Despite efforts to eliminate disparities and inequities in mental health over many years, unequal outcomes for people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders persist, and may even be getting worse. This presentation explores the root causes of mental health inequity, summarizes the existing data, and considers promising approaches to ensure mental health and wellness for all. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Strategies to effectively “bend the arc” in the current climate will be discussed.
Ruth S. Shim, M.D., M.P.H. is the Luke & Grace Kim Professor of Cultural Psychiatry at UC Davis and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Before joining the Department at UC Davis, she was Vice Chair of Education and Faculty Development at the Department of Psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital, part of the Northwell Health in New York, and was previously Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Associate Director of Behavioral Health at the National Center for Primary Care (NCPC), both at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. Dr. Shim has specific expertise in the social determinants of mental health and disparities in access to mental health services.