Thousands of people who have emotional pain suffer in silence because they do not receive mental health treatment.
In July 2004, Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross founded the Black Psychiatrists of Greater New York & Associates in New York State. BPGNY was created to increase access for mental health treatment for people of African descent.

The founding members of BPGNY included a committed and talented group of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and educators. BPGNY addressed the professional and societal barriers, like racism and discrimination, faced by black mental health professionals. BPGNY established itself as a powerful organization dedicated to increasing access to mental health care for underserved populations.

The founding and early members of BPGNY were:

Gloria Ellis, M.D.

Leroy Carmichael

Lammott Cottman

James Curtis, M.D.

Dale Dudley, M.D.

Millicent Dudley, M.D.

Richard G. Dudley, Jr., M.D.

Susan Berg

James Gwynne

Bill Haley

Martha Sullivan, D.S.W.

Don Heacock, M.D.

Charlyn A. Hillman

Milton C. Hollar, M.D.

Karen M. Hopkins, M.D.

Dawne Mann Hurley

Jesse W. Johnson, Ed.D

Billy E. Jones, M.D.

Robert Kurtz, M.D.

Janis Lewis

Ivan Quervalu, Ph.D.

Ketley Michel, M.D.

Hadassah Brooks Morgan, M.D.

Hasoni Pratts

Michael Pratts, M.D.

Frank Prescod

Henry McCurtis, M.D.

Herman Schornstein, M.D.

Minta Spain, M.D.

Mashin Hassibi, M.D.

Early activities of BPGNY focused on:

  • Establishing and supporting standards to ensure quality psychiatric care, with particular emphasis on the needs of people of African descent
  • Promoting the total professional, cultural, and economic development of Black psychiatrists in employment and other business related activities
  • Informing members of new developments being made in the field of psychiatry particularly as they relate to Black people and to advancements and achievements being made by Black psychiatrists
  • Receiving grants and other funds from governmental agencies, foundations, or any other services, to further corporate purposes
  • To develop and implement programs that work for the elimination of racial discrimination and prejudicial practices against ethnic minorities in all aspects of mental health care
  • To collaborate with other disciplines and organizations, including the faith community, which provide services to people of color

BPGNY has used cutting edge technology and to provide quality psychiatric care to vulnerable populations. For example, BPGNY provided electronic tests to identify community members who were suffering from depression or anxiety. BGPNY was ahead of its time by implementing these tests in trusted community settings, like churches and social services agencies. By working with community organizations, BPGNY was engaged in important work to reduce the stigma of mental illness that is so prevalent among African Americans.

Since its founding, BPGNY has partnered with the New York Society for Ethical Culture and its affiliate, the United Social Services, Inc., Social Services Board. Both of these organizations have a history of fighting for equal rights for people of African descent. For example, the Social Services Board is “dedicated to helping the most vulnerable members of our community through social service projects that make a difference.” Additionally, the New York Society for Ethical Culture helped to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).