Black Religion and Mental Health Symposium Plenary I

Plenary I:
Plenary Chair: Dr. Tracey E. Hucks, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Africana Religious Studies, Harvard Divinity School

Panelists: Rev. Dr. Monica A. Coleman, John and Patricia Cochran Scholar for Inclusive Excellence and Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware, Dr. Martin Summers, Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College, Dr. Stephanie Y. Evans, Professor of Black Women's Studies (WGSS & AAS) at Georgia State University

Professor Ahmad Greene-Hayes (Harvard Divinity School) and Professor George Aumoithe (FAS, History and African and African American Studies) proposed this two-day interdisciplinary symposium, integrating mind, brain, and behavior insights into the exploration of Black religious practices and their impact on mental health. They questioned how Black religious spaces can enhance mental health outcomes, considering their dual role as sanctuaries and potential impediments to open discourse.

The symposium brought together experts from history, public health, psychiatry, African American studies, religious studies, and civic society, focusing on understanding the neurobiological and socio-behavioral dynamics contributing to mental health stigmatization within Black communities. The symposium aimed to illuminate how societal stressors, such as racism, influence brain function and behavior, thereby affecting mental health, while also exploring resilience mechanisms among Black religious communities. This project aligns with the Harvard Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative’s mission of facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration to address complex issues, contributing to a broader understanding of the interplay between mind, brain, and behavior in the context of Black mental health.

This event took place on March 1, 2024.

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