Hot Topic: The Impact of Discrimination

For my first article, I have selected a recent neuroscience article that discusses the lasting, negative cumulative impact of discrimination on the body.  The researchers describe a concrete, physical mechanism that contributes to the poorer health often seen in communities of color.

As the authors state in the article:

There’s a fair amount of research on how discrimination affects people in the moment. But we haven’t been sufficiently considering the wear and tear and accumulation of discrimination over lifetimes. Our study offers the first empirical demonstration that everyday discrimination affects biology in ways that have small but cumulative negative effects over time.” (Northwestern University, 2015)

And this effect is most pronounced when discrimination is experienced in adolescence.

Why might this be of use to the NAMEPA community? The article provides concrete, physical evidence of the toll discrimination takes on the bodies, minds, and spirits of students of color.  And this damage is greatest for adolescents. So traditionally-aged high school and college students may be most at risk. Research such as this can be used as an argument against those who flippantly say people of color should just “get over it!”  And that programs like MEP no longer need to exist.  It provides a strong rationale for why support programs are needed for people who experience repeated discrimination.

Dr. Ruth Streveler | Research and Publications Thought Leader


Dr. Ruth Streveler | Thought Leader | Research & Publications




Northwestern University. (2015, September 9). Discrimination during adolescence has lasting effect on body: Decades of unjust treatment impacts stress hormone levels, researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2016 from