G. Rita Dudley-Grant


Speech title:
Disasters and the Role of Regional Psychology(ies): A Caribbean Perspective


Rita Dudley-Grant, Ph.D., MPH, ABPP, is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and a member of the Island Therapy Solutions, Inc.   Provider group. She is the former Clinical Services Director of Virgin Islands Behavioral Services, providing residential/ community based medical/ mental health services for emotionally and behaviorally disturbed youth in the USVI.

She was Assistant Commissioner of Health during two hurricanes in 1989 and 1995, assisting in creating an innovative community-based approach to Disaster Recovery.  That work was documented in articles in Professional Psychology, and her chapter on “Caribbean Blacks” in Marsella et al.(2008), Ethnocultural Perspectives on Disasters. She assisted in providing behavioral health services after Hurricanes Irma/Maria 2017 which again devasted the territory and the region. She participated in creating the Behavioral Health Coalition knitting the government, nonprofit and business communities into an ongoing alliance to provide post disaster trauma intervention as well as restructure and expansion of the Behavioral Health system. 

In addition, she is a leader in the creation of a Disaster response network within Caribbean Alliance of National Psychological Associations, (CANPA). Publications include books, articles and chapters on Clinical psychology and Capacity Expansion in the Caribbean, Disaster Response, and spirituality in mental health. She is a member of the Behavioral Health Advisory Council for the Virgin Islands, Learning Collaborative for Trauma Informed Care systems in the VI and serves on the State Advisory Group, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention USVI. Dr. Dudley-Grant is a founding member and past president of the Association of Virgin Islands Psychologists. 

She is a founding Executive Committee member and current Treasurer of CANPA and Co-Chair of the Caribbean Regional Conference of Psychology, 2020, St. Croix, VI. A fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA- Div 35,42,45) she has been active and a presenter in all levels of APA or over three decades. She is the recipient of numerous awards inclusive of an honorary doctorate from her Alma Mater, Simmons College, and the APA Heiser Award for State Advocacy in recognition of local and national advocacy for expanding behavioral health services to underserved populations.