Assessing and Managing Depression in African Americans: Clinical and Community Strategies


Social Work Practice, Clinical Interventions, and Evidence-based models

Name and Qualifications of the Presenter:

Sidney Hankerson, MD, MBA is a board-certified psychiatrist licensed to practice medicine in New York State. He completed medical school and earned a Masters of Business of Administration (MBA) from the Emory University, which allows him to optimize healthcare delivery in under-resourced communities.

Dr. Hankerson is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has developed expertise in treating clients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), other mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders. He is currently conducting research to train African American clergy how to deliver counseling for depressed community members.

Throughout his professional career, Dr. Hankerson has taught professional development courses and workshops for social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and lay community members on disparities in mental health care; the interaction of race, culture, and class on psychiatric treatment; and strategies to engage African American faith communities with mental health professionals. He is President of the Black Psychiatrists of Greater New York & Associates, whose organizational mission is to increase access to mental health care for people of the African Diaspora.

Description of Course:

Session amounts may vary based on the individual needs of the organization.

For individuals, please contact us for more information.

This course will review the most current diagnostic and psycho-pharmacologic interventions for depression. Strategies to address socio-cultural barriers, such as distrust of providers, preference for psychotherapy, and economic inequalities, that disproportionately impact African Americans will be emphasized.

Participants will have the opportunity to discuss how depression impacts African American clients and discuss techniques for understanding how to retain clients in care. Principles to engage faith- and community-based organizations in mental health promotion will also be presented.

Teaching Methods:

The course is geared to adult learners and will use verbal, written and PowerPoint presentations by the instructor; interactive large group discussion of concepts and of participants’ practice; small group discussions clinical experiences with instructor facilitated feedback, and responses to material presented. Reading materials and handouts of resources and tools will be presented.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will understand the revised diagnostic criteria for MDD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 and risk factors for depression / suicide among African Americans.
  • Participants will identify evidenced-based assessments for screening and monitoring clients’ depression treatment response.
  • Participants will understand common side effects, medication combinations, and compliance challenges associated with psycho-pharmacologic treatments for MDD
  • Participants will develop strategies to engage African American individuals and communities in depression care