2021 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture
2021 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture with Bernice Pescosolido
Description of the video:
[Woman wearing glasses seated in an office faces the camera]
Everybody I know has some little thing, some little thing that makes them
[IU logo and words Bernice A. Pescosolido, Distinguished Professor, Sociology appear in lower third of screen]
feel different, whether it's the shyness in their personality, the shape of their nose, the curve of their toes. Just some little thing that makes them feel a little different. What if you lived in a society where that little thing was separated out and marked as making you less than fully human. That's what stigma is. Stigma is the prejudice and discrimination that people face when they are marked as different in a society. People with mental illness face this every day. They face it in work opportunities, they face it in their family. One of the surprising things about the COVID-19 pandemic is how it has brought mental health to the fore. And not only raises the issue of the problems, but presents opportunities for us to take this on.
[Screen goes to black. IU logo appears at top, followed by words “Distinguished Professor Bernice Pescosolido discusses stigma and how it works in the 2021 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture April 29, 2021”]
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The long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will likely take years to unfold, but one effect is already abundantly clear – the effect on our mental health.
Distinguished Professor Bernice Pescosolido will consider mental health issues and the stigma that surrounds them in her 2021 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture.
About Bernice Pescosolido
Bernice Pescosolido is Distinguished Professor of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington and founding director of the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research and IU's new Sociomedical Sciences Research Institute. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.
Trained as a medical sociologist at Yale, Pescosolido's research focuses on four areas – stigma, suicide, health care use, and health care systems. Her concerns have spanned local, national, and international questions and problems, focusing primarily on mental illness. Her approach draws from complexity theory, social networks, and network science, using social networks to mark the social dynamics underlying the causes and consequences of health and disease. In particular, Pescosolido is concerned with how social and organizational networks facilitate or frustrate people’s responses to problems.
Regarding stigma, in 1996 Pescosolido initiated the first major, national study of stigma of mental illness in the U.S. in over 40 years, which produced some of the groundwork for the Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health, the 2013 White House Conference on Mental Health, and the 2016 NASEM Report, "Ending Discrimination Against People with Mental and Substance Use Disorders: The Evidence for Stigma Change." This was followed by the "National Stigma Study–Children," the "National Stigma Study–Replications in 2006 and 2018," and the "Stigma in Global Context–Mental Health Study". In addition, as chair of the Scientific Advisory Council for Glenn Close’s Bring Change to Mind advocacy organization, Pescosolido developed and piloted a four-year, IU-based team effort to make college campuses “safe and stigma free zones.”
In the area of suicide research, Pescosolido has examined claims on the utility of official suicide statistics, the contemporary effects of religious affiliation, and the potential of a network translation of Durkheim’s theory. Currently, she is working on harmonizing novel data, using a big data solution, to move past U.S. data barriers on completed suicide to allow a more direct understanding of the role of social connectedness and the potential to leverage it to reduce the personal, family, and community tragedy and societal loss that is suicide.
Pescosolido's research has been published broadly across disciplinary and general journals and has been supported by the National Institutes of Health as well as the National Science Foundation and private philanthropic organizations. She has served as the vice president of the American Sociological Association and has received several career, teaching, and mentoring awards, including the NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Award, the Taube Award from the American Public Health Association, the Reeder Award from the American Sociological Association, and the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal from Yale. Most recently, her paper with colleagues BK Lee and Karen Kafadar on breaking through data and theory stalemates in suicide research was named the 2020 PNAS Cozzarelli Prize Finalist in Social Science.