Yale University celebrates BVIslander for Black History Month
Virgin Islander Dr Derrick Gordon, an Associate Professor at Yale University’s Department of Psychiatry, is one of the several black members of faculty celebrated for Black History Month.
The university recognised him this month for his research in the mental well-being of vulnerable groups in society.
Dr Gordon is a clinical-community psychologist, and his area of research focuses on increasing the health and wellbeing of disenfranchised communities by bringing interventions and asking research questions that align with community needs and attend to their unique cultural and social experiences.
As part of his work within the department, Dr Gordon also considers how policy-related factors impact the experiences of these groups and seeks to address barriers encountered.
The Associate Professor said while growing up in Tortola, he observed how mental health was not afforded the same level of consideration as physical health.
“I began to think about ways to impact this and make positive change,” he said.
Dr Gordon said one of the most notable challenges he has encountered relates to his research focusing on populations including men of colour.
“There is not a great deal of empathy for the experiences of these groups … To address this, I have been relentless in my efforts, created alliances with relevant community partners, and used my research and interventions to bring the concerns of these groups to the fore.”
His advice is that while “being the only one in the room is a burden and can be at times challenging, creating a supportive network, having advocates, finding your voice, and choosing which efforts best align with your goals are all important as you build”.