Police Brutality's Impact on Black and Brown Mental Health


Approximately 1,000 people each year are shot and killed by police in the United States, with Black Americans killed by police at more than twice the rate for white Americans. While the widespread media reporting and social media sharing of videos of these killings has increased public awareness of the issue, it has also caused significant mental trauma for Black and Brown Americans. 

As research studies continue to emerge to quantify the impact, you are invited to join the UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative’s August Collaboratory, which will explore how police brutality is impacting the mental health of Black communities and how communities are coming together to create change. 

Source: Washington Post


Learning Objectives  

  • Understand the connection between police brutality and poor health outcomes among Black people and medical mistrust  
  • Understand anticipatory stress of police brutality and its effects, including its association with depression and anxiety  
  • Explore how local organizations are implementing police-free response models for mental health crises  
  • Hear how the mental health of community members have been affected by police encounters and how officers are responding to calls to do better  


Sirry Alang

Sirry Alang, PhD  | Lehigh University

Sirry Alang, associate professor of sociology and health, medicine, and society at the Lehigh College of Arts and Sciences, is a health disparities and inequities expert whose research explores the role of social structures and institutions in creating inequities in health status and many health outcomes across the globe.

Cat Brooks

Cat Brooks | Anti Police-Terror Project

Cat Brooks is an award-winning actress and playwright.  In her role as an activist, she is also the KPFA co-host of UpFront and resident playwright and actress with The Lower Bottom Playaz in Oakland and 3 Girls Theater in San Francisco.  As an organizer, she played a central role in the struggle for justice for Oscar Grant and spent the last decade working with impacted communities and families to rapidly respond to police violence and radically transform the ways our communities are policed and incarcerated. She is the co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) and the Executive Director of The Justice Teams Network. Cat was also the runner-up in Oakland’s 2018 mayoral election, facing incumbent Libby Schaaf.


Sophia Tupuola

Sophia Tupuola | California Preterm Birth Initiative

Sophia Tupuola's ancestor's reign from Fagaima Tafuna, American Samoa. As the Oceania way of life became colonized, through forced migration her grandparents came to America settling in the southeast sector of San Francisco in Bayview Hunters Point. As a 1st generation American, Sophia navigated the harrowing reality of spatial and social sequestration blossoming through the concrete jungle of SFC. Sophia's direct advocacy work began through her labor of love with The A. Philip Randolph Institute - San Francisco, kicking off The Resilient Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA) 2015- present, engaging District 10 youth to participate civically launching educational campaigns of awareness, empowering youth voices and bridging the gap between inner-city youth and City and State elected officials. As a new mother giving birth during the COVID pandemic, Sophia has endured the exhausting journey of navigating new institutions of racism through homelessness and prenatal and postpartum care. These experiences have accosted her new insights to utilize her voice and work on upstream efforts to tackle health, wealth and wellness disparities in black and brown communities.

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