Effects of Political Injustice on Health and Mental Health



Pei-an Betty Shih, PhD, pbshih@ucsd.edu

Faculty Group:

Pei-an (Betty) Shih, MPM, PhD

Department of Psychiatry, UCSD


Wael Al-Delaimy, MD, PhD

Division Chief of Global Health, UCSD


Maria Rosario (Happy) Araneta, PhD, MPH

Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, UCSD


Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH

Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, UCSD


David FitzGerald, PhD

Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, Sociology Department, UCSD


Michael Provence, PhD

Department of History, UCSD


Jonathan H. Watanabe, Pharm.D., M.S., Ph.D. BCGP

Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, UCSD


Wendy Matsumura, PhD

Department of History, UCSD


Michael Kalichman, PhD

Research Ethics Program, UCSD



Faculty Sponsored Symposiums:

  • “How Immigration Policy Affects Health and Human Rights"

 Date, Time and Location: November 8, 2017, 6pm-7:30pm. Multipurpose Room, UCSD Student Services Center


David FitzGerald, PhD, Professor of Sociology, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, UCSD

Jim Dell, Esq, President, Professional Alliance for Children

Nicole Ramos, Esq, Director. Border Rights Project, Al Otro Lado

Fernando Mendoza, MD, Associate Dean of Minority Advising and Programs and Professor of Pediatrics, Stanford University


We thank UCSD sponsors for this event: International Institute; Dean's office, International Center; Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine; International Institute "Justice, Health and Human Rights" faculty group; Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. 



  • “Travel Ban of 2017”

Date and Location: TBD

Speakers: TBD


Faculty Project Summary:

We are facing an unusual set of challenges following the dramatic shift of political principles, social values, and policy priorities set forth by the new federal administration. Some of these changes are likely to adversely impact all people, but the most vulnerable individuals will be hit the hardest because of their national origin, race, religious belief, gender and sexual identification, medical and mental conditions, disabilities, and legal or immigration status. In response to the travel ban, in Feb of 2017, six Health Sciences faculty from four different divisions formed a working group named Health Sciences Faculty Council Against Injustice. The Health Sciences faculty members come with diverse backgrounds and research interests/expertise. Together, we intimately understand the unique challenges associated with studying or working in biomedical sciences, clinical medicine, and academia in general. While we aim to research and address the adverse health and mental health effects associated with “unjust” policies (e.g., selective travel ban, hostile removal of undocumented immigrants and denial of valid visa holders) in general, we also anticipate these adverse consequences extend well beyond the individual level by disrupting international academic collaborations, research, and education.

 The right to be treated equally and fairly as an individual or a member of a group is faced with increased difficulty given the complex political development and steadily diminishing resources. The primary goal of this faculty group project is to provide support against discrimination, and develop preventative strategies for adverse health and mental health issues. A successful initiative to combat injustice requires a creative approach and working together with professionals from multiple disciplines—including university administration, philanthropic organizations, and scholars who are experts in international policy and topics that are relevant to the factors used to justify discrimination. For this reason, members of the Health Sciences Faculty Council Against Injustice partnered with three professors from the History Department and the Sociology Department. Together, we have the diverse knowledge and expertise needed to connect with members of student body, staff, and faculty to research the scope of the problems and develop solutions. Through collaboration we will develop and implement three key components in parallel, termed “the triumvirate against injustice”.

The “triumvirate” refers to three separate components that are complementary to one another and equally necessary to achieve the end goal. The research component aims to explore associations between poor physical/mental health and exposure to unjust policies such as the “travel ban”. The education component is opened to all UC communities and the general public, as well as affiliated individuals nationally and globally. We aim to establish an ongoing dialogue where our invited speakers will share perspectives and knowledge to promote critical thinking and inspire solutions for today’s complex issues. Finally, the service component involves a partnership with the UC San Diego Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to create a campus support network that can quickly and efficiently channel appropriate experts (psychological, social, legal, etc.) to assist those seeking help. Making progress on all three components in parallel will enable us to obtain empirical-data derived findings that are sourced from historical context as well as contemporary observations to modernize the solutions to meet the needs in this fast-changing political landscape. This “just in time strategy” will put us in an unique position to provide sound policy recommendations to effect change, and prevent adverse health and mental health outcomes.

Faculty Groups