Learn more about the Black Men’s Brain Health Conference with Tahlia Bragg

By Amanda V. Cabral, BU CTE Center

Learn more about the annual Black Men’s Brain Health Conference (held on Feb. 8-9, 2023) and the importance of representation in research with BU CTE Center postdoctoral associate Tahlia Bragg.

What is your role at the BU CTE Center?

I am a postdoctoral associate in clinical neuropsychology. My research and clinical emphases are on racial disparities negatively impacting racialized and self-identifying Black populations.

Tell me a little about the Black Men’s Brain Health Conference.

The Black Men’s Brain Health Conference is an annual meeting where professionals and community leaders who support Black men attend to learn more about the critical needs of Black men. There are a variety of seminars ranging from community engagement and support to wellness in physical and mental health. The conference occurs during the week of the Super Bowl, so former NFL players also attend and participate in the seminars and panels.

What was your role in the conference?

As a member of the Year 2 Cohort of the Emerging Scholars program attached to the conference, I was an attendee this year. There is an Emerging Scholars Day before the conference begins, where we can learn more about the history and purpose of the conference, meet our assigned mentor, and start brainstorming ideas for our required project. Next year, I will also attend the conference and present research. Each Scholar must also recruit 10 participants from our study to the Black Men’s Brain Registry.

Why is this conference, and the timing of it, important?

The Black population within the United States is more likely to develop some form of dementia than other races. Black men are at greater risk than Black women. Structural and systemic oppression have contributed to the currently known disparities, unfortunately. Given the recent Civil Rights Renaissance starting in 2020 readdressing the equality and equity for Black people, it’s time now more than ever to examine on a deeper level how structural and systemic racism have augmented the risk for Black men.

How can those in the medical field and the community ensure that Black men are fairly represented in research?

Given my gender identity, I cannot speak for what Black men need for fair representation; however, I will provide my perspective on what I believe could help based on my professional and racially congruent views. Equality has long been legally codified for Black people, yet equity is still a work in progress. Every healthcare professional must constantly remain immersed in social justice and equity-oriented diversity training emphasizing Pro-Black and anti-racist best practices. Engaging in transparent dialogues about anti-Black racism and their complicity is also imperative. Cultural sensitivity, empathy, attunement, and responsiveness do not end when Black men become professionals treating Black men. When Black men are the patients or clients, believe them the FIRST time they report a problem and exhaust every resource possible to get a thorough answer or resolution. This will continue to be a critical process for promoting and advancing the inclusivity of Black men.

What is the most important thing you want readers to know about the conference or representation in research?

Representation matters! Any opportunity to uplift, nurture, and support historically marginalized and subjugated communities, like Black communities, must be prioritized as essential as other elements within an organization or project. Furthermore, inclusivity matters. Those who believe that Afrocentric conferences and representation within the field are unnecessary underscore the perpetration of continual harm by ignoring the causes that precipitate the lack of representation.


Learn more about the Black Men’s Brain Health Conference here.

View all posts