McLean’s Alisha Moreland-Capuia, MD, Joins Event on Racism in Our Community

January 3, 2022

In the Fall of 2021, McLean Hospital’s Alisha Moreland-Capuia, MD, took part in a community outreach event sponsored by Mass General Brigham (MGB) that explored the impact of racism on our community and offered possible solutions.

“Coming Together for Change: A Mass General Brigham Virtual Event” was presented by MGB’s Committee for Advancing Diversity and Inclusion, in collaboration with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts, Kreateabuzz Documentary Films, and McLean Hospital.

During the presentation, Moreland-Capuia described her work in bringing the concept of trauma-informed care to various systems in our communities, including education, criminal justice, employment, and families. She discussed how training organizations, educators, government officials, and others in “trauma-informed organizational change” can improve the lives of youth, adults, and families.

Moreland-Capuia, who serves as director of Trauma-Informed Treatment, Consultation, and Outreach at McLean, said “it is important to understand that rage is the emotion of the invisible and unheard and violence is the act of the invisible and unheard in the context of unmet need. I do believe that any system that seeks to play a vital role in disrupting violence and promoting healing must appreciate these two things.”

Young woman watching laptop

Focusing on systems, Moreland-Capuia asserted, “What we know from literature is that when folks are aware of what trauma is and how it shows up, we’re able to help prevent it, and that actually helps whole communities and individuals heal. So, here’s an opportunity to think about what it means to be trauma informed.”

Moreland-Capuia’s remarks came during a panel discussion that followed the screening of a portion of the documentary “This Ain’t Normal.” This Emmy-nominated film presents the stories of several young men and women from Boston whose lives have been impacted by involvement in gangs, crime, and the criminal justice system. The film also highlights the efforts of social workers to help these individuals find a positive path forward in life.

For the panel discussion, Moreland-Capuia was joined by Kreateabuzz’s Rudy Hipolite, the director of “This Ain’t Normal,” and peer specialists Donald M. Osgood, Sr., and Leroy “Bum” Peeples. Trey Pound, a young man whose story is featured in the documentary, also contributed to the discussion.

Each panelist described their unique experiences in confronting the social, cultural, economic, and mental health challenges posed by racism. Each called for greater understanding of the systemic issues that plague certain communities. They encouraged more collaboration between government leaders and everyday citizens to tackle these persistent problems.

Drawing on her practice and research, Moreland-Capuia also stressed the importance of providing mental health services to help those impacted by racism.

“These are human beings who have deep needs and who have had profound things happen to them that have changed them fundamentally,” Moreland-Capuia stated. “Every single one of us deserves support, and counseling and therapy is the kind of support that every single one of us deserves and should seek because it does help.”

The event concluded with a talk by representatives from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts, who discussed opportunities for community involvement, and a presentation of a resource guide from MGB.

For those interested in watching the full-length version of “This Ain’t Normal,” it is available for rent or purchase on the following platforms: iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and YouTube.

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