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Our Mission

Navigating spaces as BIPOC and LGBTQ+ identified individuals has never been easy and continues to be challenging.

As history continues to unfold, we see the ongoing identity-based injuries and traumas that BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals continue to endure. As a society and community, we have been challenged and continue to be challenged to resist the very systems that oppress people and perpetuate the cycle of hate, injustice, and inequity. Read the full purpose statement.

BIPOC: What Does It Mean?

BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color. This acronym emphasizes the historic oppression and racism of Black and indigenous people within the U.S. context. It is also used to acknowledge that not all people of color experience the same injustices. BIPOC is meant to be an inclusive term.

Read more below on issues that may matter to you

Microaggressions: Did that just happen?

Microaggressions are defined as the everyday, subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups.

The difference between microaggressions and overt discrimination or macroaggressions, is that people who commit microagressions might not even be aware of them. Each encounter is cumulative, creating a compounded ongoing effect. See examples and context.

  1. Microaggressions may have long-lasting effects on the psychological health of all people—especially individuals from historically oppressed groups and communities.

Imposter Syndrome

Impostor syndrome—the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications—was first identified in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes, theorizing specifically on women as affected by impostor syndrome. Since that time, research has expanded to understand how imposter syndrome affects many individuals. Impostor syndrome can apply to anyone who isn’t able to internalize their valid accomplishments.

  1. Factors outside of a person, such as their environment or institutionalized discrimination, can play a major role in spurring impostor feelings.

  2. A sense of belonging fosters self-esteem and confidence to explore new skills and experiences. Equity and inclusivity plays a role: the more people who look or sound like you, the more confident you feel. Conversely, when there are fewer people who look or sound like you, this can affect issues of self-identity.

  3. A person with impostor syndrome has:

  • a sense of being a fraud

  • fear of being discovered

  • difficulty internalizing their success

  1. Imposter syndrome can be common in new situations--when starting a new job, or new program. Although some self-doubt can be healthy and prompt reflection and decision to move in a helpful new direction, ongoing lack of confidence can be detrimental to an individual's self identity.

Model Minority

Originally coined in the 1960s, the term "Model Minority" is description of Asian Pacific Islander Americans as uniformly successful, and able to integrate into mainstream culture. This is often attributed to racial stereotypes: quiet, subservient, studious. How this may impact well-being and mental health:

  1. The model minority label may contribute to anxiety from pressures to appear successful, and discourage API students from asking for and seeking help.

  2. For children from immigrant families, parental validation from academic success is a large part of their identity; the possibility of not meeting expectations can have an impact on emotional well-being, self-esteem, and confidence.

  3. The model minority stereotype masks the socio-economic diversity within the API community, creating "invisibility" for students from backgrounds with fewer financial and educational support systems.

  4. The model minority myth creates a false narrative that merit-based achievement, cultural and even hereditary factors are solely responsible for achievement, ignoring structural racism that exists within social systems. The myth also posits API communities in a harmful and false dichotomy against other communities of color.

Trauma and Its Impacts

The CDC statistics on abuse and violence in the United States are sobering. They report that one in four children experiences some sort of maltreatment (physical, sexual, or emotional abuse). One in four women has experienced domestic violence. In addition, one in five women and one in 71 men have experienced rape at some point in their lives — 12% of these women and 30% of these men were younger than 10 years old when they were raped. This means a very large number of people have experienced serious trauma at some point in their lives.

As part of a commitment to serving as a Trauma-Informed Care organization, USC Student Health follows key principles:

  1. Establish the physical and emotional safety of patients and staff

  2. Build trust between providers and patients

  3. Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma exposure on physical and mental health

  4. Promote patient-centered, evidence-based care

  5. Ensure provider and patient collaboration by bringing patients into the treatment process and discussing mutually agreed upon goals for treatment

  6. Provide care that is sensitive to the patient’s racial, ethnic, and cultural background, and gender identity