Dr. Arora is an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Health and Behavioral Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas Austin, completed her predoctoral clinical internship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, with a specialization in Clinical, Community and School Psychology, and served as a postdoctoral research and policy fellow at the Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. Dr. Arora’s research focuses on issues of access and quality of care for historically marginalized youth and adolescents. In particular, Dr. Arora’s research focuses on identifying risk and protective factors in the development of depressive disorders among ethnic minoritized and immigrant-origin youth; barriers to help-seeking among ethnic minoritized and immigrant-origin youth and families; and developing and implementing culturally-informed school and community-based prevention and intervention programming for youth internalizing disorders. Dr. Arora’s work is grounded in a participatory action research approach and incorporates the use of mixed methodology. She also has additional lines of research in international school-based research efforts and behavioral health integration in pediatric primary care.
Karissa is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the School Psychology program at Teachers College. She is originally from Franklinville, NJ, and completed her B.A. in Psychology and Rhetoric & Communication Studies at the University of Richmond. She is a first generation Filipino American and brings her experiences of growing up in an Asian immigrant family to her work. Her research interests include representation of newcomer immigrant adolescents (NIA) in research, NIA perceptions of school climate, anti-racism advocacy in school psychology, and BIPOC youth mental health.
Kayla is a fifth year Ph.D. student in the School Psychology program at Teachers College. She is originally from Rye, NY, and completed her B.A. in Human & Organizational Development, and Medicine Health & Society at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include understanding both the resilience and the internalizing mental health effects and anxiety/mood disorders resulting from traumatic experiences, as well as studying culturally-informed and trauma-informed prevention and intervention practices. She is committed to supporting typically underserved communities that often experience chronic stressors, specifically culturally and linguistically diverse and immigrant youth and families, as well as those who have experienced trauma.
Ana is a third year Ph.D. student in the School Psychology program at Teachers College. She is originally from Los Angeles, CA and completed her B.A. in Psychology with minors in Sociology and Child & Family Studies at Syracuse University. Her research interests include Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and immigrant-origin youth mental health; cultural adaptation of treatments for youth internalizing disorders; and studying preventative and intervention practices to improve school based mental health systems and school climate for BIPOC youth.
Michelle is a third year Ed.M./Ph.D. student in the School Psychology program at Teachers College. She is an international student from Hong Kong and completed her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Child Development at Tufts University. Her research interests include mental health care and access for minority youth, and how acculturation and different cultural values affect expectations of mental health treatment. Born in Hong Kong and raised in China and South Korea, collectivist culture is embedded into the way she approaches her work. Thus, the role of family in the mental health of marginalized youth is another interest of hers.
Radhika is a third year Ed.M./Ph.D. student in the School Psychology program at Teachers College. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Global Health from Duke University. Through her joint research in the SMILE and PRIME-2 labs, she is keen to explore therapeutic healing for children after loss of a loved one, multicultural group therapy to mitigate the trauma symptoms of youth, cross-cultural comparisons of school-based mental health initiatives in local and international communities, and consultation with educators and families to support students who live in chronic stress situations. A lifelong dream of hers has been to one day partner with local professionals in communities in India to contribute meaningfully to the expansion of pediatric mental health care.
Julie is a second year Ph.D. student in the School Psychology program at Teachers College. She is originally from Long Island, NY and completed her B.A. in Psychological & Brain Sciences with minors in Children’s Studies and Spanish at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests include improving the mental health of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and immigrant-origin youth. Specifically, she is interested in conducting research with historically marginalized youth and adolescents about the barriers that prevent them from receiving mental health services in order to begin breaking down these barriers. She is also interested in developing and implementing culturally informed prevention and intervention programming at multiple levels (e.g., individual, family, school).
Juandiego is a second year Ph.D. student in School Psychology program at Teachers College. He is originally from Guilford, Connecticut, and graduated with a bachelors in Psychology and a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of New Hampshire. His research interests include culturally responsive interventions, social-emotional learning, and mental health impacting culturally and linguistically diverse students. He is particularly interested in how interventions and mental health interact in children and families with complex support needs. Juandiego plans to pursue the New York State Bilingual Extension Certificate in Spanish.
Dr. Olivia Khoo earned her Ph.D. from the School Psychology program at Teachers College. She completed her predoctoral psychology internship at Pleasantville Union Free School District and currently serves as a postdoctoral psychology fellow in Integrated Primary Care at Montefiore Medical Center’s Pediatric Behavioral Health Integration Program (BHIP). Dr. Khoo's research focuses on access to mental health services among racial and ethnic minoritized and immigrant-origin youth; culturally sensitive prevention and intervention programming in school and clinical settings; and the use of mixed methodology to assess these areas. She is also a certified instructor in the Youth Module of the Mental Health First Aid training curriculum and has had various professional experiences working with children with developmental, emotional, and behavioral difficulties within school, residential, and clinical settings.
My research agenda focuses on understanding and facilitating the translation of evidence-based practices into school and community settings that serve children, youth, and families at risk for poor outcomes. This includes children who live in poverty, racial and ethnic minority children, and children who have experienced trauma. The goal of my research program is to eliminate disparities in mental health and academic achievement by improving the dissemination and implementation of high-quality prevention and intervention programs. In order to achieve this goal, my research program focuses on three interrelated objectives: 1) understanding developmental contexts that are central to disparities in the health and academic outcomes of vulnerable populations; 2) understanding antecedents and consequences of high fidelity implementation; and 3) addressing barriers to the high-quality implementation of prevention/intervention programs. I use a community-engaged approach in my research as a best practice when working with marginalized communities.
Dr. Connors’ work focuses on improving the quality of mental health promotion, prevention and intervention services in critical access points for children, adolescents and their families such as schools and primary care settings. Dr. Connors conducts training, consultation and research in partnership with district and state teams to select and implement low burden, evidence-based practices to promote student mental health and wellbeing. Dr. Connors is currently conducting research to select and test implementation strategies to increase the use of measurement-based care among school mental health clinicians based on participatory research methods and principles of implementation science.
Taking a strengths-based approach, Dr. Wheeler’s collaborative program of research focuses on the role of family in normative youth development, including outcomes related to interpersonal relationships, psychosocial and educational adjustment, and health, among ethnic minority and understudied families, particularly those of Mexican origin. Grounded in cultural-ecological and developmental perspectives, her work highlights macro forces (e.g., gender, culture) and proximal and distal contexts (e.g., families, workplaces, schools), and the mechanisms by which these systems link to youth development and family dynamics. A second focus of her research pertains to complex research designs and statistical models used to answer questions about ecological, developmental, and relational phenomena, and the translation of these methods into useful tools for researchers.