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Global Mental Health Lab
Current Doctoral Students
Bryan Cheng is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. He received his B.S. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, and an M.A. in Psychology in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. His research interests include the role of rumination in maternal depression, the economics of mental health interventions in health systems, and the development and cultural validation of mental health measures. He is currently working on a project investigating the cost-effectiveness of case management systems in mental healthcare for Syrian refugees in Jordan and is also the primary data manager for the MVP mental health data.
Marina Marcus is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.P.H. with an emphasis on Global Public Health from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. She has previously served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Ethiopia, and recently worked with the World Health Organization on the programmatic development and implementation of the Mental Health Gap Action Programme. Her research interests include the role of family members in the well-being of people with severe mental illness, the effects of empowerment in high stigma environments, and the mental health of marginalized populations.
Arielle Jean-Pierre is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at Teachers College. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Duke University. She has worked as a NSF researcher on differences in symptom manifestation of PTSD in Haiti 2010 Earthquake survivors. She maintains research interest in this area but has broadened her focus to other populations and mental disorders, as well as to the psychological adjustment and risk/protective factors in the mental health of immigrant populations new to the U.S. and evaluating resilience among survivors of conflict and natural disaster.
Jennifer ChienWen Kao is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program. She received her B.S. in Neuroscience from Brown University. Her research interests include: 1. maternal mental health and child outcomes in low- and middle- income countries (LMIC) and 2. psychosocial interventions for trauma-exposed populations.
Larissa is a 4th year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her present research with Dr. Lena Verdeli focuses on implementation and dissemination of evidence-based treatments for global mental health populations. Her undergraduate research at the University of Denver looked at the MAOA gene in female juvenile offenders within a sociocultural context. While at UCLA under the direction of Dr. David Miklowitz she examined how psychoneuroimmunology and neural correlates are related to psychosocial treatments in pediatric bipolar disorder. A recent publication was included in Psychiatry Research titled Inflammatory Cytokines and Nuclear Factor-Kappa B Activation in Adolescents with Bipolar and Major Depressive Disorders (Miklowitz, et al., 2016). Alongside Dr. Jamie Feusner her research centered on risk/reward systems and relapse in eating disorders. Another recent publication was included in Journal of Eating Disorders titled What Happens After Treatment? A Systematic Review of Relapse, Remission, and Recovery in Anorexia Nervosa(Khalsa, et al., 2017). Her future research aims to include using novel research techniques to identify risk and resilience factors while acknowledging gaps in available treatment options. The human experience necessitates encounters with suffering, how can we build spaces and communities that support authentic connections?
Dalal Alhomaizi is a third-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 program development and evaluation, psychotherapy research, the development and validation of cross cultural psychometric measures, and help-seeking behavior.
Ceren is a third-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. She received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Galatasaray University and M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Koç University, both in Turkey. She received her second M.A. degree in Psychology in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Ceren worked at the New York State Psychiatric Institute assisting with research on the correlates of suicidal behavior among patients with depression and borderline personality disorder. Ceren is currently working on a project aiming to build capacity in Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and a data-analysis project investigating suicidal behavior among depressed adults in India.
Alaa is a second-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.
Srishti is a second-year doctoral student and has assisted on various projects with the aim to build skills needed to conduct high-impact mental health research in low-resource settings. She has worked with faculty and advanced graduate students on several studies including Grand Challenges Canada funded IPT scalability for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, developing social-emotional learning packages for incoming Chinese youth enrolling in U.S. undergraduate programs, and implemented a pilot study to assess the mental health needs of home-based female sex workers in rural India at the Global Mental Health Lab, Teachers College. Before enrolling at Teachers College, Srishti was employed in the juvenile offender unit at the Institute of Juvenile Justice, Delhi Police and initiated a narrative therapy-based intervention project in collaboration with a team of Australian psychotherapists for youth offenders committed for violent and non-violent crimes. Additionally, she helped a local mental health NGO to build the monitoring and evaluation platform of the Building Bonds project, which trained 100,000 men and boys to become active stakeholders in prevention of violence against women and girls in Delhi, India. Srishti is the co-founder of Sishu Vikas, an NGO, where she assisted in clinical work focused on providing therapeutic support for child and adult clients in need for crisis and suicide assessment and intervention for individuals exposed to violence, neglect, and sexual abuse.
Cheryl is a second-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Teachers College. She first started working with Dr. Verdeli as a research assistant at the Global Mental Health Lab in 2015, specialising in qualitative analysis. She recently graduated from University of Cambridge (UK) with a double first class degree in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (B.A. Hons.). She has previously interned at the Department of Psychological Medicine in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in her home country Singapore, helping with the development of a staff resilience program. She also has experience working closely with dementia patients and children with autism. She is interested in the processes of intergenerational trauma, interpersonal and relational play therapy, community/school-based psychosocial interventions and the development of ‘empathy’ in different therapeutic relationships and contexts.
Jillian M Arenz
Jillian is a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2011 with a B.A. in Psychology where she studied issues relating to gender and sexuality among college women and classroom satisfaction among teachers and students. In 2016, Jillian completed the M.A. program in Clinical Psychology at TC. She has worked with the Global Mental Health lab since 2014 on a variety of projects including understanding the mental health of adolescents immigrating illegally to the U.S. and mental health and access to care among home based sex workers in India. Jillian also worked with the TC Resilience Center for Veterans and Families and assisted with establishing a clinical program at the Dean Hope Center, creating a manualized peer intervention for veterans, and developing multicultural competency trainings for Counseling and Clinical Psychology students at TC and for a certificate program for health care providers. Her research interests include the development and provision of culturally relevant mental health care for underserved and under-resourced populations who have experienced trauma and chronic stress, responses to trauma, violence against women, women’s mental health, resilience, and coping.
Jackie is a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis where she led a peer counseling service for students and assisted in developing public health interventions abroad. Jackie worked as a Program Manager at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine where she was involved with studies that disseminated and implemented evidence-based practices in community settings. One such project involved establishing Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) as a primary treatment modality in universities nationwide. Jackie moved to Austin, TX to assist in opening a mental health treatment center for young adults, acting as an expert consultant in the formation of a research-informed practice model, as well as an IPT-G and Utilization Review Clinician. Prior to enrollment in Teachers College, Jackie was a Research Implementation Specialist at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to her work on veteran-centered initiatives, Jackie coordinated statewide efforts to disseminate government-funded mental health care interventions, creating models to assess care adoption and delivery success. Jackie is currently involved in work focusing on maternal depression in Ugandan mothers, and is also focusing on developing implementation frameworks and measures across several initiatives in the Global Mental Health Lab.
Anne is a first-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.