Celebrating the Significant Contributions of African Americans in Addiction Medicine and Mental Health
As Black History Month comes to an end, Master Center encourages everyone to celebrate the importance of black history beyond February. Throughout Black History Month, our practice and our nation has honored African-Americans who have made significant contributions to our country. Inspiring individuals like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Frederick Douglass – just to name a few – are to be remembered, celebrated, and emulated every day. As part of this ongoing effort beyond Black History Month, Master Center for Addiction Medicine will begin spotlighting African Americans who have changed the way healthcare is delivered – specifically those who advanced the fields of mental health and addiction medicine.
We’re beginning our series by honoring Mamie Phipps Clark, Ph.D. and Kenneth Bancroft Clark, Ph.D. As the first African-Americans to obtain their doctoral degrees in psychology from Columbia University, the Clarks left their mark on the mental health profession for future generations of healthcare leaders dedicated to improving care for all communities. During Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark’s studies as a college student, she took note of the shortage of psychological services available to the African American community as well as other minorities. Her passion for adequate and accessible mental health services for all led Dr. Clark to open an agency with her husband dedicated to offering comprehensive psychological services to Black and other minority children and families. For years, Dr. Clark worked with her husband at their organization, The Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem, where they provided counseling and support for all.
Her husband, Dr. Kenneth Clark was the first African-American tenured full professor at the City College of New York, the first African-American to be president of American Psychological Association, and the first African-American appointed to the New York State Board of Regents. Together, the Clarks created the famous “Doll Study” which involved more than 200 Black children. Their work on this study provided evidence that segregation was psychologically harmful to Black children and was part of the supreme court case Brown vs. The Board of Education.
At the Master Center we are inspired by the significant contributions to the field of psychology and to the Civil Rights movement made by Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark and Dr. Kenneth Bancroft Clark. As an organization, we recognize that diversity, inclusion, and belonging in all forms creates a stronger workplace and enhances the quality of care for patients. Our goal is to honor leaders like the Clark family as we strive to provide excellent care regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.