Where was Dr. King’s statistician?

The author attended a conference whose goal was to understand how stigma harms people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and their families. However, presentations were largely distant from the literature, seemingly unaware of the growing body of empirical research on stigma and stigma change related to health conditions in general. Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. led historic change in social justice for African Americans without social science outcome research. Before him, Mahatma Gandhi taught peaceful civil disobedience as a cure to imperialism without population researchers. Their dedication and impact inspire progressively minded people who charge into the social injustice of health stigma. Resolving a social wrong seems more a matter of righteous morality than object of empirical study. I justify the value of work in Stigma and Health when it addresses the advocates’ imperative. Namely, the worth of our research lies with its ability to inform and arm advocates in their efforts to replace stigma with affirming attitudes and actions. This does not mean all research needs to test the effects of antistigma programs; basic investigations have their value. But it does mean research needs to have some manifest relevance to changing the public discussion leading to less stigma. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)