Featured: Dr. Sara Vinson, NAMI Georgia Board Director and Member
Dr. Sarah Vinson, a NAMI Georgia Board Director has been featured in the UF College of Medicine News, April 14, 2018.
“When Dr. Sarah Vinson give talks at conferences and meetings around the nation, she begins by describing herself.
“I’m a dark-skinned black woman living in a racist, shadist, sexist society,” she says. “I start my presentations that way because the lenses through which we see ourselves and others are important. We all have them.”
Vinson has devoted her professional career to expanding and strengthening the lens through which minority communities see themselves. She achieves this through focusing on the intersection between the African-American experience and mental health. From the private practice she founded in Atlanta to her work with the Department of Juvenile Justice, Vinson teases apart the socioeconomic and political factors that negatively affect the self-perceptions and mental health of minority populations, with the goal of removing the stigma around receiving treatment.
“Our biggest challenge is understanding all the things outside of medicine that make people sick,” says Vinson. “I deal with failures of the housing, education and criminal justice systems and how those manifest in distress, especially in children.”
As the founder of the Atlanta-based practice Lorio Psych Group, Vinson works as a triple board-certified child and adolescent, adult and forensic psychiatrist. She also works with the Department of Juvenile Justice as a regional youth detention center psychiatrist, caring for incarcerated youth. Though her schedule doesn’t allot much free time, she doesn’t complain.
Sarah Vinson, M.D. ’07, recently returned to campus for the UF College of Medicine’s second annual Celebration of Diversity Week. She served as moderator April 2 during the kickoff event, a dean’s grand rounds panel featuring faculty and fellow alumni
“It’s a passion so it doesn’t feel like work. You don’t win every case, but when you do, it’s a big win for the patient and everyone in that person’s social circle,” she says. “My work keeps me inspired and grounded. This is where I’ve intentionally placed myself as a clinician.”
Vinson’s work is having an enormous impact in and beyond her community and within the field of psychiatry, and the University of Florida recently recognized her for that impact. She was named a 2018 Outstanding Young Alumnus and honored during an April 14 ceremony held in Gainesville.
In addition to her clinical work, Vinson serves as an assistant professor in psychiatry and pediatrics at Morehouse School of Medicine and adjunct faculty at Emory University School of Medicine. She’s also the president of the Georgia Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, works on the communications council of the American Psychiatric Association and often presents at national conferences for the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, among others.
Devoted to highlighting the experiences of minority communities, Vinson maintains an online community through the website OurselvesBlack.com. As the senior editor of the site, Vinson oversees the journal articles, videos, photo essays and field notes covering topics like the impact of gentrification on the mental health of displaced individuals.
“The website is helping push the boundaries of how people view mental health — to get people to talk about its broad applicability, to educate and to combat the stigma,” she says. “We’re also intentional about painting a picture of a black community full of beauty and strength to counter the prevailing narrative that, too often, is not helpful to black mental well-being.”
“My work keeps me inspired and grounded. This is where I’ve intentionally placed myself as a clinician.”