Congratulations to Dr. Tianna Cobb who was one of three finalists for the 2022 RCA Top Dissertation Award!
Dr. Tianna L. Cobb is a Post-Doctoral Research and Teaching Fellow in George Mason's Department of Communication with joint appointments with African and African American Studies and Women and Gender Studies. Dr. Cobb received her B.S. in Sport Management and Coaching from The University of Texas at Austin; her M.A. in Communication from Texas State University; and her Ph.D. in Organizational and Health Communication from The University of Oklahoma.
Dr. Tianna Cobb's program of research focuses on eliminating mental health disparities affecting Black communities by equipping them with knowledge and skills to break generational stigmas and improve mental health interventions and clinical services to be more inclusive. This work is vital to promote health equity by reducing racial inequalities combined with personal and systemic stressors that adversely affect Black people’s mental health. Dr. Cobb's recent work builds on this program, findings indicating that Black women religious leaders combat the norm of stigmatized messages shared by communicating sense breaking messages to promote the importance of mental health with their congregants and community members. Thus, encouraging the advocation of Black women to attain more leadership positions within Black churches. You can follow Dr. Cobb on Twitter @TheSocial_Doc.
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Black communities are greatly affected by barriers that negatively impact their mental health. One of the significant barriers is stigma. Leaders of Black churches are in a position to shift the narrative. Black women church leaders, specifically, are uniquely positioned to provide a more progressive perspective and style of leadership to encourage the destigmatization of mental health. From the standpoint of Black Feminist Theory and sensemaking, this dissertation assesses Black women religious leaders' current role in discourse normalization surrounding Black mental health through sensebreaking. A series of in-depth interviews were conducted to capture the perception, personal experiences, and sensegiving messages Black women religious leaders shared around mental health. Findings indicated that Black women religious leaders combat the norm of stigmatized messages shared by communicating sensebreaking messages to promote the importance of mental health with their congregants and community members.
December 14, 2022