Exploring the Impact of Microaggressions on American Indian Healthcare

American Indians experience some of the largest health disparities on nearly every preventable disease. Dr. John Gonzalez, an associate professor of psychology at Bemidji State University, will explore how subtle forms of racial discrimination helps prevent these care gaps from improving as part of BSU’s Honors Council Lecture Series.

Gonzalez’s presentation, “Is My Healthcare Making Me Sick? Microaggressions in American Indian Healthcare,” will be held Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in Hagg-Sauer 107. Honors Council lectures are open to everyone free of charge.

American Indians experience some of the largest health disparities on nearly every preventable disease. Of course, the reasons for these disparities are multifaceted.

These subtle types of racial discrimination are termed microaggressions — everyday slights and comments that are most often unintentional and unconsciously committed. However, these microaggressions are found to have profound cumulative psychological and physiological affects.

“Preliminary results show that American Indians are experiencing significant levels of microaggressions and these experiences are having an impact on health behaviors,” Gonzalez said.

His research is one of the first studies to systematically document the types of microaggressions experienced by American Indians and the range in settings where the microaggressions occurred when accessing healthcare services.

About Dr. John Gonzalez

Dr. John Gonzalez is a member of the White Earth Anishinaabe Nation and an associate professor of psychology at Bemidji State.

Gonzalez’s professional interests are in cultural psychology, multicultural psychology and community psychology. He explores how these concepts merge to provide a holistic view of people and their environments. He has focused his professional research in the areas of mental and behavioral health for indigenous people and ethnic minorities. Recently, Gonzalez has investigated the racial experiences of American Indian students and the racial experiences of Native people when accessing healthcare.

Gonzalez received his bachelor’s degree in psychology at Bemidji State and holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of North Dakota.

About the Honors Council Lecture Series

The Honors Council Lecture Series is hosted by the Bemidji State University Honors Council. The council is the advisory group to the honors program comprised of 12 faculty members from each of the University’s colleges. Student representatives are also elected to the council by their cohorts for one-year terms.


Kari Caughey, BSU honors program; (218) 755-3984

Dr. John Gonzalez, associate professor of psychology; (218) 755-4106

Gonzalez previews his lecture for BSU News