Jeanne M. Spurlock, 78, a retired official of the American Psychiatric Association and an advocate for children and minorities in the area of mental health, died Nov. 25 at Washington Hospital Center of surgical complications. She had a bowel obstruction.

Dr. Spurlock, a specialist in the area of child psychiatry, was deputy medical director and director of the office of minority/national affairs for the American Psychiatric Association in Washington from 1974 until her retirement in 1991.

In that capacity, she was involved in efforts to educate mental health professionals about the effects of racism and poverty on children and minorities. She frequently lectured about the lack of access to adequate mental health care for the poor and urged therapists to gain a better understanding of minority cultures before addressing their mental health problems.

She authored, co-authored and edited more than 30 books.

Most recently, Dr. Spurlock edited "Black Psychiatrists and American Psychiatry," a book covering the experiences of African American physicians practicing in the areas of community psychiatry, academia, research and psychoanalysis.

During her years at the association, she was a part-time clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University and Howard University and a volunteer at Children's Hospital.

She served on the board of directors of the Physicians for Human Rights and the National Urban League.

A Washington resident, she was born in Sandusky, Ohio. She graduated from Roosevelt University in Chicago and received a medical degree from Howard University in 1947. She served a residency at Cook County Psychopathic Hospital in 1950 and headed the department of psychiatry at Meharry Medical College in Nashville before returning to Washington in 1974.

Survivors include three sisters.