Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lisa Cosgrove

Second Advisor

Sharon G. Horne

Third Advisor

Kerrie Wilkins-Yel


Given calls to address the continued legacy of racism and White supremacy in the field of mental health, it is important to understand mental health organizations’ efforts to implement anti-racist change. Examining anti-racist organizational change is crucial because organizations are the vehicle through which clients receive services, and through which social relations, resources, and power are enacted and reproduced (Ray, 2019). Given that scholars have suggested that anti-racism is an ongoing process of struggle and recommitment rather than a fixed state or outcome, mental health clinic administrators’ and clinicians’ (N = 12) experiences of anti-racist organizational change processes were explored in the current study through semi-structured interviews (Kendi, 2019; Moffatt et al., 2009). Using critical-constructivist grounded theory analysis, six clusters and one core category were identified, suggesting that anti-racist organizational change processes are shaped by White leadership’s motives and degree of commitment to intervening in power dynamics within their organizations and mental health services more broadly. Participants indicated that anti-racist organizations wield power responsibly, aiming to protect those with the least power, moving to share power and dismantle organizational hierarchies, and redefining leadership through practices of relationality, transparency, accountability, and collectivity. Participants also described how anti-racist organizational change processes should be guided by BIPOC leaders’ humanistic vision for change, which White people have the responsibility to fight for with humility and shared accountability. Finally, participants indicated that anti-racism work in mental health care must be multidimensional, addressing systemic, historical, clinical, and epistemic injustices incurred by White supremacy within the field.


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