Mental Health Equity Program
We are pleased to welcome Dr. Tye Hunt-Harrison to lead our program on mental health equity. This program takes a deep dive into the troubling and complex issues around mental health equity, and helps our department make important changes in the way we deliver clinical care and partner with the community. The program will have a strong clinical focus but also a research component that will be led by faculty member, Dr. Tamara Baker.
Learn more about the Mental Health Equity Residency Education Track here
Tyehimba Hunt-Harrison, MD, MPH re-joined the department in April 2021 to develop and lead the Mental Health Equity Program within the Department of Psychiatry. She is joined by Tamara Baker, PhD who leads the research component of the program. In May 2021, the core advisory group (comprised of psychiatry residents, researchers, and clinicians) was formed to assist in the development of a multi-year roadmap that will build upon the department’s DEI momentum. The mission is to expand the department’s efforts towards achieving and sustaining equity in access, engagement, and provision of high quality mental and behavioral health care services to historically under-represented and marginalized groups. The ultimate goal is to produce meaningful systemic improvements and healthcare outcomes utilizing intentional strategies that prioritize advocacy, community engagement, multi-disciplinary collaborations, data-driven interventions, and a culturally centered focus.
The program’s four overarching and intersecting domains for advancing mental health equity are:
- Patient Care– We are committed to eliminating the barriers to access and treatment, as well as improving the interface between the patient and provider.
- Research- We are committed to increasing the diversity of researchers by outreach, mentoring, and research training opportunities. In addition, we are focused on increasing studies to eliminate healthcare disparities and the inclusion of a more diverse and representative study population.
- Education– We are committed to improving the integration of issues pertaining to mental healthcare equity throughout the curriculum of our training programs. In spring 2022, PGY1s will have the opportunity to select the MHE Residency Training Track for its inaugural academic year. We are equally committed to improving the diversity of future clinicians and researchers via programs targeted to historically under-represented and marginalized groups at UNC Chapel Hill, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and public secondary schools.
- Advocacy- We are committed to highlighting social justice issues and offering viable solutions to administrators and policymakers.
Dr. Tyehimba Hunt-Harrison has had a diverse career experience over the past two decades. She has provided direct patient care in both outpatient and inpatient settings, served on clinical research teams, worked as a utilization review peer advisor in the public mental health sector, and led as coordinator for medical students and psychiatric trainees on the child adolescent unit at a state psychiatric hospital. At the system level, she has previously served as member and Vice-Chair on the NC Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, has contributed to state level work groups defining service definitions for enhanced community mental health services and as an auditor of residential treatment programs that provided services to NC youth, as well as served as member of the Work Group for Consumer Issues for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She is Board Certified in both General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Dr. Tamara Baker is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also the Associate Director of Research for the Mental Health Equity Program in the Psychiatry at UNC. Dr. Baker received her MA in Clinical/Community Psychology from Norfolk State University, a PhD from Penn State in Biobehavioral Health, and completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health as a Paul B. Cornely Postdoctoral Fellow. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Ethnicity & Health, Editor Emeritus of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, and Editor of the first Handbook of Minority Aging (Springer Publishing). She serves on several editorial boards and is the current Chair of the Gerontological Society of America’s (GSA) Behavioral and Social Sciences section, where she is also a GSA Fellow. Dr. Baker’s scholarly work has been successfully funded by a number of NIH institutions. Her background in Gerontology, Psychology, and Biobehavioral Health has evolved into an active research agenda that focuses on understanding the behavioral and psychosocial predictors and outcomes of chronic pain and symptom management, and health disparities and inequities in pain management among older African Americans.