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Inoculating Children from the American Endemic: Treating Racism as a Virus

Webinar Description:

Presenter: Riana E. Anderson, PhD, LCP, University of Michigan

Moderator: Lynda L. Gibson, PhD, University of Chicago

For Black youth and their families, the racial terror that snatched the life of George Floyd in May, 2020 is
nothing new, as stories of adults and children just like them – including Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and
Aiyana Stanley-Jones, among countless others – have been part and parcel of their lived experience in
the United States. Beyond state sanctioned murder, Black youth were also witnessing the
disproportionate transmission, treatment, and travesty plaguing their community with COVID-19 – all
predictable outcomes given the inequitable systems supporting the pipeline from cradle to grave. Why,
then, were so many people just coming into awareness of this deadly disease of individual and systemic
racism that has ravaged Black American communities for centuries? In this talk, I will explain in what
ways racism is tantamount to a social virus and how its permeation is endemic to the American body,
rather than time-limited like a pandemic. I will also address how better conceptualizing racism as a virus
allows for more accurate, precise, and feasible treatments for transmitters and targets of racism with
respect to prevention (e.g., inoculation) and intervention (e.g., healing and vaccination). Finally, I will
describe clinical therapeutic trials that will help us to decipher whether our treatment of this social
disease is effective, including parent-adolescent dyadic sessions with the Engaging, Managing, and
Bonding through Race (EMBRace) intervention and systemic shifts in prevention through clinical training.

After the webinar participants will be able to:

  • Discuss strategies to treat clients experiencing racial stress and trauma
  • Explain racial stress and coping theories
  • Practice stress-reducing coping practices -Practice stress-reducing coping practices


American Psychological Association Division 53: Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 53 maintains responsibility for this program and its content. For registration questions, contact Sonja Wiggins, MBA, APA Division Services Office, at or 202-336-5590.