Ronald Barrett, Ph.D.






& Chair of the Psychology Department

Office: University Hall 4743
Telephone: (310) 338-2995


B.S.Morgan State University, 1970
M.S.University of Pittsburgh, 1974
Ph.D.University of Pittsburgh , 1977

Specialty/Areas of Interest:

Death, Dying, bereavement and Black funeral rites, bereavement burnout, stress management, and urban youth homicidal violence.

Courses Taught:

General Psychology, Psychology of Marriage, Death & Dying, Global Health Disparities, Social Psychology and Psychology of Black Males

Brief Bio:

Dr. Ronald K. Barrett, professor of psychology and chair of the Psychology Department at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where he created and teaches a course (with an accompanying lab) on the Psychology of Death & Dying among other topics. From 2004 - 2008 he served as Acting Chair of the African American Studies Department at LMU.  He is an internationally recognized specialist on the study of cross-cultural differences in death, dying and funeral rites and has published widely on African American funeral practices and multicultural perspectives.  He has served as a consultant to groups locally and nationally including the Open Society Institute, Los Angeles and Philadelphia County coroner’s offices, etc. . He is widely known for his expertise on urban youth homicidal violence.  He has been a featured national teleconference speaker on the Hospice Foundation of America’s 1995 (“Children Mourning, Mourning Children”), the Service Corporation International 1997 (“Communities in Crisis: Safeguarding our Kids at School and on the Streets”), and the Hospice Foundation of America’s 1998 (“Living with Grief: Who We Are - How We Grieve”).  He is a speaker, social advocate, researcher, and author of numerous scholarly projects on children, youth and death & dying.  He has ten years of “hands on” experience as the founder & project director of a grass-roots urban anti-gang, drug & violence prevention program in South Central Los Angeles (The United Methodist Junior Basketball League & Youth Employment & Development Project).  The project received numerous citations and awards.  In 1998 he was recognized and honored for this work as an Expert in Residence via a grant from the Kellogg Foundation.  He has worked on the treatment end as well working in research and design of grief support groups and methodologies in the treatment of traumatic loss in young inner city children.  He is also actively involved in the HIV/AIDS community as well and is widely known nationally for his work and consultations on “Bereavement Burnout Prevention.”  His international involvements include consultations, research, and teaching in London (2012), Uruguay (2012), Germany (2008 & 1995), seminars in Australia (1998), and Ghana (2001).  During his sabbatical in 2001 Dr. Barrett studied funeralization & aftercare practices among West African Akan in Ghana & Blacks and in the Caribbean.  He created and teaches a seminar on the “Psychology of Men” and regularly conducts workshops on “Men and Grief” and “Epidemic of Depression in Black Males.”  Dr. Barrett is a member of the Association of Death Education & Counseling (ADEC) and is the founder & past chair of the ADEC People of Color Forum and the ADEC Multiculturalism Committee.  In 2003 Dr. Barrett received the ADEC Certification in Thanatology and in 2007 received the highest ADEC certification - Fellow in Thanatology.  He is also a member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying & Bereavement.


Barrett, R. K. (2012) “The African American Call to Gather: An Enduring Cultural Tradition”  The FORUM: Association for Death Education and Counseling, Inc.,  38 (1), 11

Barrett, R. K. (2009) “Sociocultural Considerations: African Americans, Grief, and Loss”  In Johnson, K. & Doka, K. (Eds.) Living with Grief: Diversity and End-of-Life Care.  Washington, D. C.. Taylor & Francis Publishers, Inc., 83 - 96.

Barrett, R. K. (2009) “Emerging and Universal Trends in Urban Memorials”  ADEC Forum Newsletter. 35(4) (October 2009), 17-18.

Barrett, R. K. (2009) “African Beliefs and Traditions”   In Bryant & Peck (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Death and Human Experience.  Thousand Oaks, CA.; Sage Publications, Inc., Vol. I, 19-22.

Terrell, F., Taylor, J., Menzie, J., & Barrett, R. (2009) “Cultural Mistrust: A Core Component of African American Consciousness” In  Neville, Tynes & Utsey (Eds.) Handbook of African American Psychology.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications, Inc., 299-309.

Barrett, R. K. (2008) “Cooper-Lewter N. (1999) Black Grief and Soul Therapy” Book Review In Cox, Gongaware, & Gilbert (Eds.) Illness, Crisis & Loss. Amityville, NY:  Baywood Publishers, Inc., 259-261.

Barrett, R. K. (2006) “Dialogues in Diversity: An Invited Series of Papers, Advance Directives, DNRs, and End-of-Life Care for African Americans”   In K. Doka’s (Ed.) OMEGA.  Vol. 52(3), 2005-2006,  Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing Company, Inc., 249 - 261. 

Barrett, R. K. (2005) “Cross-Cultural Mentoring for Faculty of Color” ACE Department Chair Online Resource Center. (

Barrett, R. K. (2005) “The Physician’s Pivotal Role with Advance Directive and Blacks.” Horizon Hospice Journal. Chicago: Horizon Hospice, Inc.   .

Lucke, G., Gilbert, R. with Barrett, R. (2005) “Overcoming Death’s Sting: Protestant Beliefs and Rituals: The Last Mile of the Way for African Americans.”  In K. Garces-Foley’s (Ed.) Death and Religion in a Changing World.  Armonk, NY. M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 122-146. 

Barrett, R. K. (2003) “Can We Provide Better Aftercare to Blacks? (Questioning the Efficacy and Cultural Relevance of Prevailing Models and Approaches of Aftercare”  In Morgan ‘s (Ed.) Death and Bereavement Around the World: Volume II, Death and Bereavement in the AmericasAmityville, NY: Baywood Publishers, Inc., 57 - 73.

Barrett, R. K. (2003) “Developing Culturally Competent End-of-Life Care Giving: Lessons from Black & African American Families” The Thanatology Newsletter, 8(4), 12 - 13.

Barrett, R. K. & Heller, K (2002) “Death and Dying in the Black Experience” Journal of Palliative Medicine. Vol. 5 (5), 793 - 799.

Barrett, RK (2002) “Book Review of Men Don’t Cry...Women Do: Transcending Gender StereotypesOMEGA, Journal of Death and Dying. Amityville, NY:  Baywood Publishing Company, Inc., 46(2), p. 174 - 179.

Barrett, R. K. (2001) “Recommendations for Culturally Competent End-of-life Care Giving” Virtual Mentor  American Medical Association, Chicago, IL:(December 2001) Vol. 3,(12),

Barrett, R. K. & Heller, K. (2001) “Death and Dying in the Black Experience: An Interview with Ronald K. Barrett, Ph. D.”  Innovations in End-of-Life Care: An International Journal and Online Forum of Leaders in End-of-life Care. Newton, MA:  Center for Applied Ethics & Professional Practice. (September - October 2001) Vol. 3(5),

Barrett, R. K. (2001) “Visions of Aftercare in the New Millennium: Who Needs It?”   In Weeks & Johnson’s (Eds.) When All the Friends Have Gone: Exploring Aftercare Issues for Professionals. Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing Co., 215-228.

Barrett, R. K. (2000) “Unresolved Grief and Urban Youth Violence” The Forum. (Jan/Feb 2000) Official Journal/Newsletter of the Association of Death Education and Counseling, Hartford, CT., 1 - 3.

Barrett, R. K.  (1998) “Sociocultural Considerations for working with Blacks Experiencing Loss and Grief"  In K.  Doka's (Ed.) Living With Grief: How We Are - How We Grieve. Washington, D. C.. Taylor & Francis Publishers, Inc., 83 - 96.

Barrett, R. K. & L. DeSpelder (1997) “A Cross National Study of Children’s Perceptions of Death and Dying” (Presentation at the Association for Death Education and Counseling National Conference - April 1997).

DeSpelder, L. & R. Barrett (1997)  "Developing Multicultural Competency" The Director, Trade Journal of the National Funeral Directors Association. December 1977, Vol. LXIX, 12, 66-68.

Barrett, R. K. (1997) "Bereaved Black Children"  In J. Morgan's (Ed) Readings in Thanatology.Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing Co.; 403 - 419.

Barrett, R. K. (1996) "It's How You Play the Game: Amazing things happen when a community reaches out to youth who are at risk" Devo'Zine (July/August '96) Nashville: The Upper Room, 56 - 57.

Barrett, R. K. (1996) "Adolescents, Homicidal Violence & Death"  In C. Corr & E. Balk (Eds.) Handbook of Adolescent Death and Bereavement. New York: Springer Publishing Co., 42 - 84.

Barrett, R. K. (1995) "The Elephant People: The Phenomena of Social Withdrawal and Self-Imposed Isolation of People dying with AIDS." AIDS Patient Care. (October 1995), 240 - 244.

Barrett, R. K. (1995) "Psychocultural Influences on African American Attitudes Towards Death, Dying, and Funeral Rites" in Dickinson, Lemming, & Mermann's (Eds.) Dying, Death and Bereavement 3rd Edition of the Annual Editions series of Dushkin Publishing Group, 173 - 178.

Barrett, R. K.  (1995) "Contemporary African-American Funeral Rites and Traditions" In DeSpelder & Strickland's (Eds.) The Path Ahead: Readings in Death and Dying. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Publishing Company, 80 - 92.

Barrett, R. K. (1995) "Children and Traumatic Loss"  In K. Doka's (Ed.) Children Mourning, Mourning Children. Washington, D. C.: Taylor & Francis Publishing Company, 85 - 88.

Barrett, R. K. (1995) "Mourning Lessons: Learning to Cope with Loss can Start at an Early Age" The Director, April 1995 (Volume LXVII, Number 4) Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The National Funeral Directors Association Publications, Inc., 24 - 63.

Barrett, R. K. (1994) "The Legacy of Traditional African-American Funeral Rites" Thanos: The Journal of the International Federation of Thantologists Associations -Federation Internationale des Associations de Thanatologues.Milwaukee, Wi.:International Federation of Thanatologists Associations – Federation Internationale des Associations de Thanatologues; 18 - 20.

Barrett, R. K. (1994) "Reclaiming and Reaffirming the Value ofContemporary African American Funeral Rites" The Director: Trade Journalof the National Funeral Directors Association 36 - 40.

Barrett, R. K. (1993) "Urban Adolescent Homicidal Violence: An emerging public health concern" The Urban  League Review. Carfax Publishing Co., 67 - 75.

Barrett, R. K." (1993)  Psychocultural Influences on African AmericanAttitudes Towards Death, Dying, and Funeral Rites" in John Morgan's(Ed.)Personal Care in an Impersonal World. Amityville, New York: BaywoodPress, Inc., 213 - 230.

Barrett, R. K. "Urban Adolescent Homicidal Violence: Who is At-risk?" (1992) In The Proceedings of the 1992 National Conference on Troubled Adolescents - San Antonio, Texas - March 18, 1992.)

Barrett, R. K. "African-American Homicide and Suicide: A Closer Look At Who is At Risk" The American Black Male., April/May 1991 3(2), 4-8; June/July 1991, 3(3), 4-6.

Barrett, R.K.  (1986)  "Cultural Mistrust as a Contributor to Mental Healthand Psychopathology."  (Published in ERIC/CADS  Resources in Education,February 1986 ED 261296).

Director & Founder of:

The First Year Institute (1999-2000)