We make good care better

"At the center of medicine there is always a human relationship between a patient and a doctor."
Michael Balint

Lisa Whitten, PhD
Council - 1st Term

I learned about Balint while I was a psychosocial preceptor in the Family Medicine Residency Program at Mount Sinai South Nassau in Long Island. I learned more about the modality at the Forum for Behavioral Sciences in Family Medicine in Chicago in 2019. I was intrigued by the idea of working with residents to enhance their relationships with patients in an innovative way. Fortunately, I met José Niño, who encouraged me to enroll in an intensive, and invited me to join the Diversity Committee. It has been invigorating to become more involved in the Balint community by serving on Council and co-chairing the Diversity Committee with Terri Wall.

My interest in the intersection of culture and psychology began at the University of Michigan where she completed a double major in Psychology and Anthropology. I earned my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the Derner School of Psychology at Adelphi University. After working in clinical settings for several years, I joined the Psychology Department at SUNY Old Westbury in 1986 and retired in May of 2023. For nine years, I served as the Director of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. In addition, I maintained a small private practice from 1988 to 2015. My scholarly work focuses on bringing race and culture to the center of the psychology curriculum, the challenges of teaching about race, and on reducing the stigma of mental illness. A co-authored chapter on Teaching Africana Psychology appears in Integrating Multiculturalism and Intersectionality into the Psychology Curriculum: Strategies for Instructors by Quina and Mena (2019). My most recent publication is an essay about my experience living with bipolar disorder in Psychological Services: Stigma Matters: An African American Psychology Professor Comes Out of the Mental Illness Closet (2020).

I have been active in the Association of Black Psychologists for more than 40 years. I co-chaired the Ethics Committee for 7 years, and still serve as a member of the Committee. I served five terms as the New York chapter chair. In 2009, I was honored by the national organization with the Distinguished Psychologist Award for my scholarship, and my service, which was aimed at engaging and empowering student members. I have consulted with numerous colleges and medical schools on the role of culture and other diversity issues in teaching and healthcare, and on enhancing the success of African American and Latinx students. My other interests include travel, photography, and designing beaded jewelry.