About the Book

Stand Up to Stigma

How We Reject Fear and Shame

“Stigma” is a simple two-syllable word, yet carries the weight of negative and often unfair beliefs that we hold about each other. Perhaps most tragically, stigmas lock people into stereotyped boxes and deny us all the right to be our authentic and whole selves. We all have the tendency to sit high and look low while proclaiming how progressive we’ve become. However, the reality is that we both perpetuate and experience the burden of stigma in our public and private lives every day.

Informed by decades of in-the-trenches experience, Dr. Pernessa Seele, a longtime public health activist who started one of the first AIDS education programs in the 1980s, has crafted a proven method to address stigma. Stand Up to Stigma looks at the impact of stigma on learning, job performance, economic growth, and healthcare with a major focus on its impact on our everyday, personal lives and well-being.

This powerful book confronts stereotype development, shows how to undo the processes and effects of stigma, and explains how we can radically change cultural thinking on the individual, interpersonal, and societal levels to put an end to stigmatization once and for all. If we are honest and committed to exposing the problems, Dr. Seele helps each of us vividly see how we privately stigmatize people whom we see as different from ourselves, particularly when they come from other backgrounds and cultures than our very own.

Dr. Seele imagines a world that few people can. She envisions that by eliminating stigmas about people different from us, we can change representations in the media, get rid of laws and policies targeting stigmatized groups, and overcome inherited biases within public health, religious, education, and other institutions. Dr. Seele believes we must begin to stand up to stigma and set an example for future generations.

Where to Buy

About Our Founder

Pernessa C. Seele

Pernessa C. Seele is the founder and CEO of the Balm in Gilead, Inc., a not-for-profit organization celebrating three decades of providing technical training and services that strengthen the capacity of faith institutions in the United States and Africa to promote health education, disease management, and services that contribute to the elimination of human suffering. Time magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People. Essence magazine, in its 35th-anniversary edition, selected her as one of the 35 Most Beautiful and Remarkable Women in the World. Ebony magazine named her one of its Power 150. And she was selected by Women’s eNews as one of its 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. She believes loving your neighbors as you love yourself is key to healing our world of stigma, hate, fear and shame.

Dr. P. on the Pod

The Podcast

Dr. P. on the Pod is yet another powerful way Pernessa C. Seele extends the global reach of The Balm In Gilead – “Where Faith and Public Health Connect.”  As Founder & CEO of The Balm In Gilead, “Dr. P” has worked as an international force for more than 30 years establishing programs that strengthen the capacity of faith institutions throughout the United States and Africa. These faith-based programs promote health education, disease management and services that contribute to the elimination of human suffering.

Every Thursday, Dr. P on the Pod brings us engaging and impactful discussions on various topics about health, culture, religion and the arts.  Tune-in weekly to hear some of the nation’s leading experts and influencers on Dr. P on the Pod.


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Contact Us

Pernessa C. Seele

620 Moorefield Park Drive, Suite 150
Richmond, VA 23236
Phone:  804-644-2256
Email: Info@pernessaseele.com

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