Clinical child psychology fellow earns 2021 Diversity Award
Clinical child psychology fellow, Bre-Ann Slay, Psy.D., earns 2021 Diversity Award.
Show up even when it's uncomfortable.
It's a sentiment Bre-Ann Slay, Ph.D., a fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Kansas Medical Center, believes fits whether you're talking about mental health, which is her area of expertise, or diversity, which is one of her passions.
"So much of the work in mental health is sitting with the discomfort and not running from the harsh truths. This has to apply to the work of diversity as well," Slay said. "One of my favorite quotes comes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.'"
Slay, the clinical child psychology fellow in the department's Division of Psychology, was honored with the 2021 Diversity Award presented by the department's Diversity Committee. The award annually recognizes one psychiatry and one psychology trainee who promotes diversity and inclusion. There was no honoree from psychiatry this year.
"Most of all, I'm honored to be recognized amongst our previous winners who have done incredible work," she said. "I appreciate the validation and support of the efforts I have helped to support and create during my short time here. It is exciting to be a part of a department that values and prioritizes diversity."
Passionate about diversity
An active member of the Diversity Committee throughout her fellowship, Slay established and led the group's first subcommittee, the Advocacy subcommittee. In this role, she spearheaded the Black History Month Daily Doses, daily emails throughout February highlighting different historical figures, and created a monthly diversity calendar with information on special days, activities and educational opportunities related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
"Dr. Slay's passion is clear, and her dedication is evidenced. She clinically incorporates the whole person and focuses on providing care to those often facing health disparities. She has worked in the Kansas City community around infant mental health. She embodies the spirit of cultural awareness in her practice and teaches others the importance of recognition of what diversity means," said Elizabeth Muenks, Ph.D., co-chair of the Diversity Committee, who presented the award. "It is very, very clear also that Dr. Slay utilizes her social media platform and has an impressive media presence that also promotes all things diversity. So, she definitely talks the talk and walks the walk beautifully."
Slay is the first trainee in the clinical child psychology fellowship that was launched in the 2020-21 academic year. She will complete the one-year training program August 31 and aspires to build and direct an infant toddler court program in the Kansas City area focused on repairing broken and strained relationships between young children and their caregivers in the foster care system.
"Infant mental health is severely lacking in our country and the training and work is desperately needed. Families of color are disproportionately overrepresented in the justice system and the foster care system," she said. "I hope that by addressing these early relational ruptures that are compounded by years of intergenerational trauma, that I can assist our families of color to remove some of the roadblocks that can lead to negative outcomes for youth of color."
Slay is a member of the Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee of Johnson County and is in the process of joining the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City.
The Diversity Award was created in honor of Ravinder Goswami, M.D., a graduate of the general psychiatry program who passed away in 2018. For more information about the committee and past award winners, visit the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences website and click on the Diversity Committee tab.