Sidney Hankerson, MD
Health Equity Advocate, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute
Dr. Sidney Hankerson is an adult psychiatrist who works at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. His work focuses on increasing access to mental health treatment for African Americans. During his psychiatric residency, he mainly worked at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Grady is a large, community hospital that serves patients who have no insurance and in that respect, it is very similar to Harlem Hospital in Manhattan.
While at Grady, he was heartbroken by the many barriers that prevented African Americans from seeking mental health treatment. These barriers included ideas of shame about mental illness, lack of education about different treatments, and mistrust of medical providers. Dr. Hankerson is now using African American churches and mosques as places to promote education, screening, and, ultimately, to provide depression treatment. He hopes to build bridges between mental health professionals, faith-based organizations, and other community-based organizations.