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Wizdom Powell, Ph.D. - University of Connecticut. Farmington, CT, US

Wizdom Powell, Ph.D. Wizdom Powell, Ph.D.

Director of the Health Disparities Institute and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UConn Health | University of Connecticut


Expert on the role of racism and gender norms in African American male health and healthcare inequities.


Wizdom Powell is director of the Health Disparities Institute and associate professor of Psychiatry at UConn Health. As president-elect to the American Psychological Association's Society for the Study of Men & Masculinities, she is the first African American woman to hold the position.

In 2011-2012, she was appointed by President Obama to serve as a White House Fellow to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. In this role she provided subject matter expertise on Military Mental Health (e.g., PTSD, Suicide, and Military Sexual Trauma).

Powell's community-based research focuses on of the role of modern racism and gender norms on African American male health outcomes and healthcare inequities.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Ptsd African American Men Health Health Disparities Military Mental Health Racism

Education (4)

University of Michigan: Ph.D., Clinical Psychology

University of Michigan: M.P.H., Health Behavior Health Education/Women's & Reproductive Health

University of Michigan: M.S., Clinical Psychology

John Jay College of Criminal Justice: B.A., Forensic Psychology/African-American Studies

Affiliations (5)

  • Advisory Board Member: Movement of Youth
  • Application Committee Member: Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science (IAPHS)
  • Co-Chair: My Brother's Keeper Initiative
  • Member: African American Researchers Working Group, National Institutes of Drug Abuse
  • American Psychological Association Society for the Study of Men & Masculinities, president elect

Accomplishments (5)

Aspen Institute

Health Innovator Fellowship

Rockefeller Foundation

Academic Writing Residency at Bellagio


Extramural Loan Repayment Program Award Recipient

Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize

Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty

UNC Institute for African American Research

Faculty Fellow






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Dr. Wizdom Hammond Powel at Black Men and Justice Speaker Series, part 2 Dr  Wizdom Powell


Media Appearances (5)

Black Men Have Shorter Lives Than White Men. Here’s How We Can Change That.

Huffington Post  online


Dr. Wizdom Powell, author of the report and chair of the APA committee studying health disparities in boys and men from underserved populations, told HuffPost that health disparities are often viewed to be rooted in individuals’ own failure to lead a healthy lifestyle. But her team’s analysis shows how multiple social factors compound and give rise to negative health outcomes for men of color, which they defined as non-Hispanic Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native.

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Why It's So Hard To Reach Males In Need Of Mental Healthcare

wshu Public Radio  radio


That’s not necessarily unusual because men and boys often don’t interact with the mental health systems in this country. That’s what Dr. Wizdom Powell has found. Powell is a clinical psychologist and the director of the Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health. She recently sat down with Morning Edition Host Tom Kuser to discuss her work and why it's so difficult to reach males in need of mental healthcare and support.

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Jay Z Is The Mental Health Role Model Men Need

Refinery29  online


Wizdom Powell, PhD, MPH, director of the Health Disparities Institute at University of Connecticut Health and associate professor of psychiatry, says that men, and particularly boys and men of color, are generally discouraged from seeking any kind of help at all — let alone help with mental health issues.

"Men are socialized from a very early age to deny bodily signs and symptoms, to minimize psychological distress," she says. "If you believe that you’re supposed to be a certain kind of macho man, and you’re unable to consistently be that or reflect that in the world, then you have an inner conflict, and there’s a discrepancy between what the world wants and what you want to be. That creates a turmoil around help-seeking."

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My wife had a baby, and I started thinking about suicide. A psychiatrist’s diagnosis surprised me.

Vox  online


Wizdom Powell has discussed the physiological consequences of “masculinity norms” that make it difficult for men to ask for or receive mental health care. But repressed issues can rebound at later times with greater severity. She suggests that men who rigidly adhere to such hardcore ideas of masculinity may suffer from higher rates of depression.

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Black men with depression are being failed by mental health care

Business Insider  online


"We know that traditional role expectations are that men will restrict their emotions or 'take stress like a man,'" study author and assistant professor of health behavior at UNC's School of Public Health Wizdom Powell Hammond said in a statement. "However, the more tightly some men cling to these traditional role norms, the more likely they are to be depressed."

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Event Appearances (3)

Disrupting the single story: How whole truths help to build more sustainable health equity agendas

University of Connecticut, Health Disparities Institute  Hartford, CT

They can't breathe: Neighborhoods, racial-profiling, and the health of young adult African American men

Society for General Internal Medicine  Hollywood, FL

They can't breathe: How neighborhoods impact masculinity enactment and substance abuse risk among African American men.

Penn State's 23rd Annual Symposium on Family Issues  State College, PA

Articles (5)

Public Mistrust of the U.S. Health Care System's Profit Motives: Mixed-Methods Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of General Internal Medicine

Richmond, Jennifer; Powell, Wizdom; Maurer, Maureen; Mangrum, Rikki; Gold, Marthe R; Pathak-Sen, Ela; Yang, Manshu; Carman, Kristin L.


Decision makers are increasingly tasked with reducing health care costs, but the public may be mistrustful of these efforts. Public deliberation helps gather input on these types of issues by convening a group of diverse individuals to learn about and discuss values-based dilemmas.

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Being There in Spirit, Fire, and Mind: Expressive Roles Among Nonresidential African American Fathers SAGE Journals

Wizdom Powell, et. al


Objective: This exploratory qualitative study examined factors contributing to expressive father role negotiation, salience, and commitment in a sample of nonresidential African American fathers (n = 18). Method: Two focus groups were conducted between 2000 and 2001 in a Midwestern city to understand factors that strengthen and diminish bonds between nonresidential African American fathers and their sons. Results: Results indicate that nonresidential fathers deepened their expressive role commitment by reflecting on socioemotional voids in their paternal relationships and negotiating role strains produced as they weighed giving time versus giving money. Conclusions: Findings support the need to foster expressive role commitment among nonresidential African American fathers as a strategy for enhancing child involvement. Social work research, interventions, and practice implications are discussed.

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Antihypertensive medication non-adherence in Black men: Direct and mediating effects of depressive symptoms, psychosocial stressors and alcohol misuse. The Journal of Clinical Hypertension

Cene, C.W., Dennison, C.R., Hammon, W.P. Kim, M.T., Levine, M., Bone, L.R., Hill, M.


Black men suffer disproportionately from hypertension. Antihypertensive medication nonadherence is a major contributor to poor blood pressure control, yet few studies consider how psychosocial functioning may impact black men's medication adherence. The authors examined the direct and mediating pathways between depressive symptoms, psychosocial stressors, and substance use on antihypertensive medication nonadherence in 196 black men enrolled in a clinical trial to improve hypertension care and control. The authors found that greater depressive symptoms were associated with more medication nonadherence (β=0.05; standard error [SE], 0.01; P

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"Taking it like a man!": Masculine role norms as moderators of the racial discrimination-depressive symptoms association among African American men. American Journal of Public Health

Hammond, W.P.


I examined the association between everyday racial discrimination and depressive symptoms and explored the moderating role of 2 dimensions of masculine role norms, restrictive emotionality and self-reliance.

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“It's The Skin You're In”: African-American Women Talk About Their Experiences of Racism. An Exploratory Study to Develop Measures of Racism for Birth Outcome Studies PMC

Amani Nuru-Jeter, Tyan Parker Dominguez, Wizdom Powell Hammond, Janxin Leu, Marilyn Skaff, Susan Egerter, Camara P. Jones, and Paula Braveman


Stress due to experiences of racism could contribute to African-American women's adverse birth outcomes, but systematic efforts to measure relevant experiences among childbearing women have been limited. We explored the racism experiences of childbearing African-American women to inform subsequent development of improved measures for birth outcomes research.

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