Course Title: CE Workshop 10 - Neuropsychological Assessment of American Indian and Alaska Native Populations: Cultural Implications for Research and Practice (Silva/Verney)

Credit Hours: 1.5

Instructor(s) Lynette Abrams-Silva; Steven P. Verney

Lynette Abrams-Silva, PhD, ABPP
Psychology Clinic Director (Sr. Clinical Psychologist)
Department of Psychology
University of New Mexico
Steven P. Verney, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
University of New Mexico

CE Workshop # 10:

Neuropsychological Assessment of American Indian and Alaska Native Populations: Cultural Implications for Research and Practice

Abstract & Learning Objectives:

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) peoples experience disproportionately high physical, educational, and mental health disparities relative to the general U.S. population. While neuropsychological services are needed in Native communities, neuropsychological assessments have been developed for and normed on the White majority population, and with the assumption of mainstream U.S. education. Very few AI/AN studies exist and typically include only small sample sizes, one or a few select tribes, and limited measures. This workshop will first offer an overview of the vast cultural diversity of AI/ANs and the multiple sociocultural considerations of AI/ANs that may affect the appropriateness and usefulness of neuropsychological assessment including the quantity and quality of education, culture (including language and cultural adaptation), socioeconomic factors, and socialization factors. We will present recent research findings highlighting sociocultural factors in a large sample of older American Indians. We will offer case examples to illustrate how assessments may impact the lives of AI/AN individuals. We then offer guidelines for clinical practice and recommendations for research. We hope our workshop may be used to guide culturally appropriate research and clinical practice.

Upon conclusion of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Describe the cultural diversity within the American Indian/Alaska Native population and the historical context rendering research and clinical work challenging
  • List various cultural factors that may impact neuropsychological assessment with American Indian/Alaska Native populations
  • Discuss steps to increase the cultural appropriateness of neuropsychological assessment in research and practice

Speaker Biography:

Dr. Lynette Abrams-Silva is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist who provides comprehensive clinical and forensic neuropsychological evaluations for diverse conditions affecting adults. Dr. Abrams-Silva earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of New Mexico and completed her pre-doctoral internship and 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in Chicago, at the University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago, respectively. Prior to her current work in private practice, Dr. Abrams-Silva held the position of Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, serving concurrently as Director of Assessment for the Parkland Hospital Psychology Service. Her areas of particular interest include epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, complex medical conditions, and cultural issues in the field.

Dr. Steven P. Verney is an Alaska Native (Tsimshian) Associate Professor in the department of Psychology at the University of New Mexico (UNM). He is currently a co-Investigator on the newly NIMHD-funded Health Disparities Center of Excellence to UNM, the Transdisciplinary Research, Equity and Engagement (TREE) Center for Advancing Behavioral Health, a Senior Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at UNM and a past fellow in the American Indian Alaska Native Program at the University of Colorado. He strives to increase diversity awareness and training and has developed the department’s Diversity Organization (DO!), a student organization to increase diversity awareness and training within the department, and the Cultural Counseling Center, which provides clinical supervision and consulting services to students working with diverse populations. Dr. Verney’s overarching philosophy is that culture counts. His research has evolved into a mental health disparities focus, especially in the American Indian/Alaska Native populations. He is interested in the role of culture in cognition and assessment including education (i.e., quality of education), language (bilingualism), and acculturation/cultural adaptation processes.