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Meet the 2019-2020 Student Advisory Council’s Diversity Committee Co-Chairs

Who are you?

My name is Dominic Ysidron, and I am a 2nd year student in the Clinical Health Psychology Ph.D. program at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Broadly, my clinical and research interests lie in pain perception, pain modulation, and psychosocial factors that impact chronic disease and disability.

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, but I went to college in the mountainous western part of the state. In many ways, the Blue Ridge Mountains are where I call “home.”

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up? Why did you decide to become a Clinical Health Psychologist?

When I was growing up, I went through a variety of different career aspirations, but a recurrent theme was wanting to go to medical school. As time went on, I started to become interested in the mind-body connection through teaching yoga classes and attending several workshops on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Through taking a medical ethics class, I became keenly aware of the deficits in our current healthcare system, including the emphasis on tertiary care (e.g., emergency heart surgery) instead of on primary care and prevention (e.g., health behaviors). One of my main motivations for becoming a clinical health psychologist is to promote an integrated approach to healthcare through a biopsychosocial lens.

Why are you interested in diversity and inclusion?

My interest in diversity and inclusion stems from multiple experiences. Alongside the critical need for integrated patient care, there are large health disparities in the US for a wide range of underrepresented groups. For example, part of my research has been dedicated to examining the differences in motivators and barriers to blood donation among racial/ethnic minorities. Despite the glaring disparity in donation rates, this important public health issue has not received much attention. Problems like this motivated my desire to be involved with the SAC Diversity Committee so that I can support the success of diverse individuals in our field and collaborate on solutions to reduce persistent health disparities in the US.

What are you planning for 2019-2020?

In the coming months, we are putting together a webinar that will cover some of the main health-related research funding opportunities for diverse students. Because the world of research funding can be a little chaotic, the aim of this webinar is to highlight a few resources that may be particularly useful for graduate students in health psychology from diverse backgrounds.

Who are you?

I am Darryl Sweeper Jr., a 4th-year student in the Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program at William James College outside of Boston, MA. I am concentrating in Health Psychology as well as African and Caribbean Mental Health.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in one of the best cities in the world, New York City! However, after doing high school and college in central PA, I would call Reading, PA my hometown.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up? Why did you decide to become a Clinical Health Psychologist?

In my youth, I wanted to be the next Tony Hawk. That dreamed set sail when I realized the difficulty of skateboarding accompanied with several twisted ankles and bruised knees. That said, I wanted to become a clinical health psychologist to champion the promotion of wellness among underserved populations, namely communities of color, and to highlight the importance of the relationship between mental and physical health. As stigma and cultural mistrust, among other factors, impact the access, utilization, and retention of black and brown populations in medical and mental health treatment, it is ever more pressing that there are psychologists who are apart of the community to research and implement the clinical interventions that can shape this daunting reality in a positive way.

Why are you interested in diversity and inclusion?

I am interested in increasing access for professionals and students that identify as racial and sexual minorities as well as international students (among many other minority populations) to contribute to the fields of health psychology and research. My research and clinical interests include exploring identity development in minority populations, piloting interventions for underserved populations, and, more recently, exploring the cancer-related quality of life interventions. My goal is to conduct research with direct clinical applications particularly for populations that are underrepresented in the treatment literature. I am interested in making minority populations more visible in the literature as well as supporting them with evidenced-based and culturally-tailored interventions.

What are you planning for 2019-2020?

Over the course of the year, we will be releasing blogs on various topics that are pertinent to diversity and inclusion in the context of student and professional life. We will be publishing the link via SfHP’s twitter account and the SfHP listserv. If you see one circulating in your twitter feed or email inbox feel free to start a dialogue or comment to let us know what you think! See below for a shortlist of some upcoming topics:
– Cross-cultural awareness in practice and in the classroom
– Creating an inclusive workplace
– Unconscious bias: Why it matters?
– Invisible disabilities
– Spirituality in the workplace
– Avoiding stereotypes everywhere

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