Altha J. Stewart, senior associate dean for community health engagement and associate professor of psychiatry in the College of Medicine of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, received the 2022 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
The foundation described Dr. Stewart, who was the first African American president of the American Psychiatric Association, as “a pioneering voice in America about structural racism and its impact on mental health treatment for people of color.” The award honors Dr. Stewart for her dedication to helping disadvantaged and underserved people who are living with mental illnesses. The foundation also highlighted Dr. Stewart’s work as the director of UTHSC’s Center for Youth Advocacy and Well-Being, which aims to promote a trauma-informed culture that focuses on preventing trauma to children, helping children exposed to violence, offering peaceful resolutions to conflict, and creating a climate that supports children and fosters collaboration among service providers.
“It’s truly an honor to receive this prestigious award,” Dr. Stewart said. “The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation supports some of the most innovative mental health research in the field that leads to important breakthroughs and results in immediate impact for persons with mental illness. I am humbled and very much appreciate this recognition of my work.”
A native of Memphis, Dr. Stewart worked for decades as CEO or executive director in large public mental health systems in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan. She received her medical degree from Temple University Medical School in Philadelphia and completed her residency at what is now Drexel University in Philadelphia.