2024 Annual Meeting

March 7-9, 2024 

Hotel Martinique, New York City

Diversity and Inequity in Mental Health: Social-structural, Cultural, Psychological, and Biological Mechanisms


Artwork by Jaswant Guzder, MD

For decades, community-based studies have indicated variation in psychopathology across social groups stratified by socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability. Some variation suggests diversity: complex differences in prevalence, symptom expression and severity, coping and resilience, illness models, and measurement factors that do not necessarily favor socially dominant groups (e.g., lower-than-expected prevalence of many disorders among minoritized and marginalized groups combined with higher chronicity and disability). The mechanisms of this variation remain unclear. Some differences in mental health – such as those associated with structural racism and sexism, socioeconomic status, homophobia, or transphobia – are clearly inequities: preventable and unjust social practices toward oppressed groups that lead to worse mental health, burden of disease, and outcomes as well as poorer availability and quality of care. In the 2024 APPA annual meeting, we aim to identify gaps in research on the mechanisms that interact across social-structural, cultural, psychological, and biological levels to create and sustain these patterns. Our goal is to help guide next research steps and prevention/intervention efforts. 

Keynote: Lived experience of the determinants of diversity and inequity in mental health
  • Nev Jones (U Pitt)
  • Chacku Matthai (Columbia)
Featured Panels:
Theory: basic and applied theoretical frameworks (e.g., fundamental causes, looping effects, intersectionality, developmental aspects, global systems) 
  • Luisa Borrell (CUNY)
  • Pamela Collins (Hopkins)
  • Cristiane Duarte (Columbia)
  • Laurence Kirmayer (McGill)
  • Bruce Link (UC Riverside)
Determinants and mechanisms at individual levels:
Social-structural (e.g., systemic/institutional racism, colonialism, homophobia); Cultural (e.g., cultural concepts of distress and resilience related to adversity, impact of globalization on symptom expression); Psychological (e.g., parenting and ethnoracial identity, racism and suicidal ideation/behavior); Biological (e.g., adversity and genomic expression, neuropsychology of development)
  • Neil K. Aggarwal (Columbia)
  • Anne Becker (Harvard)
  • Joshua Breslau (RAND)
  • Erin Dunn (Harvard)
  • Joseph Gone (Harvard)
  • Helena Hansen (UCLA)
  • Mark Hatzenbuehler (Harvard)
  • Rachel Kronick (McGill)
  • Roberto Lewis-Fernández (Columbia)
  • Michael Lindsey (NYU)
  • Ruth Shim (UC Davis)
  • Monica Uddin (USF)
 Multi-level integration: interactive mechanisms in psychosis, PTSD, and substance use disorders
  • Deidre Anglin (CUNY)
  • Carlos Blanco (NIDA)
  • Katherine Keyes (Columbia)
  • Jennifer Stevens (Emory)
 Toward prevention and intervention: implications for research, treatment, prevention, and mental health policy
  • Margarita Alegría (Harvard)
  • Christina Borba (NIMH)
  • Sidney Hankerson (Icahn/NYC Division of Mental Hygiene)
Roberto Lewis-Fernández, MD, APPA President
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University
Director, NYS Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence, NYS Psychiatric Institute
Research Area Leader, Anxiety, Mood, Eating, and Related Disorders, NYSPI