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Director’s Innovation Speaker Series: Lessons from My Journey as a Black Scientist, NIH-funded Investigator, DEI Leader, and Mental Health Advocate


December 9, 2021




Nii Addy, Ph.D.  shared his experiences and journey as a Black scientist, mentor, mentee, sponsor, diversity, equity, inclusion leader, and mental health advocate.

Dr. Addy directs an NIH-funded research program investigating cholinergic, dopaminergic, and L-type calcium channel mechanisms mediating substance use and mood disorders. His team uses multiple methodologies, including rodent behavioral paradigms such as intravenous drug self-administration, acute and chronic stress paradigms, and anxiety and amotivation paradigms, along with integrated pharmacological, in vivo electrochemical, and in vivo optogenetic methods to investigate these mechanisms.


Read the transcript.

About Dr. Nii Addy

Dr. Addy is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Cellular and Molecular Physiology at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Addy also currently serves as the inaugural Director of Scientist Diversity and Inclusion at the Yale School of Medicine, as the Director of the faculty mentoring program for the Yale Minority Organization for Retention and Expansion (MORE), as Co-chair of the Career Development Subcommittee of the Anti-Racism Task Force in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, and as the Associate Director of Diversity in the NIMH-funded Biological Sciences Training Program (BSTP) in Psychiatry at Yale.

Dr. Addy also contributes to graduate student and postdoctoral training and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives through his formal and informal roles on Yale’s campus and in various scientific societies. As the creator and host of town hall community events, Dr. Addy has also built unique partnerships to encourage and equip audiences to embrace the use of holistic, integrated tools to address mental health challenges.

In addition, Dr. Addy hosts the Addy Hour podcast, discussing topics at the intersection of neuroscience, mental health, faith, culture, and social justice.  

About the Director’s Innovation Speaker Series

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) established the Director’s Innovation Speaker Series to encourage broad, interdisciplinary thinking in the development of scientific initiatives and programs, and to press for theoretical leaps in science over the continuation of incremental thought. Innovation speakers are encouraged to describe their work from the perspective of breaking through existing boundaries and developing successful new ideas, as well as working outside their primary area of expertise in ways that have pushed their fields forward. We encourage discussions of the meaning of innovation, creativity, breakthroughs, and paradigm-shifting.

Sponsored by

Division of Extramural Activities