Current Doctoral Students

Current Doctoral Students

First Year


Alexandra is a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia University.  She holds an MA in Psychology from The New School for Social Research (2022) and a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) from the University of Pennsylvania (2008).  Prior to enrolling at The New School for Social Research, Alexandra had a decade-long career working in Finance. 

In the Global Mental Health Lab, Alexandra works with colleagues to explore ways in which to disseminate and implement services that are appropriate for resource-constrained regions globally, with an emphasis on serving the Veteran community.  As an MA student, Alexandra focused on Project VITAL, a pilot study in partnership with the VA designed to provide three sessions of Interpersonal Counseling (IPC-3) for student veterans struggling with anxiety, depression, and PTSD by utilizing trained peer counselors.  Her research interests center on the intersection of trauma, PTSD, depression, and sleep.  Additionally, Alexandra is interested in exploring the long-term effects of COVID-19, specifically the relationship between food security and nutrition on global mental health.  As a doctoral student, Alexandra intends to explore interventions for active military members to mitigate PTSD.



Chelsea is a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She holds an MA in Psychology in Education with a concentration in Global Mental Health and Trauma from Columbia University (2022) and a BA in Psychology with a minor in Education & Child Study from Smith College (2017). Prior to beginning the MA program at TC, Chelsea spent two years working as a full-time research assistant at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School/The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center (WCDRC) in Providence, Rhode Island. At the WCDRC, she offered assistance on four longitudinal studies focused on lifestyle interventions. During her time in the MA program, she worked as a volunteer research assistant on various projects at the GMH Lab. Those projects centered on assessing the feasibility and effectiveness of Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) and Interpersonal Counseling (IPC-3) in under-resourced settings with refugees around the globe. As a doctoral student and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) scholarship recipient, Chelsea will receive training to offer psychological services (under the supervision of a licensed psychologist) within a clinic setting to Spanish-speaking clients living in New York City. Chelsea is interested in the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatments for depressed adolescents, the intersection of global mental-health research and policy, and improving mental health services and accessibility for those living in low-income and under-resourced communities.

Second Year


Erin is a second-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia University. In 2018 Erin graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in anthropology from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. In 2020, she received her MA in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College. During the MA program, Erin worked on treatment research at Teachers College and implementation research in the form of program evaluations at Mount Sinai. At Mount Sinai, Erin had the privilege of working on program evaluations for innovative trauma-informed programs for transgender survivors of violence and programs for men in Harlem who were the survivors of crime or trauma.

In the Global Mental Health Lab, Erin works on the evaluation and implementation of mental health services in historically underserved and marginalized populations. Specifically, she is interested in using community-based participatory action research to evaluate the effectiveness, acceptability, and feasibility of culturally informed therapeutic interventions delivered by community members in Harlem. Erin also works with transitioning service members, student Veterans, and Veterans broadly both in the lab and at the Bronx VA.

Third Year

Tarik is a third-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program and a member of the Global Mental Health Lab at Teachers College, Columbia University. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2016, where he studied International Health and Psychology. In 2017, he completed the MSc Global Mental Health program run by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and King's College London. Before enrolling at Teachers College, Tarik was the Program Manager for the Kovler Center Child Trauma Program in Chicago, a program of Heartland Alliance International that provides mental health and social services to refugee and immigrant youth who have experienced trauma. Previously, he also had the opportunity to conduct research on febrile convulsions in Tanzania and adverse life events and depression in Ethiopia, evaluate the implementation of Grand Challenges Canada funded global mental health programs with both the Mental Health Innovation Network and Results for Development Institute, and work on mental health policy, training, system strengthening, and research in Freetown with King's Sierra Leone Partnership. During his undergraduate studies, Tarik gained direct service experience providing case management and advocacy services with LIFT-DC and as part of a mobile team providing street-based outreach and harm reduction services with HIPS-DC. Tarik's research interests include the adaptation, evaluation, and implementation of mental health interventions for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers and for under-resourced settings, as well as mental health service inequities in high-income settings.



DJ is a third-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia University. He holds an MA in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College (2020) and a BS in Psychology from Grand Canyon University (2018). In the Global Mental Health Lab, he works on the implementation and dissemination of mental health services to under-served and under-resourced populations, with an emphasis on serving the Veteran community. DJ is particularly interested in system-wide interventions to reduce Veteran suicide, exploring how culturally informed community engagement can enhance the success of the military-to-civilian life transition, and how social factors influence the trajectory of treatment-seeking behavior. Before enrolling at Teachers College, DJ served as an Air Traffic Controller in the US Air Force for six years and was involved in over 200,000 flying operations. As a MA student, he was the assistant evaluator on a program evaluation of the Veterans Treatment Track in New York's 9th Judicial District. He also had a leading role in the implementation and dissemination of the ETS Sponsorship program for transitioning servicemembers, which is now a nationwide VA and DoD program.

Fifth Year


Anika F. Alix, M.A., M.S. is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Columbia University. She is currently a psychology intern at Lenox Hill Hospital where she works as an outpatient therapist at the Manhattan Eye Ear Nose and Throat Hospital (MEETH) and on the medical and psychiatric inpatient floors. Previously, Anika worked providing as a psychology extern at the Presbyterian Hospital, Westchester Behavioral Health Women's/Adolescent Inpatient Unit, the New York State Psychiatric Institute’s Depression Evaluation Service, and at the Dean Hope Center for Educational and Psychological services.

Anika’s research focuses primarily on the treatment of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADS) and childbirth experience, with a specialty in qualitative methodologies. Her dissertation research uses mixed-methods approaches to examine the phenomenon and mental health sequelae of mistreatment in maternity care in New York City hospitals. She has worked as a researcher on projects examining: IPT-G for maternal depression in Uganda, postpartum depression in Kuwait, IPT treatment for perinatal depression in primary care settings in New York City, and IPT for parental depression in rural Ethiopia. Anika’s expertise and clinical interests include: cultural-conceptualizations of PMADS; childbirth education, sexual health education, and reproductive justice across the lifespan; qualitative research approaches w/ critical feminist lens; Relational Psychodynamic therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) and CBT for Psychosis (CBTp).

Anika graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University with an MA and MS in Clinical Psychology, and a certificate in Sexuality Women and Gender. She earned her BA at University of Miami (FL) where she majored in French and Psychology.

Kati Lake

Kati N. Lake, MA, MS, is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Columbia University. Currently, she is an incoming psychology intern at the VA Hudson Valley Health Care, Montrose Campus. Previously, Lake was a psychology extern at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Westchester Behavioral Health (Women's Inpatient Unit); Weill/Cornell, the Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies; New York State Psychiatric Institute, Depression Evaluation Service; and the Dean Hope Center for Psychological Services. Lake’s research evaluates and adapts brief, evidence-based treatments for Veterans.

Prior to returning to academia, Lake served as the Vice President of Consulting Services at RAINN, where she led the organization’s consulting services and business development. Here, she partnered with public and private entities to provide sexual assault prevention and response program evaluation, training and education, as well as crisis hotline services. Before joining RAINN, Lake was a Lead Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she led teams in the design, development, execution, and evaluation of personnel policy, education and training, and data privacy projects across the Department of Defense, including the Defense Suicide Prevention Office and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. Before that time, Lake served as a Schedule C political appointee at the White House, providing support to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness/Deputy Under Secretary for Military Community and Family Policy.

Lake has a demonstrated history of providing strategic, operational, and tactical leadership for the development and management of complex, high-visibility projects. Leveraging 15 years of experience in program management, policy development and analysis, privacy and information assurance, and congressional affairs, she continues to advise organizations interested in affecting culture change surrounding trauma-informed sexual violence prevention and response.

Lake graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University with a masters of arts and a masters in science in clinical psychology with a concentration in global mental health and trauma. She also obtained a degree in political science and British literature with a focus on political communications from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio).

Sixth Year


Jillian is currently a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia University and has been working with the Global Mental Health Lab since 2014. She earned an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College in 2016 and a B.A. in Psychology, with minors in Anthropology and Religious Studies, from Kenyon College in 2011. Jillian contributes to projects assessing the implementation and dissemination of mental health services to under-served and under-resourced populations. She is particularly interested in trauma and chronic stressors, women's and maternal mental health, implementation science, mechanisms of change in therapy, and the intersection of physical health and mental health. Her clinical and research work has focused on sexual and domestic violence, LGBTQIA populations, military service members and veterans, sex workers, refugees and immigrants, perinatal women, and mental health in hospitals. During her time in the MA program, she also worked with the TC Resilience Center for Veterans and Families and the Loss, Trauma, Emotion Lab. Prior to that Jillian volunteered as a Medical Advocate with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and a sexual violence peer counselor with Kenyon College. She has also worked for Brigham and Women’s Hospital in healthcare administration.

Anne Renaud

Anne is a sixth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program. She received her B.A. in Human Development and Social Relations at Kalamazoo College and her M.A. in Psychology in Education at Teachers College. As a master's student at Teachers College, Anne began work in the Global Mental Health lab assisting with qualitative research studies assessing the mental health needs of home-based sex workers in India and of unaccompanied immigrant children in the US. Previously, she worked with adults with severe mental illnesses at a community mental health organization and volunteered in the Clinical Alternatives to Punitive Segregation unit at Rikers Island leading a weekly yoga group. Anne is interested in adapting effective mental health interventions for low-resource populations to meet their unique contextual needs. She is currently working on a project to build capacity of interpersonal psychotherapy and integrate mental health treatment into primary care settings in Lebanon and another project aimed at IPT dissemination for treatment of maternal depression in New York City.


Seventh Year

Alaa Alhomaizi

Alaa is a seventh-year doctoral student and is the principal investigator of a qualitative study investigating the adjustment and acculturation of Arab women in the U.S., and in a qualitative study investigating postpartum depression and its care pathways with women and key stakeholders in Kuwait; She has been a research assistant (TC Global Mental Health Lab) during which she assisted in various projects to obtain psychological services and health services for Syrian refugees in Jordan. Previously, at the NYU Bellevue Stress and Resiliency Study she assisted in study of factors predicting PTSD in individuals admitted to the emergency room with life threatening injuries; Massachusetts General Hospital, Division of Global Psychiatry: assessed the impact of trauma on Liberian children’s self-esteem, self-concept, and resilience. She is also the co-founder for Standing for Psychological Education and Awareness in Kuwait.

Eighth Year

Dalal Alhomaizi

Dalal Alhomaizi is an eighth-year doctoral student at the Global Mental Health Lab at Teachers College (TC), Columbia University. She completed her undergraduate education at Northeastern University in Boston, MA where she attained a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. Dalal has worked as a research assistant at the Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital where she worked on global research, policy, and development projects in low-income and resource-poor countries. She has also co-founded the first mental health anti-stigma campaign SPEAK alongside her twin sister in her home country Kuwait. Prior to starting her PhD, Dalal completed a Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology at TC. Dalal’s research interests include help-seeking behavior, program development and evaluation, psychotherapy research, and psychometric research with a specific interest in resource-poor countries. Dalal's dissertation will explore the development and validation of cross cultural psychometric measures for Kuwait.

Recent Graduates

Srishti Sardana
M.Sc., M.A.

Srishti Sardana, MSc., MA, is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology program and Lab Coordinator of the Global Mental Health Lab at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has assisted on various projects with aims to study efficacy and effectiveness of IPT and other related intervention variables in low- and middle-income countries. She assists on studies including the Grand Challenges Canada funded IPT scalability for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, UNHCR funded IPT implementation for treatment of depression among Rohingya refugees in
Cox’z Bazar, Bangladesh & Congolose and Burundian Refugees in Tanzania, another project focused on developing a practical toolkit for climate justice and mental health for community-based organizations, and has implemented a pilot study to assess the mental health needs of home-based female sex workers in rural India. Before enrolling at Teachers College, Srishti served as an officer in the juvenile offender unit at the Institute of Juvenile Justice, Delhi Police, India and initiated a narrative therapy-based intervention project in collaboration with a team of Australian psychotherapists for youth offenders committed for felonies and sex offence. Srishti is currently working on developing her research program that studies social capital and social support networks, and is adopting innovative methods of studying these constructs from a dual economic-mental health lens to examine the potential mediating role of conflict and support in recovery from depression among Stateless Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.


Cheryl Y. S. Foo, Ph.D. is currently a postdoctoral Clinical and Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School (HMS), Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Psychosocial and Systemic Research. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University, and completed her predoctoral clinical fellowship at the HMS-affiliated Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Early Psychosis Track. She was a Research Assistant and Grant Coordinator at the Global Mental Health Lab from 2015 to 2022. 

Cheryl is a clinician-scientist committed to advancing dissemination, implementation, and capacity-building of culturally and contextually appropriate, evidenced-based mental health and psychosocial interventions in under-resourced settings. At the GMHLab, she managed the Global Challenges Research Fund, Research for Health in Conflict (R4HC-MENA, United Kingdom) grant to adopt and scale-up Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) in Lebanon, in partnership with Lebanon’s Ministry of Public Health, National Mental Health program. She also assisted on the UNHCR-funded adoption study to build capacity and deliver IPT for Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. To inform sustainable implementation efforts by addressing provider-level psychosocial wellbeing, her dissertation was a mixed-methods study building a psychosocial model for burnout and resilience among humanitarian aid workers, to inform sustainable global mental health implementation. Complementing her skills in global mental health and implementation science research with her clinical expertise in treating chronic and serious mental illness, her current research program focuses on articulating and implementing systemic approaches for early risk identification and intervention of mental illnesses for clinical high-risk youth in community-based and integrated care settings. 

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