board. Additionally, our faculty are on the editorial boards of multiple national peer-reviewed mental health journals. Our residents and fellows have successfully pursued leadership opportunities as well. In fact, during the 22-23 academic year, we have multiple APA Leadership and SAMHSA fellows.

Scholarly Activity and Initiatives

These activities are led by Dr. Kisha Holden, the Director of Research and Scholarship for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. They include a Research Development Committee and a recurring Scholarly Writing Accountability Group that is an available resource for faculty, fellows, residents and students. Additionally, every third faculty meeting is a working meeting that provides protective time for ideation and collaboration based on converging professional and clinical areas of interest. Notably, in recent years, our faculty have been co-editors of two texts. Dr. Kisha Holden was the co-editor of Health Equity, African-Americans, and Public Health and Dr. Vinson was the co-editor of Social (In)Justice and Mental Health. Morehouse School of Medicine faculty and trainees were contributors to both of these texts.

Health Disparities Research Seminar Series

The Health Disparities Research Seminar Series is a regularly scheduled opportunity for intellectual discourse among MSM’s multi-disciplinary faculty, students, residents, and fellows. Presentations are provided by professionals regarding a myriad of health, mental health, and public health research topics that are relevant to diverse populations. It strives to delineate better understanding about psychosocial, socio-cultural, and environmental issues that contribute to health disparities; and to identify innovative and emerging models that may be useful for improving the well-being of communities. The seminar series is jointly sponsored by MSM’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Center of Excellence on Health Disparities, Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, the Master of Public Health program, and National Center for Primary Care.