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Cambridge Health Alliance's Department of Psychiatry Wins Harvard Medical School Diversity Award
Posted Date: 5/5/2011

Cambridge, MA...The Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) has been named the recipient of the 2010 Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award presented by Harvard Medical School (HMS). This marks the first time an entire group of faculty has won the award, which recognizes those who have made significant achievements to help HMS become a more diverse and inclusive community.

CHA's Department of Psychiatry was honored for fostering an environment that supports and promotes diversity for faculty, trainees, students, and staff, developing minority researchers who focus on health disparities, and creating programs that impact the health of the local community. In particular, this year's award acknowledges the contributions of Jay Burke, MD, MPH, Chairman and Chief of CHA's Department of Psychiatry and a professor of psychiatry at HMS, and Margarita Alegra, PhD, Director of CHA's Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research and a professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at HMS.

Since joining CHA in 2001, Dr. Jay Burke has championed the importance of culturally competent care in fulfilling CHA's mission to improve the health of its communities. He is involved with diversity initiatives at every level of CHA, from sponsorship of programming and the implementation of multicultural education training to staff development, including personnel hiring and advancement. He spearheaded the expansion of services aimed at enhancing mental health care for minorities and underserved populations, including culturally specific care teams such as the Asian, Latino, Haitian, and African-American mental health clinics.

Additionally, as a member of the American Psychiatric Association's Task Force for DSM-5, the leading resource for psychiatric diagnoses in the U.S. and internationally, Dr. Burke has persistently advocated that cultural formulations remain foundational in identifying and treating psychosocial and psychiatric distress.

Dr. Burke was instrumental in establishing the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research at CHA, recruiting its director Margarita Alegra, PhD, an international expert on mental health disparities among immigrant communities in the U.S. The Center generates innovative mental health services research that impacts policy, practice, and service delivery for multicultural populations. Dr. Alegra serves as the Principal Investigator of multiple studies, including the groundbreaking National Latino and Asian American Study, which examines the psychiatric disorders and service needs among Latin American and Asian American populations.

In addition to publishing extensively on conceptual and methodological issues with minority populations, risk behaviors, and disparities in service delivery, Dr. Alegra provides training and research support for investigators interested in disparities research. Numerous organizations have honored her for her dedication to improving access, equity, and quality of mental health and substance abuse services for disadvantaged and minority populations, including the American Public Health Association, the Research Centers in Minority Institutions Program Directors Association, and the American Psychiatric Association.

The Office for Diversity and Community Partnership at HMS sponsors the Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award, which was presented by HMS Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership Joan Y. Reede, MD, MS, MPH, MBA, at a ceremony at Gordon Hall at HMS last month.


Cambridge Health Alliance is a vital and innovative community health system that provides essential services to Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston’s metro-north communities. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices, and the Cambridge Public Health Department. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Tufts University School of Medicine.