The FPR-UCLA CBDMH Program supports graduate and postdoctoral training in the integration of the neuro- and social sciences related to mental health issues. Currently, travel and research grants are available to UCLA graduate students interested in research and research training opportunities at any of our three research sites.
2 0 1 3 – P u e b l a , M e x i c o
PI: Steven López
As a doctoral student in the Applied Linguistics program at UCLA, my training has been in anthropological approaches to various language practices, including language acquisition, media and political discourses, literacy learning, and therapeutic interactions. In particular, I am interested in how interaction and social cognition shapes an individual’s socialization into a community — whether a language community, workplace, classroom, or other social group. With regard to mental health, I am interested in exploring the interactions between mental conditions (such as stress or anxiety) and this kind of socialization. To this end, I have been working with a group of Spanish-speaking adult literacy students in Los Angeles, paying special attention to the role of acculturative stress and other challenges in their acquisition of literacy skills. In Puebla, I hope to have the opportunity to add a cross-cultural component to my investigation into literacy acquisition. Apart from my own project, in Puebla I will also be contributing to Dr. López’s family socialization project — an unparalleled opportunity for me to learn more about the field of mental health, and more generally about the reciprocal interactions between the individual and his/her social world.
I am currently a third-year doctoral student in the department of Anthropology under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Weisner at UCLA. I received my B.A. in Ethnic Studies and Spanish Language & Literature from UC Berkeley in 2006, and my M.A. in Latin American Studies from UCLA in 2009. For the past four years I have been part of a mixed methods and longitudinal study that examines the everyday lives of Mexican-origin families and how family experiences impact youths’ emotional, behavioral, and academic adjustment. For my dissertation research, I am looking at connections between feelings of gratitude and familism (values that emphasize family assistance, obligation, cohesion, respect, and extended networks of family support) and the implications of contextual factors, such as documentation status, for youth’s long-term outcomes. I am very grateful and excited for the opportunity to work with and learn from Dr. Steven López and other trainees this summer in Puebla, Mexico.
N e w D e h l i , I n d i a
PI: Thomas Weisner
Gail Fox Adams
I am a doctoral student of applied linguistics at UCLA, a research assistant at the UCLA Center for Culture and Health, and a trainee of the FPR-UCLA Center for Culture, Brain and Development-Mental Health. I have a master’s degree in linguistics, bachelors’ degrees in English literature and Spanish, and experience managing and teaching in community-based literacy programs. I use sociocultural approaches to study pedagogical and therapeutic interactions, especially in terms of language acquisition, language socialization and wellness. The focus of my dissertation is how therapists teach social interaction as a pathway to language use for minimally-verbal boys with autism.
I am a third-year graduate student in the Human Development and Psychology PhD program in the Department of Education at UCLA. Under the mentorship of Dr. Connie Kasari, I spent my first two years at UCLA studying school-based interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders. Overall, my primary research interests lie in current practices associated with the inclusion of students with autism in general education settings. Additionally, I am interested in the social outcomes of these students, as well as cross-cultural differences in how this population is educated and socially accepted by peers and adults. Currently, under the advisement of Dr. Thomas Weisner, I am preparing to conduct research in urban India where I will explore the country’s current educational practices for students on the autism spectrum. Through research abroad of this kind, as well as other projects I have ongoing in Los Angeles Unified School District, my dissertation plans to address similarities and differences between how the United States and other countries educate children on the autism spectrum.
K a t h m a n d u , N e p a l
PI: Laurence Kirmaye
I am a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology at UCLA, concentrating in psychological and medical anthropology. I am interested in the anthropology of the imagination, as well as phenomenological and psychoanalytic approaches to ethnographic research and writing. My dissertation work explores the relationship between subjectivity, experience, and mental health among young women and teenage girls in rural Nepal in the aftermath of the decade long People’s War. I received my B.A. at Sarah Lawrence College and my M.A. in Anthropology at UCLA.
Accepted students would be required to participate in all other aspects of the CBDMH training program, including the monthly research seminars, the MMAC meetings devoted to CBDMH issues, and special CBDMH events, such as public lectures and talks.