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Letters   |    
Carl C. Bell, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2004; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.55.10.1178-c
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To the Editor: As a member of an underserved population (African American), I want to thank John Talbott for the nearly 25 years of stewardship that he provided for the most "down-to-earth" journal of the American Psychiatric Association. By appointing African-American and other nonwhite individuals to the journal's editorial board, John encouraged the submission and publication of articles on underserved nonwhite populations.

The track record of the journal is clear. Before 1965 the average number of articles on nonwhite and other special populations was less than one a year. Between 1965 and 1984—the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement—the average was two a year. But under John's editorial leadership, that number rose to an average of 4.5 a year. Poor-quality mental health care for the "least" of us limits the quality of care for the "best" of us. John understood that and invited nonwhites in.

Regarding the quality of information known about nonwhite mental health issues, I think of it as an uneven baseball game. It is as though, during the first seven innings, European-Americans have been playing with all nine players and nonwhite Americans have been playing with only two. Now in the last two innings, the nonwhite team is starting to get a full complement of players, and everyone is wondering why nonwhites are not further ahead. I hope John's example will be continued with Howard Goldman, the new editor of Psychiatric Services, and that the journal's editorial board will also continue to provide leadership to encourage the submission of research articles on underserved, nonwhite populations.

Dr. Bell is president and chief executive officer of the Community Mental Health Council & Foundation, Inc., and professor of psychiatry and public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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