Professor Hector Myers

In 1969, when Hector F. Myers entered UCLA’s Department of Psychology, he was one of its four Black graduate students. After receiving his Ph.D. from the department in 1974, he accepted their offer of a half-time position as an assistant professor of psychology. In 1978, he made the shift to full-time professor. And by 1981, he became the first Black professor in the Department of Psychology (and in Life Sciences) to achieve tenure.

As a UCLA professor of clinical psychology for over 39 years, Myers’ research examined a range of health issues linked to stress. One issue, hypertension, was a condition he saw in his own family. Some of the other issues he studied, stemmed from observations he made during his clinical practice in South Central Los Angeles. Much of his research focused on health issues that disproportionately affect Black populations.

What was it like for Myers, coming into UCLA’s psychology department as a Black graduate student in 1969? How did he and fellow graduate student, Lewis King, help to launch the first course in the department to consider race?  As a graduate student and young professor, what lessons did he learn, especially when it came to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in academia?

Here, in his own words, Dr. Myers shares the story of his early academic journey. (~12-minutes)