Evelyn Lee Visiting Scholar Lectureship in Cultural Competence and Diversity

The annual Evelyn Lee Visiting Scholar Lecture in Cultural Competency and Diversity is sponsored by the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Diversity Committee in remembrance of Evelyn Lee, EdD, who served as a clinical faculty member for more than twenty years before her passing in 2003. The lectureship aims to to further her mission of expanding diversity, equity and inclusion in the field of mental health by bringing prominent experts to share their experiences and expertise with campus trainees, faculty, and staff.

The 17th Annual Evelyn Lee Visiting Scholar Lecture

The UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences was honored to welcome Altha J. Stewart, MD, as its 17th Evelyn Lee Visiting Scholar on October 19, 2021. She delievered her lecture, titled "Cultural Competence and Diversity: The Roles of Social Determinants of Mental Health, Workforce Diversity, and Community Engagement in Achieving Mental Health Equity", as part of the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Grand Rounds series.

About this year's honoree

Altha J. Stewart, MD, is the Senior Associate Dean for Community Health Engagement and an associate professor of psychiatry in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). She is also the director of the UTHSC Center for Health in Justice-Involved Youth, which aims to reduce the number of young people in the juvenile justice system by addressing the trauma and exposure to violence that contribute to the behavior that lands them there.

Dr. Stewart and her team have been working to reduce the number of young people in the juvenile justice system and lessen the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), exposure to trauma or violence in homes or neighborhoods that can contribute to negative behaviors in children and create a cycle of destructive or violent behavior in the future, among youth in the community. She also proposed and advocated for the inclusion of social determinants of health UTHSC’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a multi-year commitment that focuses on transforming student learning and enhancing their disciplinary training.

In 2018, Dr. Stewart became the first Black president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). During her term as president, Dr. Stewart led the more than 37,000-member organization by fostering a community of collaborators among its members and medical specialties, as well as working to improve and increase access to mental health care particularly among the underserved and ethnic minorities. She was honored by the APA with the organization's Solomon Carter Fuller Award in 2021.

Dr. Stewart worked for decades as CEO/executive director in large public mental health systems in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan. She received her bachelor’s degree from Christian Brothers University and was among the first cohort of women admitted there, received her medical degree from Temple University Medical School, and completed her residency at Hahnemann University Hospital (now Drexel University).

In addition to the APA, Dr. Stewart has served as president of the Association of Women Psychiatrists and president of the Black Psychiatrists of America. She is the recipient of the Black Psychiatrists of America Lifetime Achievement Award.

Previous lectureship honorees

About Evelyn Lee, EdD

Evelyn Yee-Wai Miu Lee Fong, EdD, was born on June 25, 1944, in Macau, China. She received her BA in social work at Chung Chi College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1963. She went on to graduate from Case Western Reserve University with an MSSA in social work in 1968. Lee worked at Boston's South Cove Community Health Center from 1976 to 1980 as the director of mental health, social services and health education before moving on to receive her doctorate in mental health administration at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in 1983. Between 1980 and 1982, she served as a social science analyst for the federal government in Washington, D.C. In 1982, she joined the Asian Focus Psychiatric Inpatient Unit at San Francisco General Hospital as program director, as well as being appointed assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). In 1988, she founded the Chinese Family Alliance of Mentally Ill, and in 1992, helped to organize the NICOS Chinese Health Coalition, both in San Francisco.

In 1999, Lee was promoted to clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF. She served as a consultant on cultural competence and diversity for many community health and mental health organizations, schools, hospitals and local, state, and federal government agencies, such as the National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health, Georgetown University, the California Department of Mental Health, and Texas Department of Mental Health.

An author of more than 30 publications, Lee wrote and taught on topics such as cross-cultural communication (including the use of interpreters), refugee trauma, immigrant acculturation, intergenerational conflict resolution, the role of religion, and complementary/alternative/integrative medicine approaches. In 1988, she authored the widely used parenting handbook Ten Principles for Raising Chinese American Teens, which was subsequently translated and adapted into Chinese and Vietnamese. She was widely respected and loved in the mental health field and the Asian-American community as a clinician, administrator, teacher, author, community advocate, and humanitarian.